History of New Zealand. Vol. III.
Chapter XVIII. — 1874—1877. — Session of 1874
Session of 1874.
Sir James Fergusson summoned the Parliament on the 3rd July, 1874. The subjects pressing for legislation were the creation and conservation of forests, and the “guarding against difficulties which might arise from continued differences of opinion between the two branches of the Legislature.” The mover of the address in the Council asserted that that body by throwing out the Provincial Loans Bill of 1873 had earned the gratitude of all thoughtful men. Dr. Pollen's bill to amend the Constitution was jejune. When the Houses differed, the Governor was to have power to summon them to a joint meeting at which the disputed measure was to be voted upon. The Representatives were 78 in number, the Council had 45 names on its roll. Constitutional questions were to be adjusted by transfer of numbers, as a man might adjust scales by taking from one and adding to the other. Dr. Pollen vainly deprecated the destruction which fell upon the bill. Mr. Waterhouse early in the session brought before the Council (9th July) the question of confiscated lands. McLean was known to wield the powers exercised by the government under the New Zealand Settlements Act. Many persons muttered that such powers ought not to be under one man's control. The envious insinuated that they might be abused, if not by direct corruption, by giving facilities for purchases by members page 73 or friends of the government. Mr. Waterhouse brought no charge against the Native Minister, but urged that if the Assembly would not entrust provincial councils with control over the confiscated lands, still less should it be delegated to one person. The Council carried a motion declaring that the question ought to be regulated by Act of the Assembly and not by orders “made at the will of the government of the day.” The Governor replied that so important a subject could not be duly considered during the session, but that his advisers would consider it during the recess. Mr. Waterhouse also took up the subject of the “indebtedness of the colony.” Seventeen millions sterling, at which he computed it, might be too great a burden. The Native f Lands Act of 1873 had justified the fears of some of its opponents. Mr. Fenton, the chief judge of the Land, Court, with his brethren Messrs. Munro, Maning, Eogan, and Smith, had drawn up weighty objections to the Act. The clause which required a judge to make a preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether an application accorded with the wishes of ostensible owners of land, seemed “of all things most likely to shake the confidence of the natives in the justice and impartiality of the Court (which has never hitherto been doubted); to impede its action; and to: jeopardize the peace of the country.” Moreover, the emissaries of the Maori king and others might make objections and assert claims which no judge could disregard. “Thus in process of time few claims would survive the preliminary inquiry.” They subjected the Act to careful criticism, but expressed no opinion on its general policy. The fact that they had sent a report to the government became known, but for a time Vogel refused to produce it. When it was obtained, the Committee on Native Affairs made suggestions founded on the judge's remarks. McLean adopted many suggestions, and an amending bill, in a shape which left large discretion to the judges, passed both Houses at the close of the session. One important provision was made. The concurrence of at least one native assessor with the judge was required to justify any decision or judgment. Mr. Mantell presented a petition from Maoris in favour of this provision. Under the existing law the assent of an assessor was not necessary. “We ask you to amend page 74 this, so that the assessor or assessors may have authority, when in court, equal to that of the European judges. Let no one be greater or less than the other, lest the judgment be wrong.”
Taiaroa renewed his motion for a Select Committee on “the unfulfilled promises to natives in the Middle Island.” “Let not members be annoyed at his importunity. It was not his fault: it was the fault of the government in delaying the question.” Mr. Vogel procured a postponement, and although Mr. Fox admitted that there were “unfulfilled promises,” the committee was refused. On a later day Taiaroa asked whether the Native Minister would agree to arbitration, but McLean declined. Mr. Mackay, Cominissioner of Native Reserves, reported that the claims of the Ngaitahu tribe, in the Middle Island, were “good on all three grounds,”—1. Hereditary. 2. Conquest. 3. Occupation or possession. Their ancestors had conquered the territory 300 years ago, and the tribe had continuously occupied the land from the time of the conquest. “I trust,” Mr. Mackay wrote, “it will be understood that in advocating the cause of the natives I am not actuated by feelings of sentimentalism.” Mr. Macandrew, in opposing the committee moved for by Taiaroa, said that Taiaroa's resolution might “cover a claim for 2,000,000 acres in the Middle Island.” Mr. Vogel thought “the House was not in a position to come to the conclusion that there were unfulfilled promises.” Mr. Mackay had reported that they were “not entered in the deeds of purchase, as full reliance at the time was placed in the honour of the Crown that they would be fulfilled to the letter.” Mr. Vogel could not find them in the bond. He knew as well as other members how indignantly Mr. Mantell had discarded service under the local government because it would not fulfil its pledges, but his mind was exercised upon another matter—the advisability of turning from provincialism to centralism!
A bill “to provide for the establishment of State forests and for the application of the revenues derivable therefrom,” was the solvent of the problem. He spoke for hours.
“The investment of £1 a year in creating forests would,” he said (14th July), “in thirty-five years give back many many times £100.” Old sinking funds were now proved delusive; but the growth and value of page 75 forests was indubitable. “The government came to the conclusion that if the provinces would allow three per cent. of the whole of their land to be taken and set apart as forest-land, we would propose to Parliament to release the provinces from the payment of the principal cost of their railways—that is, would relieve them from the payment of the one per cent. sinking fund they now pay … if the amount its railways will cost is reckoned up, and the total of one per cent. sinking fund upon that amount is estimated, the exchange which is ottered will he found to be very profitable to the province… As far as can be done by bill we put upon the State forests the charge of repaying the public debt of the colony incurred for the construction of railways.”
Mr. Stafford in supporting the bill exposed the manœuvres of Mr. Vogel, who replied: “The feeling with which the bill has been received in the House and the approval it has met with throughout the country have led the government most earnestly to desire that the bill should become law during the present session.” Mr. Fitzherbert in a trenchant speech attacked the bill. Under the modest guise of three per cent. of provincial lands it grasped 2,000,000 acres, and those, if chosen as doubtless they would be, the best land in provinces. The real intent of the bill was to take land indirectly which could not be taken directly. It had nothing to do with forestry, concerning which Mr. Vogel had culled from encyclopaedias to confuse the common sense of the House. As to paying off the colonial debt by its means the idea was absurd, and redounded neither to the credit of the ministry nor of the colony. Mr. Rolleston told how Canterbury had in four years distributed 65,000 trees for planting, and was further promoting the good work. In 1874, the province had appropriated £13,000 to it; whereas Mr. Vogel's bill only contemplated an expenditure of £10,000 in the year throughout all the provinces. Mr. Rolleston was prepared to discuss the question of abolishing the provinces at any time, on its merits, but not when under cover of a beneficial object they were insidiously assailed. Mr. Vogel complained of the bitterness of Mr. Fitzherbert's speech… “When we are told that the establishment of State forests in the North Island is inconsistent with the maintenance of provincialism, it seems to me there can be but one reply:—Abolish the provinces in the North Island.” There was throughout the island a feeling of real abhorrence to provincial institutions. “I state fearlessly that such is the fact. There is no one who has done more than I have page 76 to stem that feeling.” It was plain that having discovered the public feelings, Mr. Vogel would sacrifice his own, or what he represented as his own when he had misunderstood those of the public. But he was accommodating. He would cut down the Forests Bill. He would “remove all the provisions as to the acquirement of land.” “The State forests should be such land as the General Assembly should determine, and such as the superintendents and provincial councils should request the Governor to set apart.”
