History of New Zealand
Chapter viii. The War of 1846
Chapter viii. The War of 1846.
There could be but one end of such strife as that which was waged in 1846. Yet Rangihaeata made a stand on a wooded mountain spur, and there was loss of English life. Te Rangitake wrote to Grey that he had captured three women and a child, and would deal with the prisoners as Grey might direct. He would not entrust them to English care. He did not intend to follow Rangihaeata further.1 Grey replied from Auckland that they must be well treated, furnished with food for their journey, and told to warn their husbands not to be so foolish as to get into difficulties with the English. It is needless to narrate the warfare in detail. Bitterly lamenting that he had been hunted by men of the Ngatitoa tribe of which Rauparaha was chief, and by the Ngatiawa under Te Rangitake and others, Rangihaeata withdrew whither it was thought useless to follow. Chased at the Pouaha mountain by 1000 men, he successfully drew off his band of 200. Captain Russell of the 58th, who afterwards superintended the formation of a military road at the spot, recorded his admiration of Rangihaeata's genius for war in conducting his band along the narrow mountain crest, and sullenly skirmishing as he withdrew to his innermost fastnesses.
1 Parliamentary Papers, 1847, vol. xxxviii. p. 58. “The white people said, ‘Put them on board the ship,’ but I replied to the captain of the ship of war, ‘No; leave them in our care. We will wait for the Governor's return.’ Then they said, ‘They will return to Rangihaeata.’ But, hark you, we shall retain them till you or your word shall arrrive.”
When Grey, going to the scene of action in May, arrived at Wellington, he found a messenger from Rangihaeata with a parcel containing bank-notes, sovereigns, and other valuables. Rangihaeata, finding that some of his men had taken these things, returned them to Grey lest he should be esteemed a common thief, “whereas his only object was to obtain from the owner of the house, gunpowder which he had left in his care, and which had never been returned to him.”
1 The narrative in the text will be found in ‘New Zealand and its Inhabitants,’ by Rev. R. Taylor. That author ascribes the murder of the Gilfillans to the necessity under Maori law of exacting blood for blood. Others have declared that the wound of the chief was an insufficient pretext. It would perhaps be presumptuous to assert that the Wanganui war was caused altogether by the wound carelessly inflicted on the chief by the midshipman. But such was the belief amongst those who knew the Maoris. Mr. Fox declared: “The pretext for it by the natives was an accidental discharge of a pistol in the hands of a midshipman, by which a chief was wounded in the cheek. Five young men of the tribe ‘took payment’ for the injury to their chief by barbarously murdering the family of Gilfillan.…”(The ‘War in New Zealand.’ London, 1866.) Captain Laye, not so keenly alive as Mr. Fox to the horror of Maoris at the desecration of the sacred head of a chief, did not connect the murders with the shot. He did not report the latter until he had to tell of the former; and then passed over the occurrence as one which on his explanation was satisfactorily set aside as unimportant by the natives (P. P. 1848. Vol. xliii. p. 56), who “at first sight were rather excited.”Sir George Grey in a despatch (July, 1847) describes the murders as committed by the Maoris “in accordance with their custom of revenge”(P. P. 1848. Vol. xliii. p. 60). In 1880 men knew the truth better than in 1847, or were less unwilling to admit it. Fox (then Sir William) and Sir F. Dillon Bell in a report (West Coast Commission) in 1880, said the cause of war was the accidental shooting of a “great chief through the cheek. By native custom this was an indignity to be wiped out by blood.”Singularly enough the West Coast Commissioners allowed their report to describe the affair as having occurred in 1845 (N. Z. P., 1880, G. 2).
Grey wrote: “Nothing was left for him to do, he said, to show his regard for the Government but to go alone and die if necessary in assisting it; and with this view, and without a single follower, the old chief accompanied to Wanganui the natives of the Ngatiawa tribe, who had hitherto throughout his life been his most inveterate foes. Not only did these natives accompany me to Wanganui for the purpose of co-operating with Her Majesty's forces, but I am sure that every officer who was there will bear me out in saying that we could not have dispensed with their services, and that nothing could have surpassed their activity and gallantry.”
The fighting near Wanganui was desultory, though on one occasion as many as 400 were engaged on each side. The Maoris endeavoured to entice the English to pursue them towards ambuscades, but the allied natives foiled their tactics. Towards the end of 1847 Grey was able to say that he regarded the disturbances as terminated. The active aid afforded by Waka Nene and Te Whero Whero entitled them to some consideration in pleading for Rauparaha. They urged that not only the reputation of the Government but their own would suffer if Rauparaha should be kept close prisoner. They offered any guarantee required for his peaceful conduct. Grey accepted their unconditional pledge, and allowed Rauparaha and Hohepa to live in the north till Grey might think their return to Porirua advisable. The prisoners sailed to Auckland with Grey himself, and resided peacefully with Te Whero Whero. A large number of chiefs visited Rauparaha in his exile. Eloquent speeches were made. He recounted his own deeds of old, and the stealthy surprise by which he had been entrapped. But his heart was dark, and he quickly withdrew from the assembly. In 1848 he returned home, in an English man-of-war, accompanied by the Governor, Te Whero Whero, Colonel G. C. Mundy, and others. Preparations were made to receive him at Otaki. He went on deck in an officer's uniform, and saw the Governor and others in plain dress. His eye flashed meaningly. He withdrew and promptly re-appeared in a mat and blanket. He asked for a salute on landing, but Grey would not accord it. Te Whero Whero, dressed in best attire, landed with the party. Rauparaha's son had gone on board to meet his father in page 445 European evening costume. A companion of Grey's related that, after landing, Rauparaha strode from the rest of the party (who proceeded to the village), sat down on the ocean shore, “covered his old grey head with his mat, and remained for hours immovable. Not a soul of his family or tribe came near him: they stood aloof in a crowd several hundred paces distant; for Maori etiquette forbade that the great chieftain should be approached whilst exhibiting such signs of emotion.”Maori custom required that the Governor's clemency should not be unacknowledged: and the old man's son gave a great feast. Though described by Colonel Mundy as showing the remains of great personal strength, Rauparaha was bowed by age and did not long survive his return. In 1849 he died, eighty years old, and was buried at a spot selected by his old comrade Rangihaeata, near the Otaki church. Fifteen hundred mourners followed his remains to the grave. Rangihaeata had survived “the eye of faith”about seven years, when he too was gathered to his fathers. After the embers of his strife had died out he met the Governor at Otaki, and said he was not tired of war, but the times were peaceful, and men like women used the weapon of the tongue. “I want nothing of the white men. I wear nothing of their work,”he proudly said, arrayed with feathers in his hair, and with a dog-skin mantle thrown over him. When Grey reminded him that a peacock's feather in his hair was not native, he cast it reproachfully on the ground, saying, “True; that is Pakeha.”He did not acknowledge that Europeans had conquered him. Mr. Forsaith, in 1860, in the House of Representatives at Auckland, reminded members that Rangihaeata said to Grey, “I am finished. But do not suppose, O Governor, that you conquered me. No. It was these, my own relatives and friends, Rangitake and others. It was by them I was overcome.”As years rolled on, he too, like Rauparaha, attended Divine worship, and dissuaded from war. He accepted European arts for his people, but adhered to Maori customs in his own person. In 1852 Mr. Donald McLean reported that Rangihaeata was making roads, and transferring to the Crown the chieftainship over them. In 1849 Rangihaeata pointed out to McLean the impregnable position of his pah at Porotawao to which he had retreated in page 446 1846. The morasses and lagoons would have furnished eels, the forests on the hills their feathered game. In 1849 the mention of roads excited his wrath. He thought them means of conquest. In 1852 three lines of road were in course of construction at Porotawao; one of them at Rangihaeata's sole expense. In 1852 he wrote to Grey: “O Governor! my friend,—I send you greeting. I cannot express how much I respect or regard you. This then is my address to you; and it is in reference to the considerate manner in which you treated me in times gone by. I need scarcely call to your remembrance the circumstances attending my flight and pursuit; how it was that I took refuge in the fastnesses and hollows of the country, as a crab lies concealed in the depths and hollows of the rocks. You it was who sought and found me out, and through your kindness it is that I am at this present time enjoying your confidence and surrounded with peace and quietness. This then is the expression of my esteem for you, which I take occasion to make now that you are on the point of leaving for your native land.… Te Rangihaeata, Principal Surviving Chief of the Ngatitoa tribe.”
Though Colonel Mundy as the guest and companion of Governor Grey saw many chiefs, nothing could induce him to visit Rangihaeata, whom he styled in his book “The Tiger of the Wairau”: but who was described to him as “singularly manly, well-formed, and athletic; in height about six feet two, with curly black hair, aquiline features, a small piercing eye, and a haughty bearing.”Other Englishmen have said that they never looked upon a finer form than that of Rangihaeata. The Governor won a measure of personal respect from Heke. Unlike old Kawiti, Heke held aloof from the whites for some time after his proclaimed pardon. His friendly interview with the commander of a man-of-war who made a tour in the interior at the Governor's request was duly reported. He affected to expect the Governor to visit him at his agricultural retreat. In July, 1849, he wrote a letter to the Queen of which the Governor advised the acceptance as a customary courtesy, but not as a tribute to the assumed consequence of the writer, who dwelt on the necessity for adhering to the mutual relations established between King George and Hongi, and deprecated the pouring out of innocent Maori blood by the quarrelsome foreigners. In 1850 page 447 the turbulent patriot was smitten by consumption, and Grey sent him presents which he gratefully acknowledged; a lingering remembrance of past suspicions haunted him even in affliction, for, taking a sovereign from a number, he turned it round and round and said significantly, “As it comes from Governor Grey, I am looking to see if it has a hook anywhere about it.”After some months' illness he died on the 6th of August, aged forty-two years. There were various reports of the cause of his death, but the Governor “apprehended the truth to be that he died from consumption.”In May he wrote to Grey, “My disease is great, but do not grieve about that. This is not the everlasting abode of the body.”He died a Christian, kindly attended by his wife, the daughter of Hongi. His relatives paid the customary respect to his remains, solemnly exposed his bones before the tribe on two occasions, and finally deposited them in a mountain cavern at Kaikohe. Old Pomārĕ, the object of so much solicitude at the time of Heke's war, and then seized under a flag of truce, died at the same time as Heke, seventy-five years old: and the warriors of the ancient race waned one by one before the paramount Pakeha.
A significant emblem was shown in February, 1853, when old Kawiti was publicly baptized by Henry Williams in the Paparaka church crowded by his countrymen. He had previously informed them that he had decided to renounce his Maori ritenga (mos, or usages) and enter the Christian Church. For a year he regularly received religious instruction from Williams, who, when he baptized him, trusted that the “honourable old warrior had in sincerity and truth become a soldier of Christ.” Kawiti's conversion smoothed the way to the re-erection by his son of the flag-staff at Kororarika, as mentioned elsewhere.
Not in the field only but in the senate the Governor had weapons. To provide against such deeds as Rangihaeata's seizure of gunpowder at Kapiti, he passed a law to prohibit the keeping of gunpowder except in stipulated quantity. He strove to prevent the sale of ardent spirits to the Maoris. He gave gifts and procured pensions for his friends. On Waka Nene an annuity of £100 a year was settled by law for the valuable services rendered by him, “and the zeal, courage, and loyalty”he had displayed. While labouring thus the Governor page 448 was nevertheless paving the way for future trouble by a despatch hastily written and not withdrawn when its impropriety was proved. He would be aut Cæsar aut nullus. He desired to show that he was not dependent upon the good offices of the missionaries.
In June, 1846, before he sailed upon the expedition in which he seized Rauparaha, and, it may be presumed, before he had become acquainted with-the intricacies of the question, he wrote to the new Secretary of State, Mr. Gladstone, that which was long known in New Zealand as the “Blood and Treasure”despatch. It was marked “confidential,”and was written on the same day that Lord John Russell with the aid of Mr. Disraeli procured a majority against Sir Robert Peel on the Protection of Life Bill (Ireland). It was received by Mr. Gladstone's successor, Earl Grey. It deprecated the large tracts of land which Fitzroy had granted under “what is termed the penny an acre proclamation.”Claims under it were “not based on substantial justice to the aborigines or to the large majority of British settlers.… Her Majesty's Government may also rest satisfied that these individuals cannot be put into possession of these tracts of land without a large expenditure of British blood and money.”… “It must be decided whether British naval and military forces should be employed in putting these individuals into possession of the land they claim… and how are Her Majesty's forces to be reconciled to such a service. It is one attended with the greatest danger, hardship, and privations—it offers few prospects of honour or reward. From the desultory mode of warfare adopted by the natives no decisive victory can be gained… the individuals interested in these land claims form a very powerful party. They include among them those connected with the public press, several members of the Church Missionary Society and the numerous families of those gentlemen, various gentlemen holding important offices in the public service.…”As it was not true that any missionary asked to be “put in possession,”or that any Maori disputed the claims of the missionaries, and as the resolute Henry Williams boldly asserted the fact, and denied for the whole body that any missionary would make a claim rendering possible “such an awful circumstance as the shedding of one drop of human blood”—the unwisdom of the charges made by page 449 the Governor was made manifest as soon as they were known. Earl Grey received them in January, 1847, and forthwith communicated them to the Church Missionary Society. A special committee of the Society met in February. A clear statement of the case was prepared for submission to Parliament. Under Fitzroy's proclamation waiving the Crown's right of pre-emption of a penny an acre, there were no claims of missionaries. In the list of persons claiming arrears exceeding the maximum of 2560 acres fixed by the Land Sales Act, there were six missionaries and two persons who had been missionaries. The lands had been purchased from Maoris before the Queen assumed sovereignty, and at a time when the natives were solicitous to persuade their missionary friends to abide with them. The purchases were countenanced by the land regulations of New South Wales, where grants of land were made by the Government to children of chaplains. The parent society had contented itself with warning its missionaries against permitting the purchase of land to subject them to the reproach of being imbued with a secular spirit. The awful consequence of spending British blood and treasure was now for the first time suggested by the Governor. The Society was sure that “not one missionary or catechist would endure the idea of sacrificing British blood in order to obtain possession of land.”Their past lives might “well shield them from such an imputation.”Nevertheless, that the Society might be above reproach, the committee resolved “that no missionary or catechist can be allowed to continue his connection with the Society, who shall retain for his own use and benefit a greater amount of land than shall be determined upon as suitable by the Governor of New Zealand and the Bishop of New Zealand, jointly, or by such other referee or referees as they may be pleased to appoint for the determination of this question, the adoption of which measure is not to be regarded as casting any reproach or suspicion upon the past integrity of the missionaries.”The committee concluded with further encomium on the missionaries, with thanks to Earl Grey for his courtesy, and an earnest request that their statement might be submitted to Parliament if papers on the question should be laid before it. Earl Grey sent copies of the papers to ex-Governor Fitzroy, who, in March, 1847, stated page 450 strongly his conviction that no missionaries' claims could “give rise to native wars,”the natives having “remarkably strong feelings of attachment to the older missionaries and their children.”Earl Grey1 had written to the Governor: “I deeply regret, with you, that any members of the Church Missionary Society should have engaged in this traffic (under Fitzroy's proclamations and notice).”The gallant sailor told the Earl:2 “I am able to assure your Lordship in the most decided manner that no member of the Church Missionary Society, no missionary or catechist in New Zealand, has done so, directly or indirectly.”Charges made without foundation were insupportable. It would have been prudent if not generous to retract them frankly when they were found incapable of proof. Such a course was not chosen, and the result will be told hereafter. It will be sufficient to say here that the Governor linked the influence of Bishop Selwyn indirectly with his own in the course of the proceedings. The thorns which he was to find in his path with regard to the missionary claims were strewn by himself. There were others scattered by Earl Grey. It was known to all men that however rash Heke might have been, he would not have aroused even a section of his countrymen unless he had been able to persuade them that their land was in danger—that the substance of it had passed away, and they were but tenants at will, whom the Pakeha eyed with disgust as he longed for the day when the land would be parcelled out to those whose symbol of authority was the flag at Kororarika. Sir George Gipps had warned the English Government that Earl Grey's principles made known by the report of the House of Commons in 1844 must do mischief. All who knew the Maoris felt the danger of allowing it to be believed that England would not honourably fulfil the treaty of Waitangi.
If Waka Nene and his friends in the north, and the men of Wanganui with the Ngatitoa, Ngatiawa, and Ngatiraukawa in the south and west, were to lose faith in the word of the Queen, all the tribes might combine, and the inversion of the proverb that leaders may govern by dividing might prove that governors may be destroyed by injustice which produces union.
1 Parliamentary Papers, 1847. Vol. xxxviii. p. 30.
2 Ibid. p. 78 (10th February, 1847).
1 There would appear to have been some sense of shame or confusion in Earl Grey, after the failure of his scheme, for in his work ‘The Colonial Policy of the Administration of Lord John Russell,’ he does not allude to the project which it had cost him so much labour to produce. (Vide chapter ‘New Zealand.’)
The new statute (9 and 10 Vict. cap. 104) for regulating sales of land in the Australian colonies repealed all previous provisions made with regard to New Zealand. “Thus,”Earl Grey said, “there is a complete absence of any statutory provisions on this subject. The Queen, as entitled in right of her Crown to any waste lands in the colony, is free to make whatever rules Her Majesty may see fit on the subject…”“The accompanying charter authorizes the Governor to alienate such lands. The accompanying Instructions direct how such power is to be used. I proceed to explain the motives by which these Instruc- page 453 tions have been dictated.”From the doctrine “that aboriginal inhabitants of any country are the proprietors of every part of its soil of which they have been accustomed to make any use, or to which they have been accustomed to assert any title”Earl Grey “entirely dissented,”“whether it be maintained on the grounds of religion, morality, or of expediency.”He quoted an abstract opinion of Dr. Arnold's (not written with reference to any country where a treaty like that of Waitangi had been made) as just reasoning, and declared that it could hardly be denied that it was “fatal to the right which had been claimed for the aboriginal inhabitants of those islands to the exclusive possession of the vast extent of fertile but unoccupied lands which they contain.”He would not invade their “patches of potato ground;”“but so long as this injustice was avoided I must regard it as a vain and unfounded scruple which would have acknowledged their right of property in land which remained unsubdued to the uses of man. But if the savage inhabitants of New Zealand had themselves no right of property in land which they did not occupy, it is obvious that they could not convey to others what they did not themselves possess.”Again, “it was only as tribes that they were supposed to possess it, and granting their title as such to have been good and valid, it was obviously a right which the tribes enjoyed as independent communities; an attribute of sovereignty which with the sovereignty naturally and necessarily was transferred to the British Crown.”Such were the principles on which Governor Grey would be instructed to act, “if the colonization of New Zealand were only now about to begin.”Past transactions (notably, it may be inferred, the decision of the House of Commons in 1845, to respect the treaty of Waitangi) made “a strict application of these principles impracticable, but the Governor was to look to them as the foundation of the policy which so far as it was in his power he was to pursue.”“The exclusive right of the Crown to purchase land from the native tribes to which it has been assumed that it belongs”rested “not only upon what has been called the treaty of Waitangi,”but upon national law. There were other passages in the despatch which spoke of the sacred duty of watching over the interests and cultivating the minds of the aborigines, and it is fair that they should be alluded to, in page 454 order that those who choose to do so may refer to Earl Grey's own words in the Parliamentary Papers which contain his base scheme to defraud an honourable race of its heritage, to humiliate England by making her guilty of a gross breach of faith, and to effect by official trickery what the House of Commons, stirred by the manly words of Peel, had refused to do. The Earl's humane professions were but as vapour when contrasted with the ninth section of the thirteenth chapter of the Royal Instructions attempted to be imposed on the Governor. There were to be District Land Courts. “(9) No claim shall be admitted in the said Land Courts on behalf of the original inhabitants of New Zealand to any lands situate within the said islands, unless it shall be established to the satisfaction of such Court that either by some act of the Executive Government of New Zealand as hitherto constituted, or by the adjudication of some Court of competent jurisdiction within New Zealand, the right of such aboriginal inhabitants to such lands has been acknowledged and ascertained, or that the claimants or their progenitors, or those from whom they derived title, have actually had the occupation of the lands so claimed, and have been accustomed to enjoy the same, either as places of abode or for tillage, or for the growth of crops, or for the depasturing of cattle, or otherwise for the convenience and sustentation of life, by means of labour expended thereupon.”Earl Grey had heard that the rights of Maoris to land were, like those of his Teutonic ancestors, in the main, common. The heredium, the homestead, was undisturbed by tribal intrusion; but, as amongst the ancient Germans, no member of a tribe could sell to a stranger even his apparent patrimony without tribal consent. The hunting-ground had ever been common, and by the treaty of Waitangi the Queen had “confirmed and guaranteed to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand, and to the respective families and individuals thereof, the full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may individually and collectively possess, so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession.”Lord Stanley had, it was true, in burning words denounced as unworthy any evasion of the treaty to which the Queen was pledged. But his successor was the man who, in 1844, submitted page 455 to a Committee resolutions, declaring that the treaty was “injudicious”—that the acknowledgment of a Maori “right of property in wild lands”… was contrary to all sound principles, and that their ownership “should have been confined to land actually occupied and enjoyed;”and who advised that “means ought to be forthwith adopted for establishing the exclusive title of the Crown to all unoccupied and waste land.”
It was not a sin of ignorance that the Lord Howick of 1844 committed when, as Earl Grey and Secretary of State in 1846, he endeavoured cunningly to practise the breach of faith which in 1845 the House of Commons had condemned at the request of Peel. All native claims were to be registered. All unregistered lands were to be confiscated finally without appeal.1 Virgin lands were confiscated without the formality of a failure to register an ancestral claim. Earl Grey could not have been so vacuous as to be ignorant that his Instructions would dispossess the natives of the bulk of their lands, and the Governor told him that not by cultivation only, “but from fern-root, from fishing, from eel-ponds, from hunting wild pigs (for which they require extensive runs), and by such like pursuits”the Maoris supported themselves; and that “to deprive them of their wild lands for the purpose of cultivation, is in fact to cut off from them some of their most important means of subsistence.”Even the cutting down of a tree on certain lands was a deadly infringement of Maori hereditary rights. Fortunately the theorizing Earl had misunderstood the “practical problem”of New Zealand so completely that his scheme broke down.
The Governor wrote much in this strain, and Earl Grey published the bulk of the despatch forthwith. He suppressed passages which suggested that the governing minority “to whom the new powers are to be entrusted will benefit largely from (Imperial) expenditure, and will have a direct interest as great as possible;”and that such devices as those of the Select Committee, in 1844, roused suspicion, and tended to cause the Maoris to combine. “Indeed, so far has this spirit of nationality extended that it is a common object of contemplation amongst their young chiefs, and I feel satisfied that many of them have entertained this design if a favourable opportunity offers of endeavouring to set up some national government.”It was surely iniquitous to conceal this statement from Parliament. Earl Grey excised also the following extracts: “If the privilege of local self-government is one of such inestimable value, how much greater a privilege must it be deemed to confer upon so small a population (only a portion of the adult males of whom would really be the persons…) such extensive power over so large a number of their fellow-creatures whose interests in many respects are totally opposed to their own? Then if one examines the claims of the inhabitants of this portion of New Zealand to so vast and unusual a privilege, one feels much difficulty in seeing on what grounds such claims could rest; but it is certain that the majority of them have never quitted the immediate page 457 vicinity of the town, and know little more of New Zealand and its inhabitants and of their wants and real position than people living in England do. To permit, therefore, the inhabitants of this little town to return the representatives to the Lower Chamber, does not really give to New Zealand the benefit of a representative government in the ordinary sense of those words. In reference to the other arguments I have used, viz. that it should be remembered that the minority, to whom it is proposed to entrust these powers, are not required, indeed, cannot pay the expenses of the naval and military force which their proceedings may at any time necessitate to be employed in this country, I beg to state that whilst I have been writing this despatch Lieut-Col. Gold, the officer commanding the troops in the northern portion of this island, has called upon me in reference to some recent proceedings here, to state his entire conviction that many most improper steps are taken by the European population of this colony with the sole object of compelling the Government to incur an increased naval and military expenditure. Captain Graham, C.B., the senior naval officer upon this station, some time since wrote me a letter in which he formally recorded it as his opinion that such was also the sole object of many Europeans here, and my own opinion entirely coincides with that of the two officers.”1
1 It may be conceded that while Sir George Grey was Governor the publication of his opinion would have been indiscreet, but no such objection existed as to the verdict of the gallant officers, which Parliament was entitled to know, and the knowledge of which might possibly have averted future war.
The Governor's despatches had been written in May; but Earl Grey's injurious proposition did not become known in the colony until June, 1847. There were true leaders of Christian men in New Zealand who stepped forward in the imminent breach to save England from the shame with which Earl Grey would have loaded her. Chief Justice Martin offered his assistance to Bishop Selwyn in representing the injustice and impolicy of the Earl's propositions. The Governor professed to disbelieve that he was instructed to give them effect. The Bishop was not deceived by such professions, and his character gave weight to his words. Passing from camp to camp in time of war, visiting the wounded under fire, crossing swollen rivers, threading mountain tracks in company with those whom Earl Grey scorned as treacherous savages, Selwyn had won a reputation for the courage of a warrior and the devotion of a Christian apostle. First appealing for confirmation as to facts to Henry Williams (who had translated and explained the treaty when it was made), and fortified by his clear statement, the Bishop on behalf of himself, and of the clergy employed by Governor Hobson to explain and interpret the treaty of Waitangi to the chiefs in 1840, recorded his “formal and deliberate protest against the principles”expressed by Earl Grey in his despatch. None of those clergy would have aided Hobson if Hobson's assurances “had not been directly contrary to the principles now avowed by the Right Honourable Earl Grey.”“It is my duty”(he added) “also to inform your Excellency that I am resolved, God being my helper, to use all legal and constitutional measures, befitting my station, to inform the natives of New Zealand of their rights and privileges as British subjects, and to assist them in asserting and maintaining them, whether by petition to the Imperial Parliament, or other loyal and peaceable methods; but that in so doing I shall not forget the respect which I owe to your Excellency, nor do any- page 459 thing which can be considered likely to add to the difficulties of the colony.”The Bishop's request that his protest might be forwarded to the Secretary of State was at once complied with by the Governor, who, to do him justice, was manfully striving to counteract Earl Grey's sinister Instructions. The Chief Justice drew up a clear and cogent statement,1 which was printed at the Bishop's College Press, but was not published. A few copies were sent to friends in England. The Governor was not unconscious of the danger he denied.
1 ‘England and the New Zealanders.’ Remarks upon a despatch from the Right Honourable Earl Grey to Governor Grey, dated 23rd December, 1846. Bishop's Auckland, 1847.
The Bishop had not contented himself with his personal page 461 protest. A strongly-worded petition signed by himself, by the Chief Justice and many others, was handed to the Governor for transmission. They declared that there was danger in the alteration of policy proposed in Earl Grey's despatch, and that though the Governor maintained silence as to the intentions of the local government, something more was required. They prayed that Earl Grey's Instructions might he revoked as derogatory to the Queen's honour, and that the spirit as well as the letter of the treaty might be religiously maintained.
It must have been wormwood to the Earl to reply that the Queen had received the petition very graciously, and that he was commanded to refer to the repeated assurances of the Government that no intention had “ever existed to interfere with any of the rights secured to the natives of New Zealand by the treaty of Waitangi.”The cause maintained by Lord Stanley and Sir Robert Peel had so far prospered that their opponent recognized the treaty. The Governor meanwhile professed respect for the treaty, and endeavoured to convince himself and others that Earl Grey's Instructions could be wrested into conformity with it. He was compelled, however, to furnish further proof that the construction put on his policy by Te Whero Whero, by the Bishop, by the Wesleyan Committee in London, and by the Chief Justice, was generally entertained. The Rev. Robert Maunsell, on the ground that he had taken a large share in the framing and adoption of the Waitangi treaty, urged his claim to be heard in favour of its inviolability. He appealed to the Governor. From the day on which that treaty “was signed the conduct of the Maori towards the British has been marked by a spirit of chivalry, of friendship, and of good faith.”… “Why now does the statesman of a mighty nation seek to confiscate the guaranteed possessions of our friends and allies?”The Instructions and despatch carried out the spirit of the Select Committee Report of 1844, “(of which also Earl Grey was I believe the chief author), and they all indicate an uniform preconcerted plan, which though rejected by the then Colonial Secretary is now revived with authority and furnished with machinery for being carried into operation.”The only course open to some of the missionaries would be in sorrow to leave the country as soon as the Governor might begin page 462 to act on his Instructions. Mr. Maunsell was represented by the Governor as an excellent person. Never having obtained land for himself he was free to shake the dust from his feet if Earl Grey's scheme made honourable stay impossible. Earl Grey referred to his reply to Te Whero Whero as an answer to Mr. Maunsell's arguments against his scheme.
“Deeply lamenting the necessity,”in deference to the Governor's advice, Earl Grey abandoned his projects. On the 20th and on the 30th November, 1847, he informed the Governor that Parliament would be asked to pass a Bill enabling the Queen to suspend the new constitution. “A sense of what is due to the public safety,”he said, “could alone have induced the Government to sanction a departure from the plan originally chalked out.”The old legislative body would be reconstituted for a limited time, and empowered to establish two subordinate provincial councils, and (should it be deemed advisable) to introduce representative members therein. The restriction of municipal franchise to those who could read and write English the Governor would have a discretionary power to dispense with. The tried ability and knowledge of the Governor made Earl Grey feel it his duty to give to his “opinion all that personal weight to which it is entitled.”But though the scheme was abandoned, one conspicuous opponent of it was not to be allowed a peaceful triumph. Beloved and admired by Maoris, and respected by all, Bishop Selwyn's character had given force to his protest which entered like iron into the soul of Earl Grey. On him he vented his spleen. A despatch of the same date as the one last quoted denounced the haste and excitement of the Bishop in his “perilous appeal to the feelings of the natives,”and vainly argued in words which were to be communicated to the Bishop by the Governor, that his despatch expressed only “opinions,”and that the universal understanding as to it and the Instructions was erroneous. About the outrageous Chapter XIII. the Earl was discreetly silent, though his despatch was lengthy. The Bishop had no difficulty in exposing its fallacies. He justified his protest, and denied that it was circulated in such a manner as to excite the Maoris to resistance. Not one of them had seen it. This denial was confirmed by the Governor in transmitting the Bishop's letter. With it the Bishop sent the printed paper page 463 drawn up by Chief Justice Martin, as already described. “Whether,”the Bishop said, “Earl Grey's principle were a mere expression of opinion, or an opinion big with the fate of the New Zealanders; whether the grievance were substantial in its nature, or in itself an act of injustice; whether the New Zealanders be careless of their rights or vigorous in asserting them; whether they be warriors to command our respect, or worms to be trampled on; whether the treaty of Waitangi be a mere farce, or a solemn act of the Queen in the exercise of her prerogative;—we all, with one voice, as the friends and advisers of this native people, have persuaded them to put their trust in the good faith of England; and with one voice we will protest against any infringement, either in word or act, of the rights of British subjects which they acquired by cession of their independent sovereignty.”He appealed to the Governor to say whether he had not found the clergy and missionaries of all denominations faithful allies to British interests, and Grey reported that such was undoubtedly the case, and that if he had not done ample justice to the Bishop and the missionaries he could only plead that many of his despatches were written under the exciting circumstances of war when he himself was called upon to take an active part.