Two days afterwards Mr. Vogel notified to the House that the government had received assurances from many members, and believed, that a large majority were anxious to abolish the provinces in the North Island, the capital being maintained at Wellington, and the compact of 1856 between provincial claims and the general government being recognized in any Act to be passed. The government would not ask the Assembly to give effect to their proposals in the current session. They did not think it fair to the country to take it by surprise on such a subject. Other members, however, gave notices of motion, and the determination of the government was revoked in six days. Mr. Vogel announced (12th Aug.) that he would, on the 13th, propose that the provincial form of government in the North Island should be abolished; and that in the measure giving effect to the same there should also be included a provision declaring Wellington the seat of government, and continuing the localization of the land revenue in accordance with what was known as the compact of 1856. If the House should not agree to these resolutions, “of course, the government would pass into the hands of those who hold other views.” On the 13th, Mr. Vogel confessed that the debate on the State Forests Bill had brought to light facts which forced the government to adopt their new policy. He admitted that he had at one time strenuously supported separation of the North Island. But the provision of funds for carrying on settlement made changes desirable. He “recognized the widely-spread feeling in the House that it is not desirable these exceptional assistances—not to use the term ‘sops'—should be continued.” But a field would be still left for the power of the purse. Aid might be given to road boards clustered page 77 round a central board, as was the case with the Timarn system in the Canterbury district. Something of that kind might replace the provinces of Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and Taranaki. It was probable that the superintendent1 of “the great province of Auckland would object.” Mr. Yogel would make a life-provision for that honourable gentleman, who had devoted a lifetime in serving the province. The compact of 185G he would respect, because “any attempt to depart from it would be simply dishonest, and, besides, would be to the last degree impolitic.” The government having been questioned on the subject, would “accept any provision the Middle Island may think necessary to make it most clearly understood that the land revenue of the Middle Island shall be applicable to Middle Island purposes, and that the land revenue of each province of the Middle Island shall be applicable to the purposes of that province.” The provinces were distrustful, for Mr. Vogel declared: “There is in the great provinces of Otago and Canterbury a feverish impatience manifested to put apart land, or to sell it, so as to place it beyond the reach of the colony.” He emphatically denied that his resolutions were “an attack upon the Middle Island land fund.” He believed that t'le general government could do provincial work better and more cheaply than the provincial legislatures were doing it, and there would be great gain in the removal of the provincial opposition displayed in the North Island against the immigration and public works policy of the government. He declared that no personal ambition prompted him to a change of opinions which might forfeit the confidence of many political allies. Another minister then rose. Mr. O'Rorke, member for Onehunga, Secretary for Lands and Minister for Immigration, startled the House by disclaiming all complicity with Vogel's proposals, for which, if he were to vote, he would “deserve to be branded as a base political traitor.” … “I obtained admission to this House on certain principles, and I do not feel that I am at liberty to fling them to the winds, either for the sake of office, or to suit my own caprice.” With more words of like import Mr. O'Rorke disclaimed any personal motives, and left the astonished House. Mr. Vogel, rising to explain, was interrupted on the point of order, but being allowed by the Speaker to make a personal explanation, was arrested by that functionary when he proceeded to reveal a discussion in the Cabinet. The pith of his statements was that Mr. O'Rorke had opposed the resolution from the first, but that Mr. Vogel was unaware that he intended to retire from the government, or to speak in the language which the House had heard. Mr. O'Rorke lost no time in handing his resignation to the Governor. Major Atkinson (member for Egmont), who was about to succeed to the office vacated by Mr. O'Rorke, cast in his lot with those who would abolish the provinces. Mr. Thomson, member for Clutha, asked why there had been no hint in the Governor's speech of such vital change as Mr. Vogel now proposed. “The stormy eloquence of the honourable member for the Hutt” (Mr. Fitzherbert), in debate on the Forest Bill had engendered the new idea, “not a fortnight ago,” in the excited Treasurer. Mr. Reid, quoting from a speech delivered in 1868 the words, “You cannot have a greater curse in such a country as this than that the general government should be constantly educating the people to dissatisfaction with provincial institutions,” was challenged to name the speaker. He answered: “I intended to do so, but I will do it now. It is the honourable the Premier whom I am now quoting, whose opinions will have great weight in this House. He goes on to say: ‘you may take away the constitution, but you cannot give to the people another which will earn so much of their respect and veneration… We have lived under it. We love it. We shall never get another which we shall love as we have loved this one. We will stand by and preserve that which we have.”'page 78
By metaphysical aid it would almost seem that Mr. Vogel, while keeping a shop in Victoria, transported his affections elsewhere. Mr. Macandrew declared that if the resolutions should be carried “no interest in the State would be safe against the caprice or neediness of the government of the day.” Mr. Montgomery, from Akaroa, foresaw that to settle the Northern Island an enormous page 79 debt would be created which the revenues of the Middle Island would be seized upon to meet. Mr. Sheehan declared that a fit of spleen against Mr. Fitzherbert had exposed the fact that New Zealand was “suffering from personal government in one of its veiy worst aspects.” A constitution was to be uprooted because Mr. Vogel was irritated, and members were meek enough to do his bidding. Mr. Williamson, for whom Mr. Vogel had promised to make permanent provision, declared that the people of Auckland would return to the next Assembly no man who would support Vogel's revolutionary proposals. On the 20th Aug., the foregone conclusion was duly recorded by a division in the House. Vogel had not given notice of his resolutions until he had ascertained that he could command a majority, and Stafford had been the manager behind the scenes. Taiaroa thought general government more likely than a provincial government to be just. “I myself had a case which I brought forward. It was discussed in the different Parliaments of New Zealand, and they could not settle it, neither could any court in the colony settle it; but when I laid the matter before the Privy Council then the Superintendent agreed to pay.” By 41 votes against 1G the resolution was carried.
Mr. Fitzherbert (24th Aug.), bowing to the decision arrived at, asked the House to resolve that the change should not be “made without first testing the opinion of the people through the constituencies,” and that the Governor should be asked to grant a dissolution for the purpose. Mr. Vogel denounced the dangerous doctrine that a special appeal to constituencies should precede a serious change in the law. Mr. Gladstone had stigmatized it as “ultra-democratic—more than democratic—anarchical,” and rightly so. But where, as in New Zealand, there were several provinces with separate legislatures, the objections to such a doctrine were fatal in the abstract. To appeal from halls of counsel to the hustings has indeed the appearance of appealing from Philip sober to Philip drunk, and in New Zealand there were several Philips to be consulted. Vogel had the courage of his position, though as he had so newly assumed it, it could not be said that he had the courage of his opinions. He moved an amendment page 80 recommending that the provincial government in the North Island should be followed by “an inexpensive but more thorough form of local government, under which the island should be divided into districts and sub-districts, endowed with substantial revenues, and the residents therein be enabled to take a larger and more direct share in the management of local affairs and the expenditure of local revenues than is at present the case.” “Endowment with substantial revenues” was a tempting bait, but the term was vague. Who was to decide upon the substance? Stafford supported Vogel's amendment, and Mr. Fitzherbert demolished Vogel's speech. He pointed out that already success had stirred the government to wider schemes, and that the altered tone of the Treasurer in moving his amendment implied that abolition of southern provinces would follow speedily. Mr. Fox confessed his conversion from ardent “provincialism” to centralism. Mr. Johnston, member for Manawatu, candidly said: “Now that the Premier undertakes to endow each district with substantial revenues my doubts vanish. I confess that I do not see where the money is to come from, but inasmuch as passing this resolution commits the House to a certain extent to find it from somewhere, I will vote for it.” The “sop” system admitted by Mr. Vogel as to time past was triumphant in the anticipations of the Johnstons of the House, and by 45 votes against 20 Mr. Vogel's amendment was carried. Mr. Swaiison vainly moved that the amending bill should be circulated “at least two months before the next meeting of Parliament.” So far as the existing House was concerned provincialism in the North was doomed, but the southern majority did not foresee that the measure they were meting to the North Island would be forced upon themselves.