With regard to the Chief Justice's pamphlet, entitled ‘England and the New Zealanders,’ the Governor expressed regret at the course adopted, and forwarded to its author copies of the despatch discussing the Bishop's defence of his protest. The Chief Justice reminded the Governor that on the arrival of Earl Grey's despatch the Bishop had represented the alarm created by it, and stated that both Bishop and Chief Justice concurred “in the view taken by the great body of the colonists of the tendency of the despatch,”and offered such aid as they could render “under the urgent difficulty.”They subsequently determined that “to ward off great evils”they were bound as good subjects to do what they could, and it seemed proper to draw up a complete statement of the case, and put it “into the hands of the leading public men in England.”The ‘Remarks,’ drawn up by the Chief Justice, were printed at the College Press to avoid risk of publicity and embarrassment to the Governor, and only five copies were given to private friends in New Zealand.page 464
In dignified language Chief Justice Martin defended his position and refuted Earl Grey. He had always endeavoured to abstain from political questions; but the chiefs had often asked him whether the words of the first Governor would be fulfilled, and Martin had always answered: “The words of the first Governor were the words of the Queen; they will never be broken.”Moreover, on various occasions he had been requested to convey such an assurance to the chiefs on behalf of the Government. Whether his conduct, in striving to secure peace in coming years, was justifiable, he left with entire deference to the judgment of Her Majesty's Government, with whom it would rest to determine whether it would be for the public advantage that he should still retain the office which Her Majesty had entrusted to him.
A prophetic passage in the Chief Justice's pamphlet demands especial notice. It was devoted to prove, “that Earl Grey's Instructions involve a breach of the national faith of Britain; and a violation of established law;”and to protest against the new principle of colonization advocated by Earl Grey. The past dealings of England with the Maoris, the national faith pledged in the treaty; the words of Waka Nene when he induced his countrymen to sign it; the reference to those words by Sir Robert Peel, when he said to the opposition—“Do not hastily renounce that character for honour and good faith to which this chief appealed in his eloquent address;”the fact that, in New Zealand, Governor after Governor had solemnly declared that the treaty should never be violated; and Lord Stanley's noble words rebuking the company in London, were marshalled with irresistible force by the Chief Justice. He proved, from writings of American jurists, that even if there had been no treaty, the universal principle, obeyed alike by England and the United States, regarded the American Indians as proprietors of the soil, and that in Canada (Sir Howard Douglas had declared in 1845): “Every part of the vast region now settled has been obtained by regular conveyances and compacts from the native tribes.”He proved that Chapter XIII. of Earl Grey's instructions must bring about confiscation, “final and without appeal.”He cited proofs that the New Zealand Company's followers had already raised a page 465 shout of triumph over the Maori, and a song of praise to Earl Grey. One writer declared that by Earl Grey's Constitution, “the humbug treaty of Waitangi is very properly laid on the shelf;”another, that “it sweeps away the whole system of official machinery and self-impeding sophistry established by Lord Stanley—all the treaty of Waitangi nonsense.…”Finally, he pointed out that as yet among the Maoris, confidence had “on the whole prevailed, because no act of aggression has been committed by the Queen's Government.… In particular those who have received Christianity are disposed to look up to us for guidance and government. But let the plan of confiscation or seizure be once acted on, and all this will be at an end. The worst surmises of the natives will have become realities. To them we shall appear to be a nation of liars. All our means of exercising a moral influence over this people will have ceased, together with all the hopes (which we have nationally professed to hold most dear) of success in the work of civilizing and Christianizing them. The Christian faith itself has from the necessity of the case been received mainly upon our credit; that is, in the belief that the Pakeha who proclaimed it was a true man, honestly seeking to benefit, in every way, those whom he instructed. If our dishonesty shall be seen, the Christian religion will be abandoned by the mass of those who now receive it. That such will, in that case, be the result, may be shown (as far as any result yet contingent can be foreshown at all) from the language and conduct of the natives, since the contents of Earl Grey's despatch became known. This consideration can scarcely be deemed a slight matter in the judgment of any Englishman; certainly it cannot appear so in the judgment of any Christian man.”
1 Bede, ‘Ecclesiastical History,’ ii. cap. 30.
1 Time has brought about a change in Earl Grey's protests which Bishop Selwyn did not live to see. In 1880 the Earl bitterly denounced the Irish Land Act of 1870 for interfering with “freedom of contract,”and invading the “rights of property.”A further “departure from principle”was heinous in his eyes. Forgetful it may be of his Instructions of 1846, he wrote to the ‘Times’ (30th December, 1880): “No nation ever departs from the principles of justice and the canons of sound legislation… no matter under what pressure of necessity—without paying dearly for it in the end.”Was it his idea that the Queen's word plighted in a treaty deserved less reverence than a landlord's temporary lease, and that the Maoris had scantier property in their native land than the purchaser at a Sheriff's sale? Or had he different “principles”for different parts of the world?
In December, 1847, Mr. Labouchere introduced in the Commons a Bill to sweep away Earl Grey's scheme, and to confide entirely in the discretion of Governor Grey. Mr. Gladstone approved the new Bill, thinking that the zeal of Earl Grey had outrun his discretion in 1846. He touched on the Bishop's protest, and saw nothing in it which contemplated publication in New Zealand. Mr. Roundell Palmer also justified the Bishop. Mr. Joseph Hume condemned Bishop and missionaries, and Mr. Cardwell maintained that the protest was within the scope of the solemn responsibilities of the learned and most estimable prelate who made it. “There was no right more inherent than that of an Englishman in any situation to state, in firm and temperate language, his opinion on a matter for which he was responsible.”Sir Edward Buxton and others spoke in a similar strain; and Mr. Labouchere had little defence to make, except that the protest was unjustifiable because Earl Grey's despatch did not really mean what it said, and what no Maori could doubt that it meant. On February 9th, the Bill was to be committed. On the previous day the narrative of Captain Sotheby's visit to the Northern chiefs with Grey's opinion that he could “not now entertain any doubt that the country is in a very critical state,”had been placed before the House. Mr. Gladstone urged the demands of the Maoris for justice, declared that “as far as England was concerned, there was not a more strictly and rigorously binding treaty in existence than that of Waitangi,”and deplored the unfortunate designation of it by Earl Grey as that which “has been called page 468 the treaty.”Mr. Labouchere declared that the treaty “should be scrupulously and largely interpreted,”and hoped Mr. Gladstone “would be satisfied that there was no intention on the part of the Colonial Office to interfere with or take any course upon the question of waste lands in New Zealand, inconsistent with the rights guaranteed to the natives under the treaty of Waitangi.”The cause of the Bishop was triumphant; and not the less because Mr. Labouchere contended at great length that Earl Grey had not intended to undermine the treaty. Mr. Cardwell said that as the House “had ascertained from the Government the spirit in which they intended in future to carry out the treaty, he thought it would not be proper to offer any further opposition to going into Committee.”
There was further discussion; the Earl of Lincoln recommended the withdrawal of the Bill, and repeal rather than suspension of the Act of 1846. Mr. Labouchere expressed the gratitude of the Government to Bishop Selwyn for the exertions he had “recently made in settling claims to land on the part of the missionaries, which were causing the greatest peril to the colony.”Mr. Disraeli did not allow Earl Grey to escape censure. He asked if it “was to be tolerated that a Government being just formed, a member of it imbued with certain abstract and theoretical opinions upon Colonial Government, should make his début in his official career by drawing up with the greatest coolness what he called ‘a Constitution,’ sending it to a distant colony, and to an appalled Governor, and be saved only by the discretion and the abilities of the Governor, and by the presumed indulgence of the House of Commons from the consequences of absurdity so flagrant, and which might have been so ruinous?”Why have a Bill to suspend a Constitution which was not really in existence, and acknowledged by the Government to be too ridiculous to defend? They were “astounded by one great assumption, that there was a Constitution which had been suspended. Why should they introduce into this new, this simple, and this primitive society, such a degree of enormous lying?”
On all sides the ability of Governor Grey was relied upon to counteract the crotchets of Earl Grey, and the Bill was sent to page 469 the Lords, where in moving the second reading, Earl Grey, in praising the Governor, urged that it would be “inexpedient not to be guided almost implicitly by the advice received from a person on the spot, who had shown practically that he so thoroughly understood the position and interests of the colony. Looking at what Governor Grey had achieved, he thought it would involve no little presumption to think they could form a judgment of the measures that should be adopted there better than himself. Accordingly, the measure which he was about to ask their Lordships to sanction, was founded almost entirely on the recommendations of Captain Grey.”He had not been quite prepared for the fact that though by far the majority of the Maoris could read and write their own language, the Governor knew none of them who could read and write English, and therefore all were debarred by Earl Grey from the franchise; “but no doubt it was one of considerable importance.”Like the man who, when rated, abuses some one else, “he thought it a great error on the part of the missionaries in New Zealand that they had reduced the barbarous language of the tribes there to the condition of a written language.”
Lord Stanley expressed surprise that the papers laid before Parliament contained no opinion of the Governor on the Instructions issued by Earl Grey as to the property of the Maoris in land unsubdued to the purposes of man. He firmly believed that the Governor was determined to maintain the sacredness of the right of the tribes to their land, and he did not think himself bound to offer any opposition to the Bill.
Governor Grey was left to manage the land as well as all other affairs. His mode of reconciling the treaty of Waitangi with Earl Grey's Instructions was more adroit than ingenuous. He “considered the Instructions as referring to such lands only as have no claimants, and not in any way touching the treaty of Waitangi.”He expected that in some places native titles might disappear before the Government would be called upon to assert its own. He was more politic than candid in thus speculating at a time when he was assuring the Maoris that the treaty of Waitangi should be religiously respected. Independently of the paramount right to the land, he had been sorely vexed by the question of the acquisition of private rights. As early as in page 470 June, 1846, he lamented that, under cover of Governor Fitzroy's penny-an-acre proclamation of October, 1844, many extensive tracts were purchased, over which the Crown's right of preemption had never been waived. The settlers, launching into speculations with a view to ulterior sales of land, were prone to neglect their legitimate pursuits. The natives were tempted to repeat again and again improvident sales of land of which they were “only part owners, and to which their titles were generally doubtful.”He apprehended perpetual contest and warfare. In June, 1846, he notified that he would “not entertain or grant any application for waiving the Crown's right of pre-emption under Fitzroy's notice.”He told the Secretary of State that he would propose to allow Europeans to purchase directly from the natives only on proof to the Government of the native title and payment to the Crown of a fee of fifteen shillings an acre. Larger tracts of land were claimed than Grey thought fit to grant. The limit of 2560 acres fixed by the Government had often been exceeded.
Missionaries claimed large tracts. The Rev. Mr. Kemp had six claims, amounting to 9276 acres. In 1842 and 1843 the Commissioners, Godfrey and Richmond, had awarded him 3638 acres, and Hobson and Shortland had confirmed the several awards. Subsequently the general rule had been laid down that “only a maximum grant of 2560 acres could be given to each individual for all claims.”But Governor Fitzroy had reopened the cases of Mr. Kemp and others. A new Commissioner, R. A. Fitzgerald, had, in 1844, recommended that Mr. Kemp should receive a grant of the 9276 acres he had claimed, and to nine others he awarded larger tracts than the limit of 2560 acres would permit. Grey objected to these proceedings, and determined to issue no further grants of such a nature until instructed to do so. Earl Grey, in March, 1847, condemned the award of Fitzgerald on the ground that it was not competent for Fitzroy to reopen a claim decided by his predecessor. Governor Grey testified that the Bishop gave him invaluable assistance in settling the claims of missionaries to land. Writing in March, 1848, he commented on “the admirable exertions of our most excellent Bishop and his clergy, together with the numerous and admirable body of missionaries of different denominations.” page 471 Nevertheless he sternly resisted the claims of some of the missionaries to land which he denounced as “illegally acquired.”The resolutions passed by the Church Mission Society in February, 1847, with regard to lands held by missionaries for their own use and benefit, have already been mentioned, and it is convenient to summarize the long correspondence which ensued. Governor Grey's opponents believed that he entered upon his crusade against Archdeacon Henry Williams and others because he had, after receiving a deputation from the company's friends at Wellington, desired to secure the goodwill of the company. It was asserted that the company feared that the large tracts held by missionary and other grantees near Auckland would incommode the operations of the company in the southern portions of the island. The company, though it had bought land from Maoris at nominal prices, depended for success upon selling it at not less than £1 an acre to the settlers. To be undersold at the north would mar its proceedings. Earl Grey, the reputed friend of the company, was in office, and his infamous Instructions proved how little he respected the plighted faith of the Crown. He might be pliable in the same manner with regard to grants made to the missionaries, whose influence the company instinctively dreaded. Whether the Governor was or was not consciously, or unconsciously, warped in the manner imputed to him, the belief that he was so warped imparted a tone to the subsequent proceedings. Henry Williams, in particular, comported himself throughout in such a manner as to show that while his character was impugned he would not abate one jot of his claims, although, if the imputations made against him and others in the “Blood and Treasure”despatch should be withdrawn, he would consent to any arrangement about the land claims of his family. Colonel Wakefield and his nephew had assailed his endeavours, in 1839, to prevent the company from inveigling the Maoris at Wanganui, and the false charge of selfseeking then hurled at him was now intensified by its apparent adoption by the Governor. Williams assented to an arrangement on behalf of his family, on condition that “the numerous and severe animadversions expressed or implied by his Excellency upon the past conduct of some of the missionaries be either fully established or fully and honourably withdrawn.”The contention page 472 was so hot and prolonged1 that a statement of the facts is essential in any history of New Zealand.
1 The case of the enemies of the missionaries is contained in the numerous works published by the friends of the company. That of the missionaries may be found ably stated in ‘A Page from the History of New Zealand,’ by Metoikos (Auckland, 1854), and the ‘Life of Henry Williams’ (2 vols. 1874 and 1877, Auckland), both by the same accomplished author, Hugh Carleton, for many years a public man in New Zealand. In the ‘Life of Bishop Selwyn’ (London, 1879), no facts are stated on which a judgment can be formed.
1 Despatch to Secretary of State, 2nd August, 1847. P. P. 1848. Vol. xxxviii. p. 110.
Earl Grey proposed a hasty course, which the Governor wisely evaded. The latter, writing on the general condition of affairs (No. 106, 17th October, 1846), had said they were satisfactory, “with the exception of the line of conduct pursued by certain ill-disposed Europeans. I do not, however, much regard in a public point of view the proceedings of these individuals, as I have no doubt that I shall be able to prevent their machinations from producing any serious results; nevertheless, in a personal point of view, I have never on any previous occasion in my life been so uncomfortably situated.”There was no reference to the missionaries in the despatch, but its vagueness and the gnarled nature of Earl Grey allowed him to assume the culpability of those who opposed his schemes in 1844. He (February, 1847) regretted that the Governor had “cause to bring such serious charges against any portion of the European population, and especially against some of the missionaries. I fear that you will not be able to obtain legal evidence of the treasonable conduct which you impute to some of those persons, but if you should succeed in obtaining such evidence I trust that you will not fail to bring the culprits to justice.”It would have been as reasonable to prosecute the Prince Consort for disloyalty as the missionaries for treason, and the Governor explained that they were not obnoxious to Earl Grey's charges, and eulogized the missionaries of all denominations as “an admirable body.”But he pursued his scheme for abasing those who would not submit to his dictation, and in an evil hour the Bishop accepted the invidious task, which, so long as character was in question, arrayed the uncompromising Henry Williams against his diocesan, who had only a short time before appealed to him for aid in demanding justice for the Maori.
He wrote to his missionary brethren. He vindicated his own sincerity by quoting a confidential letter, in which he had in 1843 informed the Society that the purchases of the missionaries had “an injurious effect upon the minds of the natives and the English settlers.”He had in 1845 protested against grants page 475 which would infringe the Society's rules, and Captain Fitzroy had declined, as Civil Governor, to “make distinctions between the various land claimants,”or make himself the lay representative of the Society in New Zealand “for the management of its secular affairs.”He begged the missionaries to dismiss from their minds the despatch accusing them of a readiness to sacrifice “British blood and money”in order to be unjustly put in possession of tracts of land. He eloquently entreated them to “forgive and to forget every attack upon you which may have seemed unjust.”He neutralized his labour for peace by saying that the land purchases of the missionaries had created jealousies, affected the character of the Society, and alienated Maori affections. “All this I will undertake to prove if it should ever be necessary; but I earnestly desire to be spared the painful duty by your quiet acquiescence in the Governor's proposal. A guilty man might have been awed by threats; an innocent man could not close with such an offer. Henry Williams replied roundly that he would abide strictly by the Society's resolution. “I did never purpose to retain any portion of the said purchases for my own private use and benefit, of which your Lordship is fully aware… for myself I have not received one shilling”from the proceeds of the farm. A long dispute ensued as to the construction of the resolutions and letters of the Society. Williams consented to abide by the Bishop's construction, on condition that the Governor's charges “be either fully established, or fully and honourably withdrawn. Should these painful difficulties be removed, I shall then be ready to accede to any proposition, however opposed to my own judgment, as to the reading of the Society's letter of March 1st, 1847.”Another member of the body, the late Chief Protector, Clarke, consented with a different condition. If it could be shown that his retention of land exceeding 2560 acres would tend in any way to embarrass the Government, he would surrender his grant, “provided always that the land over and above the 2560 acres may be made over by me to the Church of England for the education of the natives.”A third, Mr. Kemp, volunteered in like manner on condition that the surplus land should be appropriated for the benefit of the natives. With strange inconsistency the Governor informed Clarke that his proposal page 476 to benefit the Maoris could not be entertained. There was conference between the Governor, the Bishop, and Archdeacon Brown and William Williams. The Bishop requested W. Williams to obtain specific questions, the replies to which might satisfy the wounded feelings of Henry Williams.
They were presented as follows, with the approval of Brown and W. Williams:—1. Does his Excellency disclaim having Intentionally cast any reflection which may appear to have been expressed or implied upon the past conduct of some of the missionaries during his Excellency's administration of New Zealand save only in the question of these purchases of land; and will his Excellency admit that this is an open question, and one upon which there is a variety of opinions as to the propriety of the missionaries making provision for their families? 2. Does his Excellency admit that these lands purchased by the missionaries were so purchased in strict integrity and honesty towards the aborigines, as reported upon by Her Majesty's Land Commissioners appointed for the examination of the same? 3. Does his Excellency admit that he is of opinion that the late military movements in the north were not in any respect connected with the missionaries? 4. And will his Excellency further admit that he is not aware that the missionaries or their sons were put out of possession of their lands by the aborigines, but that he believes they remained in quiet possession of their lands during the late wars in the north?
The Bishop objected to the form of the questions, and after an interview with the Governor proposed the following substitutes:—1. Whether his Excellency will have any objection to state that he is not aware of any treasonable or disloyal practices in which any missionary or child of a missionary has been engaged during his Excellency's administration as Governor of New Zealand. 2. Whether the chief matters in which his Excellency may have expressed an opinion adverse to the missionaries may not be connected with the political objections to the acts and counsels of the late Protector of the aborigines, and not to the missionary body in general. 3. Whether his Excellency would feel at liberty to state that neither the report of Her Majesty's Land Commissioners, nor any other public inquiry, justifies the belief that the original purchases of the page 477 missionaries were fraudulent or dishonest. 4. Whether his Excellency will state that no missionary, or child of a missionary, has ever applied for military protection, but that to the extent of his observation they have remained in quiet possession of the land.
The Bishop approved of the substituted questions; Archdeacon William Williams objected to the second clause; Clarke, the late Protector, wrote, as was natural, “I disapprove of the second clause.”Henry Williams was not requested to approve, but condemned the resolutions when he saw them. To make general charges of base conduct, and to declare that they did not apply to a limited time, was to leave them as offensive as before. To say that sweeping charges against a whole body might have been connected with the political acts of one of them, was pointedly to condemn him without generosity or justice to the others. To declare that no public inquiry had justified the charges, and not to withdraw them, was to imply that they were well founded. The alteration of the fourth question was hardly worth making, unless the qualification “as to the extent of the Governor's observation”was intended to permit the question to be raised again. William Williams withdrew from the conference. The Bishop called on Henry Williams unconditionally to surrender his Crown grants. He declined to do so. There was lengthy correspondence, having for its object on one side to show that the Archdeacon was retreating from his offer to surrender his Crown grants, and on the other to prove that the offer was conditional upon the “substantiation or retractation”of the imputations against the character of the archdeacon. The Governor's chagrin was not lessened when it was found that the grants promised by Fitzroy had in fact been signed by Grey himself before he entered upon his crusade against the grantees. But he persevered. He had intimated to the Bishop, when he appealed for his co-operation (in August, 1847), that failing other measures he should be compelled “to take immediate measures for having the grants set aside (as illegal) by the civil courts of the country,”though he feared such a step might injure the mission, and perhaps Christianity. September had been passed in vain negotiations. The Archdeacon was told that the Governor had informed some page 478 Maoris that the missionaries had improperly obtained their lands. Henry Williams had begun life in the navy, and was still militant. Indignant at an effort to destroy his reputation amongst the disciples he had trained for a quarter of a century, he wrote vehemently to the Bishop (30th Sept.): “I have no land, nor desire to possess any but the grave. I must request that your Lordship will never again name the subject of land to me. It is a reproach and offence to me, and will be injurious to both.… I see that no faith is to be kept with Governor Grey.”Unless the Bishop bestirred himself to resist evil—”we shall have much mischief ere long, and the remedy come too late.”On the same day the Bishop appealed to the Archdeacon to comply with his promise to accede to any proposition made by the Bishop; but he omitted to cite the unfulfilled condition on which the promise was based. He entreated the Archdeacon to resign his deeds into the hands of some neutral party, and accept the mediation of William Williams, Archdeacon Brown, and the Bishop. The sturdy Archdeacon recoiled from the suggestion that he would not surrender his deeds in conformity with a promise, and he returned no answer. Some confusion was afterwards created by the fact that at a later date the Archdeacon's vehement letter was quoted as if it had been written on the 1st October, and was an inept reply to the Bishop's, whereas both letters were written on 30th September, though neither reached its destination until the following day. The Archdeacon's “style and tone”were censured by the Society in England, and regretted by many of his friends. He returned to Paihia, where he was comforted by a long letter from Waka Nene, his fellow-labourer in persuading the Maoris to accept the treaty of Waitangi. The old chief declared that the purchases of the missionaries were honourably acquired. “Let not your heart be dark, as if it were a saying of mine that it is through the missionaries the land is gone.”The war had not arisen from the purchases. “If they had fought for their lands I would not have fought against them; but their fighting was wrong.”The Archdeacon answered that he did not believe such an untruth as his “old friend”repudiated. He did not relax his efforts to avert the danger with which Earl Grey's Instructions threatened the land. In December, 1847, he justified his page 479 interference on the ground of the prominent part he had taken in procuring the treaty of Waitangi. “Earl Grey's despatch strikes at the very root of life and liberty of the aborigines.… Let them be once persuaded of the correctness of the reports they have heard recently of Earl Grey's despatch, and I do not hesitate to assure your Excellency, after a residence of twenty-five years in this country, that the whole island will be actuated by one patriotic feeling of resistance.”The Governor rejected advice from such a source. He converted its offer into an occasion for rebuking the missionaries, and for lauding Earl Grey with audacious disingenuousness. He caused the Archdeacon to be informed that his Excellency has “not seen any instructions of Earl Grey's which direct that the lands of the natives should be taken from them; and the Governor attributes a great deal of the ill feeling of the natives in the north to the large land claims of some of the missionaries, who his Excellency had hoped would have assisted in the adjustment of them.”
The Archdeacon in a fiery letter quoted a saying of Waka Nene, who, when told that he had made insinuations against the missionaries, answered, “The Pakeha are a very lying people.”He reminded the Governor that he had on the 16th August, 1847, declared, with reference to Grey's confidential despatch: “I am authorized to say that the missionaries and their children shrink with horror from such a charge, and are prepared to relinquish their claims altogether, upon its being shown that their claims would render the possibility of such an awful circumstance as the shedding of one drop of human blood.”His letters were published. The Governor reported that the publication was injurious, and that some of the charges made by the Archdeacon were “extremely untrue,”and would “certainly obtain for the Government the hatred of the native population, and will probably lay the ground-work for future disasters, which will then probably be attributed to the Government, instead of to the proper cause.”About the same time the Governor laboured to prove to Earl Grey, as he vainly endeavoured to convince men in New Zealand, that the despatches of the Earl were consistent with good faith. “I distinctly understood those expressions which have been objected to (by page 480 the Bishop, the Chief Justice, and others), as not being intended by you to be applicable to the present state of New Zealand.… I felt it my duty to refrain from admitting that the tenor of your Lordship's instructions was such as they maintained; and I would not state that the local government would not act in any manner opposed to the principles of equity and justice, because such a statement on my part would have been an admission that I had received instructions of such a nature from your Lordship.”Earl Grey had the audacity in November, 1848, to say that the Governor's despatch entirely confirmed his own views. As to Archdeacon Williams, a decisive course was taken. Earl Grey obtained from the Mission Society a resolution declaring the publication of controversial political papers “utterly inconsistent with the character of a missionary.”
Meanwhile, the Governor had instituted legal proceedings by scire facias against the missionary grantees. The first case tried was that of the ex-Protector Clarke. Fitzroy had on 16th May, 1844, granted 5500 acres to Clarke, some of which had been purchased before proclamation of the Queen's sovereignty. Under the Land Ordinance of 9th June, 1841, Clarke's claim was referred to the Commissioners Godfrey and Richmond, who on the 13th May, 1841, reported that 2560 acres ought to be granted. Their report was confirmed by Acting Governor Shortland in June, 1843; but Fitzroy, nevertheless, in 1844, having referred the matter to a Commissioner, Fitzgerald, and received a report favourable to Clarke, made the grants, which by Governor Grey's direction were disputed as contrary to the report of the Commissioners, and in excess of the quantity which could be granted by a Governor, except on the recommendation of the Commissioners. The Ordinance of 9th June, 1841, restricted grants to 2560 acres; but a later Ordinance repealed the restriction (September 2, No. 14, 1842). The later Ordinance was not allowed by the Queen. The Supreme Court in New Zealand gave judgment for Clarke (24th June, 1848, though the case was not argued on Clarke's behalf), on the grounds that the Governor exercised the Royal Prerogative in granting lands; that its exercise could only be restrained by express words, and that a departure from the spirit of the Ordinance could not invalidate a grant in the absence page 481 of any false suggestion by the grantee. The New Zealand Government appealed, and as the respondent did not appear, the Privy Council heard an ex parte case, and decided in favour of the Crown. The Governor was held to have exceeded his powers, which were limited by his commission and instructions, and by the Ordinance on which the Crown relied, the amending Ordinance never having been allowed by the Queen. The judgment was delivered on the 15th May, 1851, and Grey was for a time triumphant over the technically erroneous acts of his predecessor. He had in the mean time acted on the spot.
In another case (the Queen versus Taylor), the Supreme Court of New Zealand attributed validity to a Governor's grants, although made in opposition to the Land Claims Commissioners' report, and though otherwise abounding in irregularity. The judgment was delivered in July, 1849. In August the Governor summoned his Council, and laid before them a Draft Bill for quieting titles to land in the province. It accepted the decision of the Supreme Court, and gave validity to all grants made on behalf of the Crown by the Governor under the public seal of the colony. The speech of Swainson (the Attorney-General), warmly supporting the second reading, appears in parliamentary papers. The measure was passed on the 25th August, and in 1850 was allowed by the Queen. Earl Grey highly complimented the Governor on his conduct in allaying doubts by settling the titles rather than disputing them further.
It was fortunate that the New Zealand titles were secured by the Ordinance thus passed, for a subsequent appeal from South Australia, which was argued before the Privy Council, qualified the decision against Clarke. The case of Reg. v. Clarke was relied upon by one side “as an express decision that scire facias will lie although there is no record.”Lord Chelmsford, on the case argued in 1866, declared that such reliance was erroneous. “From the beginning to the end in that case, there was nothing to raise any doubt as to the propriety of the proceeding by scire facias. No objection was taken to it in the colony (where the case was undefended). Not the slightest suggestion was offered upon the subject in the course of the argument upon the appeal. The hearing before the Judicial Committee was ex parte, the page 482 respondent not having appeared, and the attention of their Lordships was not in any way called to the irregularity of the proceeding, in the validity of which they are supposed by their silence to have acquiesced.”The conclusion of the case shows through what intricate paths a Governor of a colony, responsible to the Crown, may have to walk. When the decision was given in the Colonial Court in 1848, Henry Williams, relieved from suspicion that he could be influenced by sordid motives, appealed to Earl Grey to order an investigation of the charges made against the missionaries. Earl Grey refused, on the ground that to grant an inquiry would be an affront to the Governor. Other troubles which beset Williams and his friends may be postponed,1 in order to follow now the course of public events with regard to lands.
1 Appendix A.
The circumstances under which territory at Otago was purchased as a field for the operations of the New Zealand Company have been mentioned. In May, 1845, an Otago Association was formed at Glasgow to found a special settlement for Scotchmen. Gibbon Wakefield declared that the New Zealand Company “intimately co-operated with the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland”in founding the new settlement. But there was trouble. In August, 1845, Lord Stanley smoothed the way by instructing the Governor to waive for the present the Crown's right of pre-emption of native lands, and grant 400,000 acres to the New Zealand Company at Otago. The Governor obeyed. In November, 1847, Captain Cargill sailed in the ‘John Wickliff’ as leader of the new pilgrims, and pitched his tent in March, 1848, on the land page 484 where the Otago Association had bought from the company 400,000 acres. Even a Scotch settlement was incapable of prosperity without other national elements on which to work. The association were unable to fulfil their functions; some of their own settlers petitioned in 1851 that no charter might be granted; and the Governor was informed in 1852 that the legal control devolved upon the Crown because of the inability of the association to “sell the stipulated quantity of land.”The settlers deemed the Governor hostile to them, and petitioned the Queen in January, 1852. Under the Constitution Act provision was made for a charter, and they applied for it. They said that they had a Mechanics' Institution, a Property Investment Company, an Agricultural Association, and a bank with a subscribed capital of £7500. There had been no civil or criminal business before their Supreme Court, and they thought the expenditure (£800) for the judge and other expenses totally unsuitable. They wished for the charter to which Earl Grey had acceded. Their Coryphæus, Cargill, had been a captain in the 74th Regiment, and they seemed to trust in his judicial capacity. They were only fifteen hundred in number. In November, 1852, Sir John Pakington (Secretary of State) declined to grant the charter. He thought it unadvisable to make Otago an exceptional province with regard to administration of lands, and he remitted the subject with confidence to the General Legislature created under the Constitution Act.