After such proofs of strength the government carried their bill to amend the Native Lands Act of 1873. A bill to authorize advances for provincial public works was more successful than the Provincial Loans Bill of the previous session. Lands in the provinces were to form the security, and superintendents of provinces were authorized to agree with the Treasurer upon terms of repayment. A Railways Bill, appropriating money and empowering the government page 81 to purchase from the provincial authorities certain existing lines in Otago and Canterbury passed the Lower House, but was lost in the Council. On the same day which saw the Railways Bill rejected by the Council Mr. Murray moved in the House—” That in the opinion of this House the nomination of tenants of the Crown to seats in the Legislative Council is highly objectionable and inconsistent with the independence of Parliament.” In New Zealand, as in Australia, the pastoral occupation of the country was the avocation of some of the most intelligent settlers. The original theory was merety to occupy temporarily until a more permanent form of settlement might become as necessary as it was natural, and freehold would be substituted for the lease or license held by the tenants of the Crown. This was part of Gibbon Wakefield's plans. He argued that the annual grass crop could properly be so availed of—the government holding the power to sell land at a fitting time. How that theory was unwisely departed from need not be here discussed. Mr. Murray's motion implied that there was danger lest servile submission should pervade the Council. But he moved it at a time when the Council had given proofs of independence. His grievance was the rejection of Land Bills; and when he said that “interested persons who never ought to have voted” had thrown them out, the Speaker called him to order. Jealous of the honour of the whole Parliament rather than of the aggrandizement of the House of which he was Speaker, Sir F. Dillon Bell added that he had consulted the Speaker of the Council, and if “his colleague” had considered the motion an improper interference with the Council, he (Sir F. D. Bell) would have removed it from the Order paper. The motion was withdrawn. When the Appropriation Bill had passed in the Lower House, Mr. Vogel moved the second reading of a second Railways Bill divested of the provisions on account of which the Council had rejected the first. It was passed through both Houses without a division. An attempt was made to authorize, by resolution, negotiations to effect a purchase, at Otago, contemplated in a defeated bill. Mr. Vogel opposed it, and the Speaker pronounced that it was “not page 82 in accordance with Parliamentary practice for the government to carry out by resolution what it had failed to carry out by bill.” But the Otago province was supposed to be weeping at the door. Mr. Vogel “felt that it was a very hard thing that Otago, which required money for the construction of branch railways, should go away from the Assembly without any money in its pocket, while other provinces went away with plenty,” and an Otago Provincial Public Works Advances Bill, to enable the Government to advance £60,000 for railways, on terms to be agreed upon, was passed. An Immigration and Public Works Bill was passed to give effect to provisions of the Loan Bill. It dealt with the purchase of land from the natives, for which £700,000 had been authorized at various times. Friends of the Maoris declaimed against artifices resorted to in obtaining their lands; and Captain Fraser declared that in the Middle Island, where temptation was not applied by colonists covetous of land, “the Maoris had abjured drinking altogether.” “How would the Europeans have got the land in Hawke's Bay if the Maoris had not been encouraged to drink? He paused for a reply,”—but none was vouchsafed. “Gross injustice had been done to the whole Maori race, and he would never cease to express his opinion on that subject.” The question of payment of members of the Assembly out of the public funds was examined by a committee, Mr. Rolleston's contention, that the subject ought to be dealt with as a matter of principle by a bill, being ineffectual.
Sir J. Fergusson, having resigned office, introduced valedictory words in the prorogation speech (31st Aug.). He told the members that the session would be memorable for having rung the knell of the provinces in the North Island. He was advised to say that the decision was accompanied by ample proof that the land fund would, nevertheless, “as far as possible, be localized,” and not absorbed by the general government.
The Marquis of Normanby succeeded Sir J. Fergusson, but the latter had various acts to perform before demitting his authority. In place of the indignant Mr. O'Rorke, page 83 Major Atkinson, after the close of the session, became Minister of Immigration, and as Vogel wished to go to England to negotiate the new loan, Dr. Pollen became the leader during Vogel's absence, and on the 3rd Dec. the new Governor (the Marquis of Normanby) arrived. He received a petition from Sir G. Grey on the subject of appropriation of funds arising from the sale of lands. The petition urged that the Auckland province could justly ask for time to enable it to come to fair terms with regard to land revenues before vital changes should be made or sanctioned by the British Parliament. The Governor referred the petition to Dr. Pollen, who sneered at Sir G. Grey's statements. The Marquis transmitted the documents to the Earl of Carnarvon. Before any reply was received Sir G. Grey was elected member for Auckland City West, and on the death of Mr. Williamson, the electors conferred the office of Superintendent of the Province upon Sir G. Grey. His speeches were received with acclamation. It was sad, but not unnatural, that the treatment he had encountered from more than one Secretary of State had jaundiced his judgment, and he proposed that the Colonial Office should be set aside and that New Zealand “should have a Secretary of State of our own.” But he was facile and persuasive. Everything he said was applauded. Those who did not agree with his opinions admired his rhetoric.
In 1875, the meeting between the Maori king and Sir D. McLean, so anxiously sought by the latter, was brought about by the aid of Te Wheoro. McLean went to Alexandra (26th Jan.), and remained there while friendly chiefs conferred. Te Paea, the king's sister, had recently been buried, and Te Wheoro and other chiefs attended at Waitomo to take part in a “tangi.” On the 3rd of Feb. McLean was welcomed, and after formalities (a part of which was an interval of strict silence), Tawhiao said that his word was, “Let the Pakeha who are spread over the world return to the appointed place (probably Maungatawhiri, where General Cameron commenced the war and which the Maoris had called their boundary). If they return thither, I will follow and return to Waikato.” Tawhiao thus made the demand which his deputies had page 84 previously made. McLean replied that the abandonment of the territory confiscated in Waikato was not feasible, and Tawhiao said: “Don't suppose that this will be your last visit to us. Come again.” McLean proposed: 1st. That Tawhiao should exercise authority over tribes within his district. 2nd. That he should choose a council of chiefs to keep order and repress wrong. 3rd. That the New Zealand government should assist him. 4th. That the government should build a house for him at Kawhia and grant to him certain lands on the Waipa and Waikato rivers. Nothing was agreed to, but much was thought to have been accomplished. Tke Civil Commissioner, Mr. Kemp, who accompanied McLean, wrote that the meeting, “whether viewed politically or in connection with the welfare of the settlers, could not but be regarded as of paramount importance.”
Death was busy amongst the elder generation of Maoris. Mohi Tawhai, a companion-in-arms of Waka Nene against Heke, more than eighty years old, was mounting his horse after attending Divine Service and fell and died. He it was who was mainly instrumental in preventing Colonel Despard from repeating at Ruapekapeka the assault so disastrous under that officer at Ohaeawae.2 His services were not forgotten. At his funeral at Hokianga it was said that every respectable European in the district joined in paying respect. In Wanganui, Pehi and Tahana Turoa passed away. The resident magistrate reported that he should much miss Tahana, who as assessor and otherwise had always given him wise counsel. Tahana was owner of much land, and left a will which was duly proved in the Supreme Court. Officers reported from various districts a slight improvement in the condition of the Maoris. With less dissipation there was more intelligent industry amongst them.
Sir D. McLean busied himself in purchasing land. At Maketu he conferred with chiefs, and the result was an order to the Land Purchase Commissioners to discontinue negotiations in the Arawa territory. He communicated the result of his departmental labours to the Assembly. page 85 The land acquired, or under negotiation, under the Public Works and Immigration Acts was, in 1875:—
|Purchased.||Lease.||Incomplete Purchase.||Transactions. Lease.|
|In Hawke's Bay||240,537||—||37,000||—|
The prices paid averaged 2s. 5 1/4d. an acre. Money paid for completed and incomplete transactions was under control of the Native Department, and there were not wanting men who denounced the mystery in which Sir Donald McLean shrouded his proceedings. He urged the Assembly not to press him unduly, but to leave him to work out the problem “as the government may deem safe and advisable.”
Again it was reported that Te Kepa Rangihiwinui's advice had restrained the passions of his countrymen, who would have resorted to violence rather than to the law in the Wanganui district. At the Chatham Islands the Moriori race was said to be rapidly disappearing. Their peculiar dialect was spoken only by a few aged persons. The young were sickly. They presented a picture which might haunt the minds of their late masters. The Maoris might regard their own fate in that of their helots. The education of the chieftain class, to which Sir J. Fergusson had drawn attention, was little regarded. Two or three boys at the Grammar School at Auckland and one at the Wellington College were distinguished from about 1500 on school registers throughout the provinces. Out of £12,000 devoted to Maori education in the year nearly £2000 were native contributions.