The Otago Association characteristically asked permission to continue their operations in Edinburgh for a few months. They were under obligations for salaries and office rent until May, 1853, and they wished to obtain value for their money. To this prudent proposal Sir J. Pakington assented. A plan to form a Canterbury settlement consisting of members of the Church of England was mooted before the disturbances at the Bay of Islands engrossed attention. The Wairarapa Valley was considered a fitting site. After delays, caused partly by the aspect of native affairs, a prospectus for the formation of the settlement was issued in 1848. Archbishops, bishops, and members of parliament, abounded in the Canterbury Association. Lord Lyttleton corresponded on their behalf with Earl Grey. They asked for a million of acres at the Wairarapa Valley or page 485 elsewhere. The New Zealand Company, still generally guided by the genius of Gibbon Wakefield, though groaning under financial difficulties, adopted the new scheme. The company, through its secretary, Mr. Harington, corresponded with the Colonial Office and with the acting secretary of the association, Mr. John Robert Godley. In January, 1850, a charter was obtained in which the honoured name of the Archbishop of Dublin (Whately) appeared as the leader of the Queen's loving subjects desirous to found “a settlement of colonists wholly members of the Church of England.”Canterbury pilgrims began to move. A bishop's staff gave sanction on one hand, and Gibbon Wake-field descanted on the vigour of religious organization as an incentive to immigration of the better order of people, and especially the better order of women “to live and die in a colony.”The site, Port Cooper, had been selected and approved in 1849. Some of the pilgrims reached their destination in 1850. There were supposed to be no difficulties as to land titles. Mr. Walter Mantell had done much to quiet them in the Middle Island before the Canterbury settlement was formed. Christchurch was chosen as the name of the capital; Lyttleton for the sea-port, in the North of Bank's Peninsula, once coveted by the French. The Church arrangements made under such august patronage were never completed. Bishop Selwyn resigned so much of his New Zealand See as was deemed requisite; but legal doubts arose. Parliament passed an Act (15 and 16 Vict. cap. 88) to give validity to the Bishop's resignation; but the course of affairs was not smooth. The new Bishop designate returned to England, and other personages fled from a scene which was neither so Arcadian nor so profitable as they had anticipated. In one respect the Canterbury settlement was more successful than that at Otago. It obtained a charter in November, 1849, and in August, 1850, an Act of Parliament defined the terms on which land was to be sold—rural at not less than £3 an acre, and town allotments at not less than £12 for a quarter of an acre. One-sixth of the land fund was to be paid to the Crown instead of to the New Zealand Company (then defunct). The remainder by the conditions of the Association was appropriated thus: two-sixths to ecclesiastical and educational purposes, two-sixths to page 486 immigration, and one-sixth to surveys and other expenses. But though it survived the New Zealand Company, the Canterbury Association was unable to pay the amount (one-sixth) exacted by law on the disposal of lands. In December, 1852, Sir John Pakington intimated that their power to dispose of land had ceased, and a few days later, his successor, the Duke of Newcastle, gave formal notice to the same effect. To the Governor, Sir G. Grey, was delegated the power to deal with the subject until, under the New Constitution Act, the General Assembly might legislate.
The name of John Robert Godley deserves more than passing allusion. Born in Ireland, he was educated at Harrow and Oxford. He published letters from America which attracted attention. He urged the Government to avert the evils of famine from his native land by a generous and united effort to convey a million of the starving Irish to Canada. Failing in this scheme he devoted himself to local duties in his county, and was defeated in a contest for a seat in Parliament. Familiar with Gibbon Wakefield's writings, he came into contact with the man, and over Godley, as over so many others, a glamour was thrown by Wakefield's genius. Thus was the Canterbury Association first founded, and Godley's hand promoted its formation. Articles in newspapers, ready weapons in Wakefield's armoury, flowed from the pen of Godley. An agent had already been sent to New Zealand, and the Canterbury block (1,000,000 acres originally, but increased afterwards to 2,400,000) had been asked for by a local agent and allotted by Governor Grey at Port Cooper, when, in 1849, symptoms of decline alarmed the numerous friends of Godley. Emigrants were about to sail for the new land, and he determined to go thither to prepare the way for them. Before he sailed he wrote a public letter to Mr. Gladstone, upbraiding, in vigorous terms, the Colonial Office, upon which he heaped the contumely to which it was accustomed from the pen of Charles Buller. The judgment of Godley was ever surpassed by the warmth of his heart. He had not long been in New Zealand before he found that the company which he cursed the Colonial Office for curbing might often have deserved censure. He railed at the model Canterbury Association as exercising pernicious influence, page 487 and tendered his resignation in the middle of 1851. When he arrived in New Zealand, he found himself nerveless. The association had exhausted its funds. The local agent at the town, Lyttleton, had overdrawn his credits. Godley stopped the current expenditure, and went at once to Wellington, where he threw himself with ardour into the political opposition which Mr. Fox and others had organized, under the name of a Settlers' Constitutional Association, against Sir George Grey. Some persons thought it unbecoming in the agent of one settlement to constitute himself a violent agitator in another; but the amiable character of the man extenuated his conduct. He returned to Lyttleton before the immigrants arrived there in December, 1850. He designed the town of Canterbury and practically governed the community. The pastoral regulations of the association were in his opinion unwise, and he ventured to abolish them in favour of propositions of his own, for which he was prudent enough to seek, and fortunate in obtaining, the assent of a “Land Purchasers' Society.”Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald moved the resolution which pledged the Society. Confidence was restored. Capital flowed to Canterbury from Australia-Tracts of land were by the new regulations leased to persons who, not being purchasers, would have been debarred by the regulations which were set aside; and in the opinion of the friends of Godley he had averted immediate ruin. His troubles with the still lingering French claims at Akaroa need not be dwelt upon. His difference of opinion from the association in England made his post irksome. He told it (March, 1851) that local prosperity was incompatible with its rule, and that only by the “wisdom and considerateness of Sir George Grey, who has hitherto practically given to its officers nearly the whole administration of public affairs,”had work been made possible. His former friend Gibbon Wakefield (he said in a private letter) “out-Heroded Herod in the outrageous virulence of his abuse.”The introduction of a New Zealand Constitution Bill in Parliament stayed his resignation but not his political activity. When Sir John Pakington succeeded in carrying that Bill, Godley, though pressed to become superintendent of the new province of Canterbury, conceived that his work was done, and retired from the scene. His political friends were in office page 488 when he reached England, and with them by a strange process of exfoliation was ranked Mr. Gladstone, from whom, ere long, he accepted a post in the public service. In various offices he laboured with credit till his death. The Canterbury Association ever respected him, and after they had, in 1856, succeeded in settling their claims upon the colony they held a festival at which he was present.
1 Published at Christchurch, New Zealand, 1863.
It may be convenient here to record the expiry of the New Zealand Company, the nursing-mother of so many separate communities in New Zealand. The conflict or supposed conflict of interests led to some singular consequences in those communities. At Wellington the company had fixed the price to be paid by settlers for land at £1 per acre, of which one-half was deemed the intrinsic value, and the other was looked upon as a return for advantages conferred by the company in importing labour and providing for other needs. They subsequently raised the price to £2. At Nelson the sum was raised to £1 10s., at Otago to £2, and at Canterbury we have seen that it was originally £3,—the enhanced price being deemed in each case compensated for by special advantages, in religious, educaional, and other provisions.
The financial difficulties of the New Zealand Company were to bring about its downfall soon after the Canterbury pilgrims reached New Zealand. The Canterbury Association could not pay the company for land and defray its own expenses; the company, maugre its able advocates and powerful friends, was, on the 4th July, 1850, compelled to give official notice of surrender of its charters and all its claims to land in New Zealand. The negotiations of 1847 worked out by Charles Buller were abortive. His active brain ceased to throb in 1848, and he saw not the failure of his schemes. The forfeiture provided by the statute (10 and 11 Victoria, cap. 112) which authorized a loan to the company, was the only solution available. The promoters clung to a hope of reimbursement for some of their losses, and consumed reams of paper in urging their claims. They had the audacity to urge that the withholding page 490 of representative institutions was a restraint on wholesome immigration, and a cause of their financial failure. There was a debt of £268,370 to their shareholders, but it was secured, by the law, on proceeds of future land sales. For surrender of their land they thought their debts should also be paid. Of the 30,653,466 acres they enumerated as purchased, 28,000,000 had really been bought from the Maoris by the Government, between Wairau and Otago. The Government and the company referred the numerous knotty points involved to Mr. (afterwards Sir) J. G. S. Lefevre, distinguished at Cambridge and in the public service, and universally respected. The Lords of the Treasury were called in as a last resort. Meantime Earl Grey was besieged by friends of the Otago and Canterbury Associations, and promised to give them direct charters to supply any wants created by the annihilation of the New Zealand Company. With minute details history need not trouble itself further. The Government assumed responsibility, but instructed the Governor to consult, if he could, the desires of the colonists at Otago and at Canterbury in appointing magistrates and even judges.
An Act was passed in England (cap. 86; 7th August, 1851) to enable the Crown, through the Governor, to close and determine the affairs of all the company's settlements. The debt of £268,000 remained a charge for some years, and was finally wiped out after the passing of a local Act by the legislature of New Zealand. Many of the great men who initiated the company had passed away, but their lesser comrades received a return of their money with joy, and were profuse in self-laudation. In October, 1848, Governor Grey thought himself justified in reporting that, of all the land claims of the New Zealand Company, only the one at Taranaki remained unadjusted. If the undertakings on the part of the Government had been loyally adhered to in later days by himself and others, his boast might have been justified. Mr. Spain's appointment was so abruptly terminated by Governor Fitzroy that the Colonial Office was appealed to, and it was determined that Spain should be remunerated “to the date (September, 1846) of the last report which he furnished as Lands Claim Commissioner to the local government.”It was felt that page 491 impartiality could best be secured by employing a person of repute free from local prejudice, and in December, 1845, Lord Stanley informed the Governor that Lieut.-Col. McLeverty, 48th Regiment, having been appointed Deputy-Quarter-Master-General in the Australian Colonies, would proceed to New Zealand “for the purpose of undertaking the duty of giving his best assistance to the company in their selection of land, to aid in surveying the exterior boundaries of such selections, and to judge of the reasonableness of the terms of any purchase which the company may make from the natives with reference to the company's right to reimbursement in land in respect of money paid for such purchase.”Colonel McLeverty rendered efficient service. He drew up an elaborate report upon Port Nicholson, where, in January, 1847, there were 489 adult Maoris and 144 children, with 639 acres in cultivation. The necessity was then, as in the time of Mr. Spain, to temper to the disinherited the wrong done to them by Colonel Wakefield which Governor Hobson, after Gipps' wise arrangements had been counteracted by Lord John Russell, had been able to mitigate by compensation, but not to remove.
It would have been better, perhaps, if these protesters had thought of other violations of good faith constantly shown by the company; but their protest is valuable as evidence page 493 concerning the mischief wrought by Lord John Russell and the company. Fifty-five names were attached to it, and amongst them are those of Edward Daniell, J.P.; Charles (now Sir C.) Clifford; Mr. (now Sir) W. Fitzherbert; Dr. Featherston, and others more or less prominent at the time. It devolved upon the Governor to solve the difficulties complained of. The general in command in Australia, by removing from New Zealand all Colonel McLeverty's seniors, attached his time to military duties, and Earl Grey, by a despatch (23rd March, 1848), and the New Zealand Company, by their letters to Earl Grey in London, entrusted the Governor with uncontrolled power of deciding disputes. He arranged with Colonel Wake-field conditions for amicable settlement of the disputes with the Company's settlers. They had scarcely been determined upon when Colonel Wakefield died suddenly on the 19th September, 1848, though not before he had received a grateful record of the thanks of the settlers, amongst whom were F. A. Weld, H. W. Petre, C. Clifford, and others of note.
When reporting the conclusion of the arrangement at Wellington, and his regret at the death of Colonel Wakefield, who had always rendered him valuable assistance, the Governor stated that only the Taranaki questions remained to be adjusted; and if the undertakings made by the local authorities had been adhered to, his statement might have been borne out by facts. It may appear strange that he should so easily acquire titles where others had failed. His own sagacity, and his habit of working in concert with influential chiefs in matters relating to the Maoris, were his principal aids; for in those days the word of men in authority was trusted by the natives. But the prescience of Lord Stanley largely assisted him. Reviled as that nobleman was by the New Zealand Company for asserted neglect, he nevertheless strove to mitigate the evil consequences of their own blunders. At the very time in which they assailed, and Sir Robert Peel defended, him in the House of Commons, he wrote thus (28th June, 1845) to the Governor whom he had sent to New Zealand. He was aware “that the company might be unable, even with the indirect assistance to which I have already referred,… to obtain possession of lands to the full extent of those awarded to them; page 494 and with the view of meeting this possible contingency I have to authorize you as a last resource to afford yet more direct assistance to their agent. With this object Her Majesty's Government are willing to place at your disposal a credit to the extent of £10,000, which it is desirable that you should employ in the purchase of lands from the natives, in such districts suitable for the purposes of settlement as you may be able to obtain from them with their free consent. It would in our opinion be desirable that you should make these purchases, to the full extent of your credit, as nearly simultaneously as possible and in blocks of considerable extent, but that you should carefully avoid giving any previous intimation of the objects with which you make them. If the New Zealand Company should succeed, independently of those purchases, in obtaining their full amount of land, that which you may thus acquire will of course be brought into the market as you may judge expedient; and, after applying the profits of the sale to the purposes to which the proceeds of waste lands are applicable, you may continue to reinvest the original sum entrusted to you in similar purchases. If, however, you should be unable in any other way to satisfy the requirements of the company, you will consider yourself authorized, without admitting the validity of the construction put by them upon the engagement entered into by them with Lord John Russell, to apply the lands so purchased, or such portion of them as may be necessary, to make good the deficiency. Her Majesty's Government are induced to give you this discretionary power in the hope of facilitating the early and final adjustment of all questions arising out of the agreement of 1840, which as long as they remain unsettled cannot fail to be highly injurious to the prospects of the colony, and a source of continual embarrassment to yourself and to the Government.… The credit above-mentioned you will understand to be wholly distinct and in addition to that for which, as you will see by my separate financial despatch of this date, it is proposed to make application to Parliament.”Armed with this singular power the Governor effected the purchase of the Middle Island and some portions of the Northern, and thought, in 1848, that no doubtful claim remained except at Taranaki.page 495
1 The company's claims at Wanganui ought to have enabled Governor Grey to anticipate such a result. Spain had found that though the company had purchased 40,000 acres there, many natives were no parties to the alleged purchase. He wished to procure their sanction for a payment of £1000, which they refused. In 1846 the Governor found them more willing, and sent Mr. Symonds to conclude the matter, but (Despatch 24th June, 1846) “when Mr. Symonds recently proceeded to Wanganui a new tribe of claimants appeared who had wholly escaped notice… It appeared upon inquiry that their claim was a valid one, and was admitted to be good by the very natives who contracted to dispose of the land. (There could be) no doubt that any purchasers from the company (attempting to) take possession would have been expelled by the natives whose claims remained unsatisfied, and who apparently did not think it worth their while to come forward until the land was about to be occupied.”
1 Mr. (now Sir) W. Fox was Colonial Secretary when Clarke's letter was received. He and their colleagues had tendered their resignation; and he only left a memorandum which “admitted the great length of time during which faith has failed to be kept,”and the large debts due. He was in office as Premier, in 1869, and did nothing to pay them.
1 “I am compelled to state that I am not prepared to recommend that the district of the Wairau be included in the Crown grant… I have come to the decision after much and careful deliberation… and I entertain no apprehension that a candid and impartial perusal of the evidence will ever lead to any other conclusion.”–P. P. 1846.
1 “Et encore que le commandement du superieur soit juste, cela ne vous oblige pas de lui obéir; car il n'est past juste de tous points et en toutes manières, non undequaque juste prœcipit, mais seulement probablement; et ainsi vous n'êtes engagé que probablement a lui obéir et vous en êtes probablement degagé: probabiliter obligatus et probabiliter deobligatus. ‘On ne saurait trop estimer un si beau fruit de la double probabilité.’ “–Pascal, ‘Lettres Provinciales,’ vi.
When Major Richmond went some months afterwards to cause the survey of the site selected by the chief Ropoama, he “found the natives so thoroughly conversant with the conditions attached to the sale”that he “had no difficulty in carrying them out to their entire satisfaction.”Faith kept on one side creates faith on the other, and the enemies of the Maori have been unable to declare him dishonourable. Yet Colonel Wakefield's indignation at the recognition of Maori title at the Wairau where his brother had been slaughtered, could hardly be wondered at. When he died suddenly in September, 1848, he was succeeded by Mr. William Fox (provisionally suggested as a fit person by Wakefield himself in 1845), to whom Governor Grey had offered the post of Attorney-General for the southern province, and by whom it had been refused. Mr. Fox declined, or was unable, to maintain the good name of the company by paying the sums stipulated for by the Governor in purchasing land from the natives.
Aggrandizing power, and justly acquiring great influence, the Governor created many enemies by statements and insinuations made with or without cause. He was an adept at making a part appear the whole, and drawing conclusions which the whole would not justify. In the case of Archdeacon Williams he had triumphed, but it was nobler to suffer in such a cause than to conquer. In 1848 he charged the officers of the Protectorate with having, while paid by the Government to guard the Maori in land-selling, received presents for acting at the same time as private agents of Europeans in land-buying. He sent documents to England implicating Mr. Forsaith by name in such practices. Mr. Forsaith had quitted office, but was in Auckland, and was not consulted as to the charge thus made and laid before Parliament. False accusations in Blue Books sometimes escape notice, but Mr. Forsaith saw the imputation and demanded explanation. He denied the charge of acting as agent in the manner condemned. All necessary witnesses “are on the spot. I challenge all or any of them to come forward and prove that I assisted as a private agent to negotiate a purchase, or received in any shape whatsoever a fee or reward for so doing; and I am bold to assert the same for my colleagues in office at the time. I am confident that none of the Protectors of page 500 aborigines are open to censure on this account.… By transmitting statements to Her Majesty's Government, in which I am charged by name with conduct so discreditable without giving me an opportunity of defending myself, or even acquainting me of the fact of such a charge having been made, his Excellency has treated me with great injustice. I regret it the more deeply not because I myself am likely to be permanently injured, but because the precision–a precision wearing almost the appearance of design–with which a false inference of a general character is conveyed and sought to be confirmed by statements which are true only in a particular and limited sense, must have a tendency to injure his Excellency, by fostering in the minds of many in this community a sentiment, which, I am sorry to say, is daily becoming more prevalent–that in framing despatches to the Secretary of State, his Excellency is influenced more by his views of expediency than by a simple love of truth.”He trusted that the Governor would “undeceive Earl Grey,”and apprise him that as regarded the Protectors the charges were “unfounded and unjust.”It is because even Governor Grey's friends could not commend the style of some of his despatches, and rumours such as those alluded to by Mr. Forsaith were widely spread, that it has been necessary to narrate this occurrence. The Governor regretted that “the officers (who signed the documents transmitted to England) had “fallen into the mistake,”and “in the fullest and most complete sense”accepted the denial of the circumstance as far as Mr. Forsaith was concerned. Mr. Forsaith was not satisfied with an apology which left his late colleagues under a stigma. He obtained from the two persons who had furnished the inculpatory documents (sent to Earl Grey) written statements asserting absolutely that they never knew any Protector to act as private agent in the manner imputed, and he enclosed them in a letter from himself to Earl Grey, which the Governor forwarded, and which was laid before Parliament. Mr. Forsaith was determined that the “simple truth”should in this case be told in his own words rather than in the disingenuous style which public opinion charged upon the Governor. The Governor in this instance admitted his error, as regarded Mr. Forsaith, and requested Earl Grey “to give as extensive publicity to the correction as was given to the error page 501 itself,”but, as he did not confess any regret at the sweeping charges of the former despatch, and declined “to alter the views expressed”in it, he justified Mr. Forsaith's pertinacity, and confirmed the sentiment of which Mr. Forsaith regretted the prevalence.
We now approach a subject in which to secure, apparently, the goodwill of rapacious settlers at Taranaki, the Governor acted with mingled boldness, disingenuousness, and injustice towards Te Rangitake, the loyal friend whose authority was believed, if not known, to have saved Wellington from destruction in 1843. It will be remembered that, advised by those who understood the subject, Governor Fitzroy disallowed, as he had power to do, Mr. Spain's erroneous award at Taranaki. Had Governor Grey boldly adhered to Fitzroy's decision, it is possible that he might have precluded the war plunged into by another Governor in 1860. But he was smitten by a desire to distinguish his diplomacy in a difficult position. He was too well acquainted with Maori usages to imitate Spain's error by denying the abstract rights of the Ngatiawa absentees, of returning fugitives, and manumitted slaves. He would have forfeited respect among the great Maori chiefs who were his friends if he had openly denied them. Te Rangitake had been his effective supporter in the campaign against Rangihaeata in 1846, and it would have seemed black ingratitude to repay him by resisting the resumption of his rights, whether tribal or as a chief, at his ancestral domains. Like his father, Te Rangitake had migrated southwards before the great defeat of the Ngatiawa at Pukerangiora in 1831 by Te Whero Whero, and it could not be alleged that his “mana”or position was tarnished by personal overthrow. It had been known from first to last that it was his settled resolve to return to the land of his fathers. The Governor determined to counteract by diplomacy what it would have been dangerous to deny openly. Unfortunately, Mr. Gladstone in July, 1846, tempted him by writing: “I indulge the hope that you may have found yourself in a condition to give effect to the award of Mr. Spain at Taranaki;… unless indeed, which I can hardly think probable, you may have seen reason to believe that the reversal of the Commissioner's judgment was a wise and just measure.”Thus tempted page 502 by his casuistical superior, while Rangihaeata was still at large, and Rauparaha was kept prisoner, and before the wounding of a chief preceded the Wanganui war, the Governor went to Taranaki in March, 1847, to dispose of the land disputes. He found that many of Te Rangitake's friends had preceded that chief, and they informed him that they would adhere to their hereditary tribal rights. Te Rangitake himself went with Grey, and has been accused of insolently insisting that he would return to his ancestral lands, and settle wheresoever he listed. In an evil moment Grey endeavoured to refine upon Captain Fitzroy's plain determination to respect the Ngatiawa rights. Referring to the decision by which Fitzroy had bought, and limited the claim of the settlers to, 3500 acres, he said: “I do not understand, nor can I think, that he intended that the original purchase (of the company) should be set aside in as far as those natives were concerned who had originally sold their land in a bonâ fide manner, and received payment for it.”He must have known that the collective Maori ownership rendered it impossible for the natives with whom Barrett negotiated in 1840, to compromise the claims of the large majority whom Barrett did not see. He admitted that “the majority of the natives”he himself saw at Taranaki declared that they “would not upon any terms permit the Europeans to move beyond the block of 3500 acres.”He told them that they had lands at Cook's Straits, and had in many cases suffered their rights to lapse by non-assertion; but, as was natural, they were deaf to arguments which were inconsistent with their own law, and were therefore barred by the treaty of Waitangi. One settler occupied fifty acres outside of the boundary fixed by Fitzroy. Him they would not disturb if proper compensation should be made. Asking how many persons were entitled to it, Grey was told that they were 200. “In fact it is quite clear that relying upon their great numerical superiority they had determined to allow no more Europeans to come amongst them.”The settlers complained of the overbearing conduct of the Maoris. “I thought it proper therefore to assume a high tone, and to acquaint them that I intended ultimately to carry out the arrangement, the terms of which I would acquaint them with.”The ineptitude of his plans ought to have been clear to himself, for he wrote page 503 that the inability of the Maoris to adjust their own claims, “makes them unwilling to allow the land to be sold at all, and they constantly assert that those natives who wish to sell land have no right to dispose of it.”It can hardly be imagined that the Governor was ignorant of the nature of the tribal right which justified the Maori assertion, yet on no other ground could his conduct be defended. But he resolved, rightly or wrongly, to make his will prevail. He informed the chiefs that he would make “most ample reserves for their present and future wants”–even of those having an animus redeundi –but that the remaining portion of the “country in that district should be resumed for the Crown and for the use of the Europeans.”He would appoint a Commissioner to assess the value of the wild lands, and a Court to inquire into the native titles, so that “those natives who established valid claims”should receive corresponding payment.
On the 5th March, 1847, Grey instructed Donald McLean, the Commissioner, “to make every effort to acquire for the European population”the whole of the land included in Mr. Spain's award, which Fitzroy had set aside. McLean was also to carry out the proposals sent to the Secretary of State by Grey, in order “to evade in as far as practicable the difficulties”caused by the fact that the Europeans clung to Spain's proposition, and the Maoris trusted to the Waitangi treaty and Fitzroy's decision. No time was to be lost. It was felt but not expressed that Te Rangitake might return, and his influence might defeat the project. The Government possessed a letter from him to Fitzroy in 1844, saying: “Waitara shall not be given up. Friend Governor, do you not love your land—England, the land of your fathers,—as we also love our land at Waitara ?”When Grey had returned to Auckland, he wrote (27th April, 1847) urgently to Wellington. He heard that E Puni, always friendly to the English, was “putting together nine large canoes capable of holding about sixty persons each.”He considered it of the utmost importance “that the Ngatiawa tribe should not be allowed to proceed for the present”to Taranaki. E Puni must be asked to dismantle the canoes. If he should refuse there would be ground for suspicion; “the canoes should be seized by the Government, page 505 and either be retained in their possession until the land question at Taranaki is settled, or be destroyed, as may be thought most advisable.”
Major Richmond, superintendent of the southern division, communicated with Captain Laye in order to arrest the remigration. McLean laboured at his task. Major Richmond met Te Rangitake at Waikanae, in July, 1847. The chief said he intended to remain at Waitara, but “repudiated the idea of doing so by stealth or before consulting the Governor…”The Ngatiawa tribe had always been friendly to the Europeans, and desired to remain so. He and his brethren offered to sell their Waikanae possessions to the Government. On this hint the Governor offered fresh terms. If the Ngatiawa residing on the south bank of the Waitara river would within three years remove to the north bank, and Te Rangitake and his friends would agree to settle on the north of the river, he would recognize their titles there (although in Spain's reversed award land on the north was included as the company's property) without further inquiry, and would consent to purchase the proffered Waikanae lands “for such compensation as may be agreed upon.”All pretensions to land on the south of the Waitara were to be relinquished by the tribe. McLean adopted the Governor's views. He seems to have been unable to comprehend the Maori law of postliminium, and had probably never heard of its Roman precursor. Yet in 1844, the chief Protector, Clarke, furnished a list of many instances to assure Captain Fitzroy that the return of natives “from captivity replaced them in the position they held before their captivity.”McLean was therefore without excuse when he declared before the House of Representatives “that the Ngatiawa title had been superseded by the right of the conquerors.”Moreover, almost in the same breath he admitted that some returning Ngatiawa sold lands at Taranaki, sending a portion of the price to the Waikato tribe as a tribute to their “mana.”Nay, more,— a deed negotiated by McLean in April, 1848, purported to convey the rights of certain absentee natives to the Fitzroy and Grey blocks at Taranaki, and proved that at that date neither McLean nor the Governor denied the rights of absentees. Te Rangitake did not accept the new proposals. The Government page 506 purchased for about £390 what was called the Grey block of nearly 10,000 acres at Taranaki, before McLean, hearing that the chief was in earnest, saw him at Kapiti, and told him that Waitara was under offer to the Government. McLean's account (years afterwards) was that Te Rangitake said, “‘Let me return thither and I will then consider the matter. When I get there one side of the river shall be yours, and the north side mine, whence I can look out for the Waikatos in case that tribe should meditate an attack upon us…’ He was allowed to locate himself at Waitara, and nothing was said about the land: there was no attempt to press the matter hastily. He returned with his people: the sanction of the Governor to his doing so had been given, though the act was on his part intended as one of defiance.”Te Rangitake denied the accuracy of McLean's story, and it is inconsistent with the chief's letter to Fitzroy in 1844, with numerous other letters written by him, and with his plain statements on the spot to Grey and to McLean in 1847. Another witness confirmed McLean's statement that it was not by submission that Te Rangitake returned. Mr. F. D. Bell declared in the House of Representatives (1860): “At one of the meetings Te Rangitake declared the intention of himself and his people to return to Waitara. Sir George Grey refused to grant them permission to do so, and Te Rangitake said he should return without it, and defied the Governor to prevent him.”The return took place in April, 1848. McLean reported it officially. Some chiefs rode through the forest. Forty-nine canoes were employed. Five hundred and eighty-seven souls were thus settled. Two hundred and eleven went to the north of the Waitara. Two hundred and sixty-four settled at Waitara. Forty-one fixed themselves between Waitara and the town of Taranaki; and seventy-one at the south side of the town. It may be feared that Grey who, to prevent Te Rangitake's return in 1847, ordered the unlawful destruction of canoes, would in 1848 have resorted to violence if he had not been wincing under the arguments of the Bishop and the Chief Justice, about Earl Grey's Instructions, and if he had not suspected that as the Waikato tribes consented to the return of the Ngatiawa he would offend his most powerful Maori friends by wronging their countryman who had been his trusted and useful ally. The page 507 Governor could not afford to be in arms against the Bishop, the Chief Justice, and every notable chief. If Te Whero Whero should side with Te Rangitake, and Waka Nene should adhere to Te Whero Whero, the Government would be friendless.
1 P. P. 1860. Vol. xlvii. p. 342. Clarke wrote: “Again, the titles of tribes about Port Nicholson cannot be wholly extinct if they have kept up a friendly intercourse with the residents… A tribe never ceases to maintain their title to the lands of their fathers, nor could a purchase be complete and valid without the consent of the original proprietors. . Possession of land even for a number of years does not give a right to alienate such property to Europeans without consent of the original donors of the land; but it may be continued in the possession of the descendants of the grantee to the latest generation.”Asserting that these views did not differ materially from his own, McLean connived at a war based upon an utter disregard of them. Having been employed at Taranaki, in 1844, by Governor Fitzroy, and having then reported the contentment produced by Fitzroy's recognition of the rights of absentees with which McLean concurred, McLean was without excuse for the breach of faith which he was willing to commit in 1848, and which he supported in 1859.
1 In 1864 the pictures were discovered in good preservation when General Cameron sacked the Rangiaohia Maori settlement.
It was not only by founding schools and hospitals that the Governor strove to convince the Maoris of his goodwill. He obtained Earl Grey's sanction for a loan to a chief to enable him to buy a coasting vessel, and the loan was repaid. He kept scrupulous faith with those whom he employed in making military roads, a policy which he strongly urged, and which the great Duke of Wellington impressed on the Ministry as one of the first objects to be aimed at. Cruisers actively stopped the trade in fire-arms. Commander Sotheby, of H.M.S. ‘Racehorse,’ seized a Hobart Town barque, but found no more than a due complement of arms on board. The master was then tried and fined £100 (or three months' imprisonment) for bartering a musket to a native for a pig (the barque being forfeited), and was further fined £100 (or three months' imprisonment) for leaving the port without a clearance, and still further fined £100 for threatening the harbour-master. The Governor's legislation and Sotheby's activity rendered ships on the coast precarious property unless in submissive hands. The Governor had almost a blank charter. Troops and ships had been sent to him. Parliamentary grants were freely given. In 1847, £57,000 were expended, but as the local revenue increased the amount of the grant was diminished.
1 ‘Our Antipodes.’
In October, 1848, the throb of an earthquake vibrated from page 512 Taranaki to Wellington and from Nelson to Cloudy Bay. Wellington was the point of severest concussion, and only four brick buildings escaped damage. Clay buildings were equally unfortunate, while wooden structures were uninjured, although for a fortnight the pent forces of the disturbing power made the earth tremble. Lieutenant-Governor Eyre detained the vessels in the harbour in order to reassure the terrified townsmen and to provide means of flight from the devoted spot. The earthquake afforded a pretext for action at the south, without extending changes to the northern districts. Suddenly Grey summoned his Council on the 16th November. Prompt and energetic measures were needed at Wellington to remedy its disasters. He could not withdraw Mr. Eyre or others from their pressing duties at Wellington, therefore he resorted to his advisers at Auckland. He proposed to call into existence Provincial Legislative Councils for each of the provinces into which New Zealand might be divided; the Suspending Act of 1848 having empowered the Governor-in-chief to take such a step with advice of his Legislative Council. With powers thus obtained the Provincial Legislature of New Munster would be able “to meet the urgent demands of the present crisis.”Such pressure from above and from below disarmed debate. On the 18th November, 1848, he had passed his measure. On the 26th he arrived at Wellington, and reported on the following day that the alarm created by the earthquake had subsided, and the prospects of the settlement were unendangered. On the 29th he transmitted, for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure thereon, his “Ordinance to provide for the establishment of Provincial Legislative Councils.”He explained his views at great length. He wished to modify the existing form of government in anticipation of the time when the Act suspending the Constitution of 1846 would, by its own expiry, give life to the one it had suspended. But New Zealand should defray her own expenses before receiving representative institutions. He gave an outline of the form of government he desired to establish. A General Assembly, consisting of a Legislative Council nominated by the Crown and an Assembly elected in the several provinces; unicameral Provincial Councils, of which one-third should be nominated by the Crown and two-thirds page 513 elected; municipal corporations; a £10 burgess and £5 rural suffrage (annual value in each case) for Europeans who could read and write; a suffrage for Maoris owning property of £200 value or holding a certificate from the Governor-General,—were among his proposals. To the Provincial Legislatures he would not give power to legislate on subjects affecting the Maoris or Crown lands. He was confident and prompt. On the 19th December he appointed, subject to approval of the Crown, six gentlemen as members of the Legislative Council of New Munster; on the 21st he addressed the new body; on the following day they solicited further information as to the introduction of representative government; on the 23rd he informed them of the recommendations he had made to the home Government; and three days later the Council expressed their thorough satisfaction, having no suggestion to make except that the Crown nominees in Provincial Legislative Councils should not exceed five. When apprising Earl Grey of these events the Governor urged that self-support should precede representative government, the craving for the latter being useful as a lever to bring about the former. “Should Her Majesty's Government think proper to declare that a representative government should be introduced into this colony at the period named, or at an earlier date, either throughout the whole colony or in any such province or provinces as may be proclaimed by the Governor-in-chief, I would neither shrink from the responsibility of declining to introduce such institutions into any province until I believe they can be safely conferred upon it; nor will I, on the other hand, for a single day unnecessarily delay obtaining for the inhabitants of the colony a boon which I am most anxious to see conferred upon them.”
In March, 1849, he wrote that the population of the Northern Island was—near Wellington, 1500 male adults, besides 1793 military; in Northern districts, 1657 male adults, besides 1155 military. There were 105,000 Maoris, of whom a large proportion were capable of bearing arms. In July, 1849, he forwarded lengthy arguments. There was no analogy in a military sense between Maoris and American Indians. In skill and perseverance the former were infinitely superior, and for warfare in their native land better equipped than the English.page 514
They moved with rapidity and secrecy impossible for Europeans, who, in the absence of roads, could travel but few miles into the interior. Finding that their pahs could be destroyed they had abandoned the idea of constructing them, lived in scattered villages near their cultivations, and, being able to quit them readily they presented no vulnerable point. “To assist in anything which might be regarded as a national war there can be little doubt that almost every village would pour forth its chiefs and its population.”But nearly all Maoris had become Christian. “They are fond of agriculture, take great pleasure in cattle and horses; like the sea, and form good sailors; are attached to Europeans, admire their customs and manners; are extremely ambitious of rising in civilization, and of becoming skilled in European arts. They are apt at learning; in many respects extremely conscientious and observant of their word; are ambitious of honours, and are probably the most covetous race in the world. They are also agreeable in manners, and attachments of a lasting character readily and frequently spring up between them and Europeans.”War with such a race was to be avoided: an unnecessary war would be costly. “During a considerable period any signal failure in an operation which had been entered upon would have led to a simultaneous and almost general rising, the effects and cost of which may be easily conceived.”Mercy, justice, and prudence counselled delay as the rule on which the Government should act. Before Grey arrived there had been 57 English killed and 114 wounded. Subsequently there had been 28 English killed and 53 wounded. The skilful employment of allied Maoris had diminished the European death-rate.
The missionaries had worked wonders. It was questionable whether at any period of the world there had been before a body so eminently qualified by piety, ability, and zeal for their office. Instructed by them “probably a greater proportion of the population than in any country in Europe were able to read and write,”and schools had been established by the Government. The local government had been upbraided for postponing elective institutions, but “looking to the peculiar condition and population of the country it was better to err on the side of prudence than incur the risk of the fearful evils which would page 515 ensue from another rebellion for the sake of acquiring one or two years earlier that which must certainly within so short a period be obtained.”
Meantime irresponsible colonists denounced the Governor's tactics. From Nelson Mr. E. W. Stafford and eight others, four of whom were magistrates, sent a complaint to Earl Grey. The “temporary absolutism”of the Governor must be put an end to. The right of self-government was inherent in a community of Englishmen. As for the nominees of the Crown in the Council at New Munster, many of them would not have been freely elected as representatives by the memorialists, who scorned to be governed by them in any other way. In 1849, a Settlers' Constitutional Association was formed at Wellington. Mr. Fitzherbert, Mr. Fox, Dr. Featherston, Mr. Weld, Captain Daniel, and others, carried resolutions, arguing at great length against the Governor's conduct. They declared that, “if, with every despatch received from Earl Grey the Governor had received one from his Lordship's political adversaries, and putting the former into the fire had carried out the instructions of the latter, some clue might be found to the course pursued by him.”They charged him with hollowness and insincerity in his “skilfully-written despatches.”They thought his aversion from representative institutions due to his fear lest his “fallacies and misrepresentations”should be dragged into light. He—satisfied that he would “not be expected to notice the personal attacks made upon himself, the Government, and the Legislative Council”at Wellington—coolly dealt with the statements of the association concerning constitutional questions, and maintained his own views with apparent good temper. The insinuation that the Governor had persistently thrown aside Earl Grey's Instructions did not incense the Earl, who, in 1850, replied: “I have seen nothing to diminish in the slightest degree the confidence which my experience of your past conduct, and the results of your administration, both of your former and your present government, lead me to repose in you.”
1 It was at this period that Mr. Godley arrived in Wellington. With fervour he joined the malcontents at meetings and in letters. He upbraided Dr. Monro as having “by accepting a seat at Sir George Grey's Council-Board, contributed towards the infliction of a most serious and irreparable injury upon the colonists of New Zealand. Through your means Sir George was enabled to carry out his anti-colonial policy.”The nominees were “undoubtedly the puppets and obedient servants of the Governor”(Published letter, Godley to Monro).
From Auckland a long and violent impeachment of the Governor was authenticated by 168 signatures. He forwarded it with comments. He disposed of the personal charges against him by referring to a memorial more numerously signed some time before, in which the complainants were termed “penny-an-acre claimants,”deeply interested in their illegal and monster purchases. Earl Grey applauded him. In the work which he published in 1853 he extolled the ability of the Governor. The slightest error in judgment, or defect of prudence, firmness, or decision on his part, would, Earl Grey wrote, have converted the war of 1845 into a mortal struggle which, “once commenced, could hardly have been closed except by our abandonment of the islands in disgrace, or the extermination of the aboriginal inhabitants.”The Governor's most notable triumph was perhaps the paralyzing of Earl Grey's effort to wreak into action the hostility of the friends of the New Zealand Company to the treaty of Waitangi. Earl Grey claimed for the Russell Ministry the humble credit of supporting the Governor's policy to the utmost of their power. In 1876 the slow foot of time enabled the Governor to produce proof that the chairman of the public meeting at Auckland did in 1859 write a letter apologizing for having in 1849, as chairman, signed a letter which was unjust, and contained “assertions made for no other purpose than to give personal annoyance.”
The principles of Wakefield's colonization scheme having been applied nowhere thoroughly, the evils against which it was aimed were felt everywhere. Mr. Fox, the acting principal agent of the New Zealand Company in the colony, in a long despatch (November, 1848), enumerated the evils arising from the transfer of labourers into the position of employers, and the consequent general depression. He proposed to abolish free passages and enforce repayment by each immigrant of the cost of his emigration. Thus he hoped to keep up a continuous page 519 stream of immigration. He had not grasped the key of Wake-field's position, which was not the creation of a land and immigration fund, but the application of the land itself to the most wholesome purposes, and the establishment of a prosperous and moral community, applying its energies in wholesome channels. In his confusion he seemed to find himself at war with Gibbon Wakefield. He pleaded that he had entire faith in the principles of his master, and hoped he might not be accused of impugning “the soundness of the principles of systematic colonization first developed”by Wakefield, and adopted by the New Zealand Company. The Company in London urged Earl Grey to adopt Mr. Fox's suggestion generally. They saw that a provision confined to New Zealand might operate as a deterrent to local immigration, and serve to divert labour to other colonies. Earl Grey said Mr. Fox's scheme had so often been tried and so often failed that he could not concur with it. He suggested that a tax might be put upon all employers of labour. Disloyal to Wakefield's idea, which would in a straightforward manner fix labour in the most wholesome sphere, he indirectly strove to satisfy Wakefield's disciples by putting a tax on employment of labour in every sphere. He seemed to think that the best method of promoting useful industries was to tax them. The colonists who were recommended to make such an experiment shrunk from it. They recoiled with equal determination from Earl Grey's advice that convicts should still be sent to Australia, and that England was “perfectly justified in continuing”to send them thither.
The pollution of the transportation system was dreaded in New Zealand by colonists and by Maoris. More than 300 of the latter at Cook's Straits thus addressed the Queen, in 1849:
“O Lady, O Queen,
“… A rumour has reached us that exiles or prisoners are about to be sent hither.… We earnestly supplicate that prisoners may not be allowed to come here.… We have long since heard of the evil propensities of that class of men from those of the white people here who are our friends, as well as from the testimony of those our countrymen who have visited Port Jackson and Hobart Town…”page 520
Three hundred and seventy-six chiefs near Auckland sent their prayers to the Queen:
“Salutation to you.… Behold, we have heard that a letter has been received from one of your counsellors, from Earl Grey, dated the 3rd day of August, 1848, proposing to allow exiles to live in this island. Behold, we say, let not this be done ! Do not depart from the agreement was first made that this country should be settled by your people.… It was then promised that thieves and such people should not be conveyed hither. Let this be adhered to as well as all our laws. O lady ! we shall be perplexed if the convicts are allowed to come here.… Abandon that thought. Rather let gentlemen, men of peaceful life, come here. We like such men.…”
Settlers at Auckland prayed that New Zealand might be spared the infliction contemplated. The grand jury at New Munster made a presentment of similar import. A public meeting at Wellington was of the same mind. Lieutenant-Governor Eyre and his Legislative Council remonstrated against Earl Grey's scheme. Governor Grey urged in May, 1849, that no country was less adapted for such an experiment. “I beg therefore to recommend your Lordship not to include New Zealand in those places into which convicts with tickets-of-leave are to be introduced.”The advice was taken. Earl Grey (1849) informed the Governor that he concurred with his reasoning, and that “Her Majesty would not be advised to send convicts to New Zealand.”The convict question was by common consent banished from New Zealand; but constitutional changes were urged with vigour by many of the principal settlers connected with the New Zealand Company.
The Governor followed his own course steadily. In 1848 and 1849 he resisted the pressure brought upon him, although he hoped to introduce in due time the principle of representation in the Government. In November, 1849, he told Earl Grey that in 1851 it might be put to trial. In October, 1850, noticing that Lord John Russell had commended his opinion to Parliament, the Governor prepared an Ordinance to carry his views into effect, by establishing Provincial Legislative Councils in which some members were to be elective. The franchise was to be given to the Maoris, in common with the Europeans, by enabling page 521 the Governor to constitute convenient electoral districts, which were to be only those in which the white population abounded. All outside of such boundaries were to have no votes. Leasehold of a fixed annual value as well as freehold was to confer a vote, and there were to be nominee members. The necessity of retaining power in the hands of the Crown had become an article of faith with the Governor. The nominee members were to be appointed for two years only. The Governor-in-chief was to have power to disallow Ordinances, or to reserve them for the royal pleasure. Some settlers loathed the idea of a Maori franchise.
Mr. Stafford and others at Nelson passed resolutions. They provided that no alien should vote, and required universal suffrage and vote by ballot. They told Earl Grey that they claimed this suffrage as a right they were “perfectly fitted to possess.”They descanted on the abstract principles of the ballot. Auckland was too remote from them, and if they could not have a central Executive Government they demanded “complete separation, legislative, executive, and financial,”of the provinces. They would have two elected Houses, and the Governor should be removable on address of two-thirds of each House. Their demands excited local dissent. A counter-memorial, signed by 161 Nelson colonists, was sent to Sir G. Grey. They thought universal suffrage an improper manner of seeking for the enlightened opinions of a community; they did not approve of the ballot. They saw grave objections to the creation of a local machinery for the removal of the Queen's representative. Among the objectors was Dr. Monro.
At Wellington the Governor's Ordinance was denounced. Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Clifford, Mr. Fox, Mr. Dorset, Captain Daniell and others, proposed that a General Council should be formed from the chief executive officers and persons selected “by the Governor from individuals chosen by a public meeting in each settlement.”They appointed Mr. Fox, who was on the eve of departure to England, “political agent for the Wellington settlers.”In their memorial to Earl Grey they eulogized Sir William Molesworth's speeches in Parliament on colonial reform. The settlers in the valley of the Hutt promptly disavowed all sympathy with the Wellington projects. As at Nelson, so at Wellington, an earnest page 522 protest against the proceedings of the majority was sent by a minority, who in two days procured 229 signatures. They thought it unjust to deny all political privileges to the Maoris, and traversed many of the allegations of the friends of Mr. Fox, whose employment as principal agent for the company precluded him from advocating the interests of the settlers, with regard to “the burdens to be imposed upon the colony in consequence of the dissolution of the company.”The Governor was willing to confer representation when the time might in his opinion be suitable. He dreaded the assumption of supremacy by the minions of the late company over the land and its inhabitants. He knew the powerful agency they could bring to bear in England. But the tide of events betokened that Imperial legislation was at hand. A report of a Committee of the Privy Council on the Australian Constitutions had in 1849 established a precedent unfavourable to Governor Grey. Reluctantly, in deference to opinion in New South Wales, preference of two Chambers was waived, and single Chambers on the basis established in 1842, were recommended. Breaking down in its attempt to legislate on these recommendations, Parliament nevertheless passed in 1850 the Australian Constitution Act (13 and 14 Vict. cap. 59). It was plain that New Zealand would be dealt with, and it was fortunate for Grey that all parties in Parliament were deaf to his detractors.
Though not originally a servant of the New Zealand Company, Mr. Fox was as enthusiastic as any of its minions. When informed that the charter was to be surrendered, he concurred in the wisdom of the decision, but could not refrain from declaring that public gratitude was due to the company for having “created the colony of New Zealand, rescuing it from a foreign dominion which hovered over it, and compelling the home Government to retake possession of one of its most important dependencies, which had by the acts of that Government been abandoned on a plea of philanthropy to a small body of savages, from whom a more sagacious and perhaps less scrupulous European power stood ready to wrest it.”Before leaving the colony, Mr. Fox was engaged in altercation with the Government as to conveyances of land and the surrender of original plans and registers.1
1 An order for their surrender was eventually obtained from England.
These occurrences did not soothe the ill-temper with which Mr. Fox, in common with others, looked upon the policy which regarded as sacred a treaty made by the Queen with “a small body of savages.”He left New Zealand on the 10th February, 1851, and speedily sought for an interview in which to denounce Sir G. Grey to the Secretary of State. Earl Grey declined to recognize Mr. Fox as agent for the settlers, and as he could not accord an interview “without great inconvenience,”asked for a statement in writing. Fox arraigned the Governor for wanting to force on the colonists an odious form of government; acting illegally; injuriously if not unlawfully tampering with the currency; managing the Maoris injudiciously; taxing the colonists excessively; spending their money wastefully; loading them with debt; and not establishing a militia to enable them to defend themselves. Earl Grey simply acknowledged the indictment with its lengthy enclosures.1 He received at that time equally elaborate statements from the Governor as to details of the Constitution to be conferred on New Zealand. But Earl Grey was not destined to reply. He was about to vacate office. He sent, however, to the Governor a draft despatch, which he had been about to authorize, and enclosed the heads of a Bill for the Government of New Zealand, which he had prepared for submission to Parliament. For the most part, he said, he had adopted the Governor's recommendations.
1 Mr. Fox's complaints were not confined to the Governor. He railed in 1852 against Mr. F. Dillon Bell in such terms that Mr. Bell demanded and obtained from Mr. Harington, the Secretary of the dying New Zealand Company, an acknowledgment that their confidence in Mr. Bell's “fidelity, integrity, and zeal”were unabated when he left their service (P. P. 1854. Vol. xlv. p. 392). The Governor, in transmitting Mr. Bell's reply to Fox's imputations, curtly said, that if the attack were published so should the defence be. The charges made by Mr. Fox against the Governor were issued in form of a pamphlet “for private circulation only.”
By the Imperial statute 10 and 11 Vict. cap. 112 (1847), certain payments to the company from the land fund had been guaranteed as a first charge, after cost of survey and immigration. The amount was undefined in the statute, and Earl Grey when in office had fixed it at five shillings per acre, or equivalent to one-fourth of the gross proceeds. Sir John Pakington provided in his Bill that one-fourth of the gross proceeds should be paid over to liquidate the debt of £268,000. Sir W. Molesworth proposed to retain the vague provisions of the existing statute, and page 525 to debar local legislation in New Zealand from altering them He arraigned the company for deceiving the Government. They had taken a legal opinion from their standing counsel as to their liabilities at Nelson. The opinion was adverse. They had concealed it. They had taken a second one from another person, which was favourable. They had promulgated it. Nay, more. Warned by their own counsel that, having failed to perform their contracts, they might be liable to refund all the money they had received from purchasers, with interest and charges, they had told Earl Grey that their own conviction was strengthened by eminent counsel that they had fulfilled their contracts, and any unascertained balances (over and above £25,000 of trust-money) could only be trifling. Yet they had received more than £160,000 from their disputing settlers.
Mr. Aglionby defended the conduct of the company in concealing the adverse opinion of their own counsel, and declared that Earl Grey was made cognizant of the two opinions, and gave his sanction to the promulgation of the one which seemed to the company correct. The speaker might damage Earl Grey by such a course, but could hardly benefit his clients. It is fair to Earl Grey to state that when asking the Governor to arbitrate between the company and the settlers, he warned him (23rd March, 1848) that counsel of ability in England had affirmed the legal validity of the settlers' claims. Sir John Pakington persuaded the House to retain in the Bill before them the settlement arrived at by Earl Grey. Mr. Gladstone vainly opposed the plan as too favourable to the company. The House affirmed it. Mr. Mangles, one of the Directors, pointed out that Sir William Molesworth's attack involved his own deceased friend Buller, who had conducted the negotiations in 1847, and that a man who threw dirt on a deceased friend could not be expected to be fair to living enemies. Sir William Moles-worth, he said, had deserted the company in their difficulties in 1843.1
1 Mr. Fox assured Sir William Molesworth (‘Hansard,’ vol. cxxii. p. 442) that both Colonel Wakefield and himself were deceived as to the legal opinion, and would never have made use of the opinion on the spot, as they did, unless they had been beguiled!
Before the Earl of Derby, Earl Grey did not plot against the treaty of Waitangi. The constitution of the Upper Chamber, the vote of the Governor upon provincial measures, the election of provincial superintendents, and the hypothecation of the land fund to reimburse the company, were the main points discussed by Lord Lyttleton, the Duke of Newcastle, and Earl Grey. All were ready to accept the Bill rather than incur delay. In Committee the Duke of Newcastle moved amendments upon the formation of the Upper House, the veto, and the compensation clauses, but was defeated. Memorable words fell from Lord Derby. Earl Grey had sneered at Pitt's failure to create an hereditary order (by the Canada Act of 1791) from which an Upper Chamber might be formed. “Parliament,”he said, “could no more create a House of Lords than it could create a full-grown oak.”The phrase was as unhappy as flippant. By the sowing of acorns full-grown oak trees are produced in due time; and respect for distinctions is as general in the human mind as is the genial productiveness of the earth. Lord Derby, actuated by no ignoble jealousy, thought that not in his day, nor for some time, could the constitution of the mother country be reproduced in New Zealand. “Yet he did hope that there would arise a class possessing large property, out of whom might be taken those who would represent the aristocratic element in the colony; who would (as life-nominees in the Legislature) exercise a great deal of influence both on the popular will on the one hand, and on the will of the Governor on the other; and that influence would go on extending and increasing as the aristocratic element developed itself, until it might ultimately approximate to the principles of the British Constitution.”Alas! no Minister, since the days of Pitt,1 has endeavoured to plant the acorn, and the clumsy oratorical ineptitude of Earl Grey stands as a maxim for those whom the attempt and not the deed confounds.
1 Pitt persuaded Parliament, but subsequent obstruction thwarted him. Lord Stanhope says: “Though the Bill did enable the Sovereign to grant hereditary honours in the Province of Canada, not one such hereditary honour was in fact conferred”(‘Life of Pitt,’ vol. ii. p. 91).
Few of the 82 clauses of the Act referred directly to the Maoris. Nevertheless, Lord Derby, warned by the nefarious conduct of the New Zealand Company, which he had repressed in the past, provided safeguards which might enable the Crown to keep the faith so often plighted by Governors, by Secretaries of State, and by the Queen herself, to whom no slanderer could impute insincerity, and who was an object of affectionate veneration by the most sagacious of the Maori chiefs. The 19th clause barred the Provincial Councils from making laws “affecting lands of the Crown or lands to which the title of the aboriginal native owners has never been extinguished,”and from “inflicting any disabilities or restrictions on persons of the native race to which persons of European birth or descent would not also be subjected.”Other clauses empowered the Governor to disallow Provincial Bills, and to refuse assent to, or to reserve for Her Majesty's pleasure, Bills passed in the General Assembly, or to make amendments in such Bills for the consideration of the two Houses. The function of instructing the Governor was specially reserved for the Crown, as was also the power of disallowing Bills “at any time within two years”after their reception by the Secretary of State. The Governor was authorized to pay from the Crown lands revenue any sums payable “on account of the purchase of land from aboriginal natives, or the release or extinguishment of their rights in any land.”The 71st clause provided that “whereas it may be expedient that the laws, customs, and usages of the (Maoris), so far as they are not repugnant to the general principles of humanity, should for the present be maintained for the government of themselves in all their relations to and dealings with each other, and that particular districts should be set apart within which such laws, customs, or usages should be so observed, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty (by Letters Patent) from time to time to make provision for the purposes aforesaid, any repugnancy (of such laws, &c.) to the law of England, or to any law, statute, or usage in force in New Zealand, or any part thereof, in anywise notwithstanding.”The 73rd clause barred any person, “other than Her Majesty, … to purchase, or in anywise acquire or accept from the (Maoris), land of or belonging to or used or occupied by them page 528 in common as tribes or communities, or to accept any release or extinguishment of (their) rights in any such land as aforesaid.”Any conveyance or transfer or agreement for conveyance or transfer in violation of this provision was to be absolutely void. The 79th clause distinctly enabled the Crown to delegate to the Governor by Letters Patent, the powers reserved as to the “preservation of aboriginal laws, customs, and usages.”There was nothing in the Act1 which derogated from the right, or diminished the duty, of the Crown to be loyal to the treaty of Waitangi. There was nothing in it to sanction or condone the disloyalty which it will be seen was displayed afterwards by various Secretaries of State.
1 15 and 16 Vict. cap. 72.
1 An amusing application is to be found in the House of Commons' Papers, 1854, vol. xlv. p. 126. A Mr. Bruce having bought an allotment, fifty-three feet by eighty-seven, in 1843, at Akaroa from the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, discovered, in 1852, that he had paid at the rate of £500 an acre for it. The Canterbury Association, he said, were depreciating his property by selling at £3 an acre. He demanded compensation, and begged to be informed to whom he was to apply for it. Sir George Grey gravely informed him that having no instructions upon such cases he could only transmit the application to the Secretary of State. The Duke of Newcastle with equal gravity referred Sir George Grey to a despatch of Sir John Pakington's, which stated that on a certain case he was unable to form an opinion from the papers before him, though from these he could see no reason to suppose there was a grievance calling for interference.
Earth-hunger knows no restraint of reason. A chorus of satisfaction arose. Liberation from a high price was the burden of the song. Thanks poured in to the Governor from Auckland, Taranaki, Wanganui, Hawke's Bay, the Hutt, and even from some persons at Wellington. But at the latter place there was one man indisposed to see settlements destroyed by a proclamation. Gibbon Wakefield had arrived there. He caused a case to be brought before the Supreme Court, and a Judge pronounced against Grey's proclamation. The Governor disregarded the judgment, and was supported in England. But an opening was left for the exercise of local control in certain places. The Governor was instructed in July, 1853, to maintain the land regulations of Otago, until the General Assembly should otherwise enact. In reporting his proceedings, Grey did not scruple to assert that the power to deal with the upset price was needed under the peculiar circumstances of the colony. Labourers had already been attracted by the gold of California, and the fresh fields of Australia were a nearer and more potent magnet. Gold had been found in New Zealand at Coromandel, but in small quantities. Still it was hoped that the revenue at Auckland, which had declined in consequence of emigration, would revive with returning gold-seekers. Grey told Sir J. Pakington that the power to deal with the land enabled him to solve a most perplexing class of social and political problems which had been springing into existence.
1 Fractions are omitted.
1 The various addresses presented were printed in a volume containing nearly 200 pages. ‘Maori Mementos, being a Series of Addresses,’ &c. C. O. B. Davis, Translator and Interpreter to the General Government. Auckland, 1855.
“I saw him last upon the steep
Where surges lave.
But now there's nought upon the deep
But one wide wave.
Alas! Since thou art called away
And we must part,
Oh! let thy spirit near me stay
To soothe my heart.”
Te Heu Heu from Taupo, and Te Rangitake from Taranaki, joined in the general tribute which was rendered by the tribes from the North Cape to Wairarapa. Old Te Whero Whero, who had added Pōtătāū to his name, to signify that he had been a watcher by the death-bed of a daughter, promised to protect the Pakeha.
1 Patuone was a grammarian. Conversing with Sir George Grey in front of a besieged pah, he insisted that a certain particle used in a certain correlation had no intrinsic meaning, but was required for euphony. Sir George Grey argued that it must have a meaning of its own—that everything had, &c. While they were speaking a shot struck the Maori flagstaff in the pah and the soldiers cheered. Patuone said: “There! you hear the Hip! Hip! Hurrah! What does Hip! mean in that sound? What is the meaning of Hurrah? Those sounds are like the Maori particle. They have no meaning, but are useful in their place.”
“Lo! yonder mountain stands:
Pukehika, whose towering peak
Peeps out, enwrapped in sombre cloud,
Itself the path by which
The darling object of my heart
Departed on his way.
Pause for one moment—there
Cast back one glance on me,
Thus to receive one fond,
One last fond look.
Thy love came first, not mine;
Thon diddest first behold
With favour and regard
The meanest of our race.
“Thence is it
The heart o'erflows, the eye
Bedewed with tears doth anxiously desire
To catch one fond, one parting glance,
Ere thou art lost to sight for ever,
Alas! for ever!”
Old Rauparaha's son, receiving the Governor's reply, said to the Maoris, “It is true we are going to lose the Governor, but this record will remain with us for ever.”“My children,”it said, “it was not originally any arrangement of mine that I should come to New Zealand, to a people unknown to me, and whose language I did not then understand, so that when they came to me with complaints, I could make no kind reply to them.”The Queen had sent him to allay troubles in which race strove with race. “I called upon all good men, Europeans and natives alike, to aid me, and they all arose to perform this work, and laboured hard each in his vocation. For nearly eight years we have thus laboured together, churches and schools have been raised, men have abandoned false gods, peace has been established, lands have been ploughed, mills have been built, great roads have been made, abundance prevails everywhere.”Posterity would look back on the names of patriots of early days, and the names of Grey's friends would be freshly remembered. “My parting request is that you will not hereafter suffer any evil deeds to sully those names, or to obscure the good works which have been performed in this country.”The chiefs shook hands with him, the schoolroom rung with cheers of the Maori children; and a newspaper, printed at the town from which Rangihaeata's blood had, a few years before, been almost with one voice demanded, declared that “no one could have witnessed the scene without feeling deeply impressed with the fact that some really good influence must have been at work to cause so great and beneficial a change in the minds and habits of the native race.”
Bishop Selwyn graced a banquet at Auckland, and men of all classes joined in doing honour to their guest. When he sailed from the islands in 1853, the Bishop accompanied him. Sir G. Grey had joined with Sir W. Martin, Mr. Swainson, and others, in urging the Bishop to secure for the Church of England a system of Church government analogous to that of their kindred Church in America. The Bishop had laboured for such a result for years. Meetings had been held in the colony, and the Bishop, armed with consent of his flock, went to England to arrange if possible for the local government of his Church, by removing any relics of obstruction to its synodic action. On his return to page 535 England Oxford honoured the successful Governor with the distinction dear to Englishmen at home and abroad. While he received the degree of D.C.L., the quick undergraduates gave three cheers for “The King of the Cannibal Islands.”He became Governor at the Cape of Good Hope until new troubles demanded his return to New Zealand.
The population he left in 1853 was, of Europeans, more than 30,000; of Maoris more than double that number. The latter could only be roughly estimated, and the death-rate amongst them was known to be rapid. More than a third of the whites were in the province of Auckland, nearly a fourth of them in that of Wellington. Of the Maoris, two-thirds were in the Auckland province, and of the whole number little more than 2000 were denizens of the Southern Islands. The Customs and other revenues had largely increased during Sir George Grey's rule, and agriculture was said to be on the increase among settlers and Maoris. At Auckland and Onehunga alone £16,000 in value (chiefly farm produce) were imported in native canoes. It is proper to record such signs of material progress, but it must be remembered that they do not necessarily spring from the acts of a Government. Expansion of a young community, in pastures new, may take place in spite of the worst legislation. It is probable that in New Zealand more was due to the Governor's ability than in ordinary settlements, for on his personal relations with the Maoris depended the questions of peace or war; and confidence, the life-blood of commercial progress, could only course through a community undisturbed in its industry. The New Constitution Act (15 and 16 Victoria, cap. 72), received by Sir George Grey in February, 1853, was followed in March, 1853, by three proclamations, defining the boundaries of the six new provinces (Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Otago), arranging for the election of members both provincial and general, and assuming (7th March) the powers and authority vested in the Governor by the Crown. Colonel Wynyard, relieved from office as Lieutenant-Governor of the former province of New Ulster, received thanks from Sir George Grey and from the Secretary of State for the ability with which he had discharged his duties. In the close of 1853, Sir George Grey reported that the Consti- page 536 tution was well received, that the best men were becoming candidates for election, and that, “if the Constitution is still carried out in a spirit of justice,”happiness and prosperity of both races would be promoted. It was unnecessary to interrupt New Zealand story; but it is proper to mention that, on more than one occasion, Sir George Grey urged the Colonial Office to extend the Imperial Government throughout the Pacific. New Guinea ought, he thought, to be annexed. In March, 1848, he was able to say that Tonga and Fiji were tendering allegiance. Earl Grey, in the same year, declined to act upon the suggestion.