Like his predecessors, the Marquis of Normanby journeyed throughout the provinces. He told the Secretary of State that, bold as had been the plunge into indebtedness, he believed the policy sound, “provided that it is not carried too far”—a safe prediction, which seemed to hint misgivings. The march of events had so completely carried questions affecting the Maoris into the hands of McLean that despatches rarely alluded to them.page 86
The speech opening the Parliament in July, 1875, proved the truth of the contested prophecies of the opposition in 1874. The Assembly was to be invited to decide whether it might not be well to abolish provinces as well in the Middle Island as in the North. The meeting of Tawhiao with McLean was spoken of as a herald of future good. The negotiations of the new loan for £4,000,000 in London was declared successful. Mr. Vogel had not returned to the colony. His colleagues in negotiating the loan were Sir P. G. Julyan, Dr. Featherston, and Mr. Sargeaunt. He had differed from them. They thought it best to sell the debentures in two instalments. He desired to sell the whole at £94 to the house of Rothschild, giving a commission of 2 per cent. to Messrs. Rothschild for their aid in floating the loan,—they giving a guarantee for the immediate sale of three millions. Reluctantly the other agents yielded. The net price received, after deducting accrued interest, was £90 19s. 7d. Vogel became K.C.M.G. and remained in England for a time. The absence of the head of the ministry during a session was thought likely to give umbrage. He tendered his resignation in May, and his colleagues reconstructed their ranks in July. Dr. Pollen became their head. Vogel was Postmaster-General. Major Atkinson took the post of Treasurer. McLean was immovable. There was no sign of weakness in the reconstructed ministry, but the representatives unanimously replaced in the Chairmanship of Committees, Mr. O'Rorke, who had so indignantly severed his connection with Vogel in 1874. Sir D. McLean and Sir G. Grey were his proposer and seconder.
The question of abolishing the provinces was destined to distract the Assembly throughout the session. Not much was done with regard to native affairs. Taiaroa reminded Sir D. McLean that the government had promised in 1873 to place a native chief of the Middle Island in the Legislative Council. McLean admitted the promise but alleged that circumstances had prevented its fulfilment. The government would consider the matter.
Mr. Alexander Mackay, having compiled a statement of the lands purchased by Europeans in the Middle Island, Taiaroa moved (30th Sept.) that it be printed in Maori. page 87 McLean objected to the expense. But Wi Tako Ngatata in the Council carried a similar motion there. Taiaroa learned from the statement that the government had bought land in the Middle Island for about an eighth of a penny an acre. The chiefs of the north learned that they had obtained more money, but that it was sprinkled with blood. The Native Affairs Committee in the Lower House reported on the petition of Middle Island natives that a Commission ought to be appointed on the alleged unfulfilled promises in connection with land purchases. Taiaroa had fought his battle in the committee with the aid of counsel. Mr. Sheehan moved (6th Oct.) that the report be referred for “the favourable consideration of the government.” Taiaroa ran over the years in which he had vainly asked for justice as to the claims. He would still consent, as in a former year, that the government should nominate one commissioner, the Maoris another. Mr. Carrington desired that a portion of his evidence before the committee should be read. He had therein declared that, “having knowledge of the matter through meeting directors and gentlemen of the New Zealand Company in 1839 and 1840, prior to coming to the colony as the chief surveyor of the Plymouth Company of New Zealand,” he thought it right to make a statement. The value of his declaration may be shown in a brief extract: “The question as to one-tenth of the land being reserved for the natives in the inhabited districts, so far as my knowledge goes in this matter, had special reference to the North Island… Hence I never heard of its being contemplated by the New Zealand Company that a reservation of one-tenth of the land of the Middle Island should be set apart for its natives.” In the agreement of the company with Lord John Russell it was expressly stipulated that the reserves should be made everywhere, and in the instructions issued by the company to Colonel Wakefield before he sailed in the “Tory” in 1839—of which period Carrington claimed a knowledge—were these words: “You will take care to mention in every booka booka, or contract for land, that a proportion of the territory ceded, equal to one-tenth of the whole, will be reserved by the company, and held in page 88 trust by them for the future benefit of the chief families of the tribe.” Those instructions were published; Mr. J. J. Symonds in purchasing the Otago block expressly stipulated “on behalf of the natives for one-tenth of each description of allotment;” and the company was lauded for making reserves on such an imposing scale. The company was bound to hold the reserves in trust for the “chiefs, their families, tribes, and successors for ever;” and on surrender of the company's charters their obligations devolved, not only naturally, but by express stipulations, upon the Crown.3 It is disheartening to read such a statement as that of Mr. Carrington. McLean having characterized Taiaroa's claims as extravagant, but admitted that he was “quite aware that unfulfilled promises existed,” the debate was adjourned. Mr. Macandrew moved an amendment (13th Oct.) declaring that there were no unfulfilled promises, but could not carry it. Mr. W. Kelly declared that “there no doubt remained many unfulfilled promises, and something should be done in the matter.” McLean had stipulated that a decision arrived at by the Native Land Court at Canterbury, which was ratified by “the Ngaitahu Reference Validation Act of 1868,” should not be challenged. The Act in question will be remembered as legalizing retrospectively an improper reference to the Native Lands Court. The field of justice was circumscribed, but it comprehended “schools, hospitals, and other advantages.” Even this Mr. Macandrew would have refused; and it was only agreed to by the members on the understanding that for final decision it must be again submitted to the House. McLean positively refused to “go behind 1868” (in which the Land Court had overruled the claims of Heremaia Mautai). Mr. Sheehan moved: “That this House regrets to hear of the scandalous and dishonest dealings of certain Europeans in the acquisition of native lands at Hawke's Bay, … and considers that such transactions are a stain upon the good name of the colony.” He animadverted upon the manner in which, after the Crown had waived the sole right of purchase, the natives had been inveigled by artful page 89 agents. He showed how signatures had been extorted from Maoris; how to relieve themselves from debts they had been under duress persuaded to sell their rights; how Henare Tomoana, who foiled Te Kooti, had in equipping Maoris to fight the Hau Haus incurred a debt of thousands of pounds, the cancelling of which was the engine brought to bear upon him to extort his signature; how Karaitiana Takamoana, the Maori member, half brother of Henare Tomoana and co-proprietor in the land, had moodily resisted and vainly besought the Native Minister to avert sale by such untoward methods. The freehold of the Heretaunga block, close to Hawke's Bay, comprising about 18,000 acres, illegally occupied by settlers before the government abandoned the exclusive right of purchase had, by the arts he described, passed into the hands of settlers. Mr. Ormond, member for Clive, was amongst the purchasers, and Mr. Sheehan complained that, in bargains for lands bought for Sir D. McLean himself, an agent had been employed, who, having been previously dismissed from the public service for embezzlement, had plied base arts against Maoris with whom he dealt. The Native Minister and Mr. Ormond replied at great length. Many members spoke. It was admitted that wrong had been done in many cases. Karaitiana Takamoana declared that if the House yielded to Sir D. McLean and stifled discussion, he would appeal to England. “Maoris prefer to be destroyed themselves rather than see their lands destroyed. Neither the Superintendent of Hawke's Bay (Ormond), nor the Native Minister (McLean), had a good name with the Maoris at Napier. If the House will not deal with the matter, the Maoris will go on until they lose their skins in the Supreme Court… If the House will not agree with this question there will be mischief in Hawke's Bay. The Maoris consider that treachery has been committed there.” Mr. Sheehan's motion was lost. Sir D. McLean met a motion of Sir G. Grey's by promising that, in future, agents should not be permitted to traffic privately for lands, but neither he nor the House would probe past transactions, and Sir G. Grey was defeated. With regard to a transaction at the Piako swamp the government had broken the law. The minimum upset price of land in the Auckland province was five shillings. page 90 A tract exceeding 70,000 acres had been parted with by private arrangement for a less sum than the legal minimum. McLean pleaded that the land could not have been sold at all unless by special arrangement, and that though Mr. Thomas Russell and his friends had paid less than the price fixed by law, they had been bound to make a road through the Piako swamp which would compensate the public, the rebate of half-a-crown per acre being the maximum allowance to be made to them for the cost of the road, in which case the price paid per acre would fall to half-a-crown an acre. McLean was able even by such an explanation to satisfy the House. His colleague, Dr. Pollen, brought in two bills in the Council—one to enable Mr. Russell to exchange some land for other waste land; the other to enable Mr. Whitaker to resign land claimed by him, and select an equal quantity elsewhere. Both bills were thrown out at different stages. A select committee recommended with sarcastic simplicity “that in all future transactions any alterations in the law that may be desirable should precede, and not follow the agreement for the purchase of land.” Sir D. McLean's committee in the Lower House was more lenient, but it declared that “dealings by private contract with the public landed estate are inexpedient, and they are glad to observe that the government have proposed to bring the confiscated lands under the operation of the ordinary waste lands laws of the colony.” The subject was not dead, however. The time within which Mr. Russell had been bound to pay had expired, but he had not paid. Dr. Pollen stated before a committee that unsettled native claims and the confused position of the confiscated boundary were obstacles to closing the transaction. He seemed to think the government had power to complete it. Mr. Whitaker's name was to appear prominently in connection with the Piako swamp. He had urged sweeping confiscations in 1864. Subsequently, in 1867, when superintendent of the province of Auckland, and also government agent at Auckland, he was appointed commissioner for the sale and disposition of the confiscated lands. His own claims were involved in one of the bills which Dr. Pollen strove in vain to induce the Council to pass. He had purchased the interest (dating page 91 from 1844) of other persons in land, of which about 18,000 acres had been awarded to him by Mr. F. Dillon Bell. But the natives had never surrendered their claim to about 14,000 acres of the block, and Whitaker abstained from taking steps which Dr. Pollen declared might have created a native disturbance. He had never taken possession. Maoris were in occupation. Mr. Mackay, Government Land Purchase Commissioner, reported that he could negotiate for the purchase of 200,000 acres if the 14,000 acres claimed by Whitaker were abandoned to the natives. Pollen's bill proposed to allow Whitaker to select elsewhere. The Council thought an undue advantage would thus be conferred. The casting vote of the Speaker crushed the bill for the time, but in after years the subject was revived. Meanwhile Sir D. McLean was harassed by the checks which he received. He passed in the Lower House a Confiscated Lands Bill, which it was hoped would enable the Piako swamp to be dealt with, but it broke down in the Council.
A debate took place (8th Sept.), which awoke kindly feelings. Mr. Williams moved an address to the Governor, praying that a sum might be put upon the estimates to maintain in “decent order the graves of the officers and men who fell during the wars with the natives.” He told how the Ngapuhi warriors, who under Heke and Kawiti at Ohaeawae slew English soldiers, had in after years built a church on the site of the fatal pah, and granted land as a sacred resting-place for the dead; how reverently they had assisted in placing the remains in hallowed ground, and joined in the burial service spoken in Maori by Archdeacon Clarke; how volleys were fired over the graves as fit for a soldier's farewell; and how the two races had joined in hand and heart throughout the ceremonial. Mr. Kelly, from Taranaki, suggested that honour should be paid to the gallant Maoris who had fallen at Mahoetahi and Huirangi. Sir D. McLean and Sir G. Grey chimed in with friendly voice. Katene and Parata welcomed the kindly feeling shown by the House. Parata said: “I speak not now only of those who fought for the Queen, but of all. There is no fighting now, and the time has come when the Legislature may pay equal honour to those who fought on both sides. page 92 Hearts which are now dark will be comforted when these things are done.”
It has been convenient to glance at Maori questions, but the battlefield of the session was the abolition of the provinces. Vogel was not in the House. McLean obtained leave of absence for him for the session, Mr. Rolleston remarking that the country would gain if the absence “were prolonged indefinitely.” Major Atkinson (6th Aug.) moved the second reading of the bill to abolish the provinces. It contained a clause for endowment of Road Boards, but the government, not knowing what form of government “those bodies would be desirous of assuming,” would “be prepared to make any alteration which honourable members representing those districts” might desire. Local rates and licenses were to be handed to cities and Road Boards. But for the title of the bill, which warred against the provincial ideas, by means of which Mr. Vogel had expelled Mr. Weld from office in 1865, there was no evidence of a desire to destroy local government; and through the endowment of Road Boards, the arts by which Vogel had manitained a majority in administering public loans, might be revived under another name. Gaols, harbours, police, lunatic asylums, and education were to be the care of the General Assembly. Major Atkinson admitted that in the past the distribution of public revenues had been iniquitous, had been indeed “a gigantic scramble on the floor of this House, or in the lobbies,” but he expected that annihilation of the provinces would purify the parliamentary air. Sir G. Grey opposed the bill in a speech, of which a member said, that, though it had not convinced, it was admirable for its eloquence. Mr. Reader Wood analyzed the financial aspect. “Pass this bill, and the last trace of the land fund of the colony will vanish like a streak of morning cloud; pass it, and you strike a blow at the credit of the colony under which it will reel again.” The House sat late night after night. Mr. Montgomery quoted the public complaint of Vogel, that instead of £8,000,000 sterling, only £6,500,000 had been spent on railways, the difference being “represented by the expedients to which we have had to submit in order to purchase support from the provinces.” “I can understand this regret,” page 93 said Mr. Montgomery, but “history will say that the government might have withstood unjust demands, that they should not have been afraid of losing their positions, that it was the lust of power that made them thus dispose of public property… They regret it, not for the wrong done, but for the amount of money it cost to do it.” Mr. Tribe said that because change was necessary he would vote for the second reading. “If I have the honour of a seat in this House next session I shall have to come down and take part in a scramble. I suppose I shall have to fight the battle and log-roll as well as I can.” Vogel's method of “purchasing support” had so dulled the moral sense of the House, that no exception was taken to this language. The government had a majority in the House, and the fame of the devices of the opposition spread beyond the bounds of New Zealand. On the 17th Aug., after long debate upon formalities, and further debate when points of order had been set aside, the House sat till daylight streamed in upon the Chamber. That night Mr. Rolleston denounced the bill. If it should pass, separation of the two islands would follow. The ministry was governed by Mr. Stafford, and who guided Mr. Stafford Mr. Rolleston could not tell. The House was asked to launch into chaos. If the bill should pass, the land laws of the provinces would soon be moulded on a uniform plan, and the land fund would be common revenue. He had but one hope; that the Council, which had already averted many mischiefs, would refuse to pass the bill. Mr. Bowen (Minister of Justice) admitted that Vogel had “given way to provincial pressure, as all Colonial Treasurers had to give way before him;” but he did not quote the opinion of any other Treasurer that the support was bought at a price. He affirmed that if the bill should not be passed “a scramble would take place within a year that would ruin the finances of the country.” Stafford threw his ægis over the men who had hurled him. from office in 1872. He disclaimed the post of guide to the ministry, but supported them. Mr. Fitzherbert ruthlessly showed (20th Aug.) how earnest had been the praise bestowed by Vogel and Fox in 1868 upon the provincial governments, which Vogel and his colleagues in 1875 page 94 faithlessly strove to destroy. Mr. Stafford was in 1856 a party to the compact to localize the land revenue. Then he acted in a provincial spirit. Now he “comes forward as the champion of centralism.” … “By all that is honest, by all that is respectable, by all that is honourable in political life, and by all precedents in countries where parliamentary government exists, I say most plainly that, as men of honour, maintaining the opinions which they came into office to support, the ministry should no longer be sitting on those benches. They were pledged by all that men hold sacred to vacate their seats. There is no term of opprobrium too strong for men who so abandon their principles. These are facts. I have proved them in the course of my speech.” The second reading of the bill was carried by 52 votes against 17. The struggle in committee was yet to be encountered, and the government announced (2nd Sept.) that to secure general support they would introduce ancillary bills—to divide the provinces into districts in which Boards of Works would be elected, and in which the balance of the land fund would be appropriated —and to create or confirm in each province Boards of Education in which existing reserves of lands for educational purposes would be vested. Sir G. Grey had already provoked ironical laughter by high-sounding allusions to the rights and liberties of man, especially of man in New Zealand, and he made a speech strangely compounded of such sentiments and of assertions that the New Zealand Assembly ought not to pass the bills without obtaining the sanction of the British Parliament. The government seemed determined to sit in silence until the opposition speakers might be exhausted. Mr. O'Rorke, before the committee sat, denounced the mode in which Vogel, having “floated into lucrative office” on the strength of provincial professions, “turned traitor to the cause which placed him in office.” The government remained silent, and victorious. But the defeated did not abandon the field. Every material for debate was seized upon. Public meetings were held at Auckland and elsewhere to strengthen the hands of the opposition, who were pertinacious in committee, and battled throughout a night. At six o'clock in the morning (10th Sept.) there was an adjournment page 95 until ten. All day long the battle—si rixa est ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum—was waged in the same manner. When the time arrived for the ordinary sitting of the House (10th Sept.) the mace was removed from under the table, and a debate on the imputed irregularity of procedure arose. At last progress was reported, and Sir D. McLean moved the adjournment of the House until the 14th Sept., in order that an arrangement might be made “to terminate the existing differences.”
On the 15th Sept. he announced the terms agreed upon. The bill was to be allowed to pass without unreasonable opposition in committee, the government agreeing that the date for bringing it into operation should be the day after the prorogation of the first session of the new Parliament. Sir G. Grey did not approve of the terms (made by Mr. Fitzherbert and others), but agreed to respect them. They were loyally adhered to. In dealing with the revenue derived from gold, Sir G. Grey made known his subjection to the mischievous delusion that the gold export duty was a class-tax. He compared it unfavourably with an export duty on wool. He spoke as if he were blind to the fact that though sheep depastured on Crown lands produce wool derived partly from the public property, they use only the annual grasses which nature rears again (the soil remaining public property); whereas the gold extracted by the miner has been taken from the State treasures for ever; and if no royalty by way of Customs duty or otherwise be charged, has been lost to the public.
The mode of dealing with the land fund was earnestly debated. The Speaker, Sir Dillon Bell, warned the House that to pass a certain clause would force the land fund into the general treasury. He shrunk from the “log-rolling” which he dreaded as inevitable if the local bodies should have funds placed at their disposal by the vote of the House. With few changes the bill was carried and was easily passed in the Council. A Local Government Bill was to have complemented that for the abolition of the provinces. But the government shrunk from proceeding with it. Read a first time on the 30th July, it was afterwards dropped. The ministry held in their hands, therefore, the strings with which they thought to move the page 96 minds of members, and to excite the hopes of constituencies. Pliability of the first, and contentment of the second, seemed yet in their control. The opposition vainly demanded that the new bill should be “made public at least one month before the next session.” A motion to that effect was defeated.
But the government could not always command a majority on all questions. A member of the ministry, Mr. Reynolds, introduced a bill to lower the qualification of electors. British-born or naturalized subjects, holding freeholds of £50 value, and certain leaseholders and householders of not less than £5 yearly value, as well as holders of miners’ rights, were already voters. Mr. Reynolds proposed to make the suffrage almost universal. Every resident for twelve months, except a Maori, was to be entitled to registration as an elector. Mr. Rolleston and others objected to the bill. Taiaroa asked: “What is the good of allowing people to vote having no qualification beyond simply living in New Zealand in a house for twelve months? Why if such votes were to be lawful should not Maories have them?” He read a clause in the Constitution Act which prevented infliction of disabilities or restrictions on natives. Parata and the other Maori members opposed the bill. Mr. Reynolds admitted that he could not blame them. “I am not at all astonished that they should be suspicious of me; for no doubt they have been reminded that I have stood alone on the floor of this House and objected to any Maori being admitted except under the usual franchise.” The bill was thrown out. Mr. Wake-field subsequently carried a Lodgers’ Franchise Bill in the Lower House, and it passed easily through the Council, where Mr. Waterhouse remarked that it might have the effect of averting the misfortune of universal suffrage.
A bill to raise the number of the Representatives to 84, exclusive of the Maori members, was carried through both Houses. An Act was passed (Immigration and Public Works Appropriation) which restricted the powers which the ministry had exercised over the expenditure of borrowed money. On the 21st Oct. the session, memorable for all dwellers in New Zealand, came to an end, and the agitation within was exchanged for that without the halls of legislation. page 97 Vogel did not return to New Zealand while the Assembly was sitting, but his correspondence on the loan was produced. There was, as usual, bitter animadversion on Dr. Featherston by Sir J. Vogel, who could not forgive the fact that the Crown agents, Sir P. G. Julyan and Mr. Sargeaunt, agreed with Dr. Featherston. He endeavoured to weaken the position of his colleagues by denying the accuracy of their statements, though aware (he wrote) “that you have the advantage of numbers.” Those who knew Dr. Featherston knew also that the advantage was not confined to numbers. Writing angrily about immigration to Dr. Featherston, Vogel communicated to him a telegram from New Zealand to the effect that one of Featherston's despatches was “intolerably disrespectful,” and would not be recorded; and he rudely set aside Featherston's disclaimer that there was no intention to be disrespectful. Simultaneously with making personal charges, the Treasurer, as if bent on extruding the obnoxious agent, dictated elaborate changes in the agent's department. With sad dignity Dr. Featherston defended himself by admitting that he had been compelled to write much that he would have wished unwritten, as, during the year—“there are not many charges that could be brought against the character of a public officer respecting which I have not had occasion to defend myself in replies to your despatches… It was my duty to my own character, it was my duty to the colony in whose service I have spent many and not useless or unhonoured years, not to leave such charges unanswered.” Frequently called upon in times of difficulty to serve the colony, he had ever received ungrudging acknowledgment of his services, and conscious of his rectitude he did not lose confidence that, notwithstanding temporary misconception, the labours of his department would yet be appreciated by the people of New Zealand. The followers of the novus homo of New Zealand could hardly read such a paper without compunction, but they did not free themselves from his yoke.
The position of members was found equivocal with regard to a Disqualification Act of 1870. Passed in a spasm of virtue, its provisions were found too cramping. One member complained that because in his capacity as page 98 Superintendent of Nelson he had been the nominal recipient of two small sums of money, his name was included in a return. In other cases land purchased from members by the government to facilitate negotiations with the Maoris was found to endanger seats. In both Houses there was a desire to remove doubts or disabilities, and a Bill to amend the Act, “and to indemnify certain members of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives from disabilities and penalties they may have incurred under that Act,” was rapidly passed.
The ministry had placed glowing accounts of progress before the Assembly. Borrowed millions had swollen the veins of traffic and puffed the hearts of traffickers. The male white population was 213,294. The miles of railway open at the close of the year were 542. The ordinary revenue exceeded £2,000,000. Nearly 40,000 immigrants had arrived in 1874. About 30,000 arrived in 1875. The export of wool had increased, and was valued at £3,398,000. The other exports were nearly £2,000,000 more, of which £1,500,000 were gold dug from the earth. The skeleton in the House was a debt exceeding £17,000,000 sterling. It could be veiled from view for a time. Material prosperity, not the happiness which springs from virtuous habits, is the idol of many political economists; and in their eyes New Zealand was the cynosure of colonies. She had outstripped them all in her debt.
Amidst the turmoil of the time, the shrieking of engines, the throb of electric wires, the din of Parliament—was heard in 1875 a plaintive cry from settlers who had arrived in New Zealand “prior to 1st January, 1848.” Naval and military settlers and volunteers had received grants of land. The pioneers would do the same. No special grant was applied for in the petition, but a witness thought that sixty acres would be a reasonable grant to each of the pioneers. The Committee on Petitions made no recommendations in their favour. The class which cares least for Pilgrim Fathers is that which immediately succeeds them. It tramples on their records with a wantonness which after-generations labour ceaselessly to undo. The iconoclasni of Niebuhr would have been out of place if the early Rorman annals had been complete; and the life and page 99 actions of Homer seem to have been as little cared for by his contemporaries as were those of Shakspeare by the bulk of Englishmen. If Shakspeare's partners had not printed his works soon after his death; if his dedications of his poems to the Earl of Southampton had not furnished unshakeable proof of his position among the best spirits of the time; if Milton's immortal praise had not hymned him while the sounds of his voice still lingered in the ears of his lovers; if Ben Jonson and a few others had not vouched for their knowledge of the man and of his works, there might, even though printing had then been invented, be a lack of evidence to resist the ridiculous fable that although Shakspeare lived he did not write Shakspeare's plays. It was not likely that the pioneers would find favour if their claims had been reasonable; and it could not be denied that their opportunities as firstcomers had, like their difficulties, been great. Many of them were still eminent amongst the successful. For the others new men cared nothing.
The Governor sent a special report upon the Act to abolish the provinces. When its provisions were analyzed an impartial observer might well think that the opposition to it had been based, if not upon distrust of its propounders, upon the subtle influences of sentiment. It enacted (§ 11) that contracts, &c., with provincial superintendents could be enforced against the Crown; guaranteed compensation (12) to displaced provincial officers; appropriated certain fees, &c. (14) to local boards and municipalities; appropriated (15) certain goldfields’ revenues locally (declaring them to be no longer land revenue!); charged the land fund (16 to 19) with all provincial encumbrances of principal and interest, surveys and annual payments to local governing bodies; and imposed on the consolidated fund the costs of police, gaols, harbours, and many charitable institutions. The provincial spirit breathed in the Act which slew the provincial bodies. It might safely be predicted that either the spirit would be exorcised in the future, or that the central government would lose credit and usefulness. The land fund would be a bone of contention.
In the end of 1875 the Governor dissolved the House, and elections were held immediately. In Otago and in Auckland some members who had voted for abolition were page 100 rejected; but in other parts of the colony the result was favourable to the ministry. Sir J. Vogel's return to the colony induced Dr. Pollen to resign the leadership, which the former reassumed. Before doing so he arranged with Dr. Pollen that a sum exceeding £4000 should be allowed to meet the expenses of his recent mission to England. He wrote: “I do not pretend to have been economical.” About a third of the sum had been agreed upon when the mission was undertaken, but no one seemed to think it necessary to respect the agreement. Sir D. McLean retained the office which had become his indefeasible right. To facilitate the formation of an Executive Council when the Governor visited Auckland, Mr. Swainson, who resided there, was retained as an Executive Councillor. His high character, his long acquaintance with New Zealand, and his services as Attorney-General in former times, rendered the compliment such as none would object to; but it was understood that he would have declined to accept it if political sympathies or services had been included in the acceptance. A succeeding ministry continued the arrangement.
The deference shown to Sir J. Vogel was manifested by postponing until his return the consideration of a circular despatch on the subject of island annexation. The horrors of abduction and brutality practised by white scoundrels in the Pacific, the retaliation by islanders who slew their best friend in revenge, the intercession of the colonies, and a sentiment of honour, had induced England to annex the Fiji Islands with the declared consent of the ruling chiefs. In 1874, Lord Carnarvon had inquired whether the Australasian colonies would join in contributing a small sum (in no case exceeding £4000) to maintain the Fiji civil establishment whose creation they had urged. The colonies did not agree. New South Wales was ready to share the burden with England. Queensland shrunk from all responsibility, although the “labour traffic” amongst the islands had contributed to her needs; New Zealand would not assist unless with a voice in administration. Victoria asked for more information, and suggested that no colony should be permitted to acquire privileges in Fiji from which any other “should be shut out.” The burden page 101 remained with England. In July, 1875, Lord Carnarvon asked whether any principle could be adopted by which colonies advocating annexation might in future meet a proportion of its costs. Pressure at the time was brought upon the Colonial Office to colonize a part of New Guinea. It was not until April, 1876, that his ministers enabled the Marquis of Normanby to reply to the circular, and the reply was more argumentative than precise. The Marquis himself was of opinion that, in future, England, if urged by a colony to annex islands, should arrange with the applying colony as to the terms of contribution to maintain the government to be established. Long before the New Zealand reply reached England the Earl of Carnarvon had decided not to take possession of New Guinea and other islands, the annexation of which had been proposed to him.
Among other objects to which Vogel devoted himself was the inscription of colonial stock. Mr. Westgarth, a colonist of Victoria, who had returned to London, had for some time striven unsuccessfully to obtain the registration of colonial securities and to make them passable or not passable to the bearer. The New Zealand negotiator was more fortunate. The Bank of England agreed to inscribe New Zealand stock. The Colonial Office undertook to consider the propriety of introducing a bill to facilitate such transactions for the Australasian colonies, by defining the stamp duties payable, and fixing the rates at which they might be compounded. Vogel left to Dr. Featherston and others the task of promoting the bill. It was not concluded when in June, 1876, resignation, speedily followed by death, removed Dr. Featherston from the scene in which he had borne contumely from the man who was to succeed, and who had been suspected of a design to supplant, him. The Colonial Stock Bill was passed in 1877, while Vogel was Agent-General for New Zealand. No Imperial guarantee, direct or indirect, was attached to the stock. By enabling colonies to convert bonds and debentures into registered stock it was held that business in colonial securities would be facilitated.
Reports from officers in native districts were in one sense encouraging. Major Mair reported that Tawhiao's advisers had “introduced a temperance movement” amongst his page 102 subjects, and that it “had already obtained a strong hold upon the natives.” Other officers reported favourably of the industrious habits of Maoris. Sir D. McLean, through the intervention of Te Wheoro, had a friendly interview with Tawhiao in May, 1876, at Kaipiha, not far from Alexandra, and in the king's territory. The Uriwera tribe were induced by a land purchase officer “to join for the first time in the sale of land.” Four blocks were purchased from them and from the Ngatikahungunu. The price was £12,610 for 157,000 acres, and Sir D. McLean congratulated the land purchase officer on his skill. By purchase and lease Sir Donald negotiated for 615,146 acres in the year ending in June, 1876, and he boasted that one-fifth of the North Island had been secured (6,284,250 acres) for £445,404 2s. 1d.
An attempt, sanctioned by the government, was made in 1876 to exclude Karaitiana Takamoana from the House, where he was a thorn in the side of McLean. A Maori election case deserves to be told. Karaitiana had often denounced McLean's methods of procuring land. With uncontrolled command of funds, McLean, by gifts and persuasions, had induced chiefs to consent to transactions which more jealous Maoris disapproved. Karaitiana declared that the government were violating the law. When the election for the Eastern Maori province was held (Jan., 1876), three other chiefs were nominated against him. He obtained the show of hands at Napier, and at the poll received 401 votes. His opponents received 376, 373 and 145 respectively. At one polling place, Kawa-kawa, no votes were taken, floods having detained the returning officer. A Maori was persuaded to petition against Karaitiana's election. The returning officer made a special return of the facts, but did not return that Karaitiana was elected. On the 16th June it was ordered that on the 27th the House should consider the appointment of a committee to try the petition. It was hoped that a combination of votes adverse to Karaitiana might exclude him if a new election should be ordered. Meantime, as Legislative votes were of importance, it was determined to keep him out of the House. A sharp debate about the sale of the Piako swamp to ministerial supporters had page 103 already intervened, and the government had been placed in a minority in opposing the suspension of the Standing Orders. Indisposition of the Maori petitioner having debarred his attendance, McLean moved the dismissal of the petition. A member pointed out that, if the petition were dismissed and no fresh writ could be issued, the Eastern Maori district would be unrepresented. Major Atkinson revealed that the government weapon had two edges. On dismissal of the petition a new writ might be issued, and thus he presumed the House “would comply with the object of the petitioner.” Taiaroa said that, pending inquiry, Karaitiana ought to take his seat. The fault was with “the government officers, who, perhaps, were vexed at what Karaitiana had said in the House.” Mr. Reader Wood suggested inquiry by a committee. Vogel, asserting that the government “had no feeling in the matter,” desired an adjournment to enable them to consider so “novel” a case. As two of his colleagues had proposed measures for dealing with it, the assertion carried little weight. A select committee was appointed. Mr. Curtis, member for Nelson city, was chairman, and a proposition that, pending a decision, Karaitiana should take his seat, was rejected. On the 4th July, without having heard any evidence, McLean carried in the committee a motion that as no member had been returned a fresh writ should be issued. An interim report to that effect was made to the House, and Vogel moved that the Governor be requested to issue a writ. Mr. Swanson asked for the evidence taken by the committee. Mr. Tole dissented from its report. McLean vied with Vogel in asserting the indifference of the government. The speediest way to confer their electoral rights on the Maoris was to issue a new writ. A member retorted that the speediest way wrould be to direct Karaitiana to take his seat. The Western Maori member, Nahe, though he would have preferred a different representative, thought it but fair that Karaitiana should at once take his seat.4 After much page 104 debate Mr. Stout (Dunedin city) moved that the interim report be referred back to the committee with instructions to report within a week whether any persons were prevented from voting, and whether if so the result of the election had been thereby altered. Vogel, fearing defeat, withdrew his motion. Mr. Stout's motion was carried. The committee took evidence. The tribal influences prevailing were shown in the returns produced. At Napier, Karaitiana, the Ngatikahungunu chief, polled 127 votes. His three opponents polled none. At Opotiki, Karaitiana polled one vote. One Arawa chief polled 64 there, another Arawa 105, and the Ngatiporou candidate 5. It was alleged that at the place where no poll was held the Ngatiporou, though lowest on the general returns, would have received enough votes to place him at the head. Contradictory evidence was received. Henare Tomoana, the foiler of Te Kooti, handed in a list of eighty who had intended to vote for his kinsman, Karaitiana, but were prevented. Mr. Tole moved that Karaitiana had been duly elected, and should be allowed to take his seat. Mr. Stafford moved that an additional poll should be taken at Kawa-kawa, and the votes be added to those already returned. Mr. Stafford's amendment (the third device to exclude Karaitiana) was rejected. Mr. Tole's proposition was carried, together with a paragraph that, though the evidence was conflicting, the committee were of opinion that the result would not have been altered if a poll had been taken at Kawa-kawa. Vogel, making a merit of necessity, announced that the government would not oppose the conclusions arrived at by the committee. The return was ordered to be amended, and on the 8th August Karaitiana took his seat, well understanding the efforts which had been made to exclude him. After such an electoral campaign, McLean could hardly wonder at Karaitiana's opposition. On one occasion the chief declared that he had known McLean from his youth, and “did not know that his works had been good.” page 105 … “The reserves made by the natives for themselves at the time he was Commissioner had been purchased by him. While he was minister, some of these lands were passed through the court, and he bought them. He had bought large blocks for himself… Through plunder he had gained his present position… It was through deceitful sales that he had got so much land.” … Karaitiana, distrustful of the government, threatened to go to England for the justice which was denied to him in the land of his forefathers. Meanwhile he supported Sir G. Grey, the accredited leader of the opposition.
War in New Zealand was transferred from camp to Council. The Governor's opening speech (June, 1876) invited the Parliament, in consequence of the abolition of the provinces, to give to towns and country districts a larger share of self-government than they had previously enjoyed. Counties were to be established, with “powers and revenues of an independent character, but with liberty to adopt concerted action with boroughs and road districts.” A Land Bill was promised. Before the government could proceed to business, an act, done by them before the meeting of the Houses, stopped their way. It will be remembered that a bill, under which Mr. Whitaker would have been enabled to make good a defective title at the Piako swamp, was lost in the Legislative Council in 1875. Mr. Whitaker was a power in the House. He had been frequently a minister. It was convenient to strengthen his friendship. Before the Parliament met, the government ventured upon a bold step. They published an Order-in-Council, making regulations for sale of the land at the Piako swamp to Messrs. Russell, Whitaker, and their associates. Before business was entered upon, Sir G. Grey obtained the suspension of the Standing Orders in order to move that the hand of the government be stayed until the House could discuss the Order-in-Council. When the motion to stay procedure was submitted, the government secured 29 supporters against a like number of opponents. Mr. Fitzherbert voted with the Noes, “that an opportunity might be given for further discussion.” (He had been elected Speaker on the motion of Sir J. Vogel, seconded by Sir G. Grey. Mr. O'Rorke was again Chairman of Committees.) page 106 The debates proved that Vogel had more than once discussed the subject with Mr. Russell when the Piako swamp was applied for (1873), but Vogel declared that to assert that he would favour Mr. Russell or others was beneath contempt. Yet favour had been shown. The Piako swamp was open for selection between 1866 and 1871. At the latter date, under fresh regulations, it ceased to be eligible. Nevertheless, in 1873, the selection at 5s. an acre was unlawfully permitted, with an arrangement that the government should contribute at the rate of 2s. 6d. per acre towards the cost of making a road. Even these terms were designated by Mr. Russell as “too hard;” and Sir D. McLean “considering the heavy outlay” to which the purchasers would be subjected “in roads and drains,” agreed “to accept the payment of 2s. 6d. per acre within two years.” Nor were these all the favours conferred. The block was about 82,000 acres. There was an adjacent block (Tawera) of 5370 acres of good land, and it was added to the Piako block without allowing the public to compete for it,—the government negotiating for its purchase with resident natives, so as to enable Mr. Russell and his friends to receive it. A member told the House that the Tawera block was itself worth all the money paid for the 87,370 acres. Such were the facts which furnished debates extending through many days. But the time was unpropitious for doing justice. The abolition of the provinces seemed to demand that the ministry which abolished them should complete the subsidiary arrangements; and at a meeting of his supporters, Sir J. Vogel coupled continuance of the government with support of the Piako transaction. The members submitted. He carried a motion (22nd June): “That this House will not interfere to prevent the issue in the ordinary course of the Crown grant for the Piako swamp.” It was not until the ministry was thus assured that an unopposed address, in reply to the Governor's speech, was carried. In the Council, in debate on the address, Vogel's former colleague, Mr. Waterhouse, quoted a speech in which Major Atkinson urged electors, if they “desired to secure their interests, to elect Mr. Bryce and Sir J. Vogel unopposed.” Another man wrote to them: “I have no hesitation in saying that a vote of at page 107 least £100,000 might be obtained next session for harbour works for Wanganui by the election of Sir J. Vogel for this district, &c.” “If that is not an attempt at bribery and corruption I do not know what is,” said Mr. Waterhouse. The Piako swamp difficulty engrossed Vogel's attention at the time; but when it was surmounted he called Mr. Water-house's attack “coarse and disgraceful.” He insinuated that the letter about the £100,000 was published to damage his election. He did not deny that Atkinson had expressed a hope that his colleague would be returned unopposed; but the Major was pure and the constituents were pure. Major Atkinson virtuously declared that he knew the constituency too well to make such an offer as Mr. Waterhouse had “dared to insinuate.”
Early in July, Vogel's financial statement was made. The gross public debt was stated to be £19,543,194. The annual charge exceeded £1,000,000 sterling. The general revenue was about £1,703,000; land revenue, £750,000; gold revenue, £85,000. To supplant the provinces, and distribute monies locally, districts to be called counties were to be created. The ministry were “still willing to give” to the counties the license fees collected within them; and “the subsidies payable by the legislation of last year, amounting to £2 to £1, we intend to equally divide between the road districts and the counties.” There would also be granted from the Consolidated Revenue 5s. for every pound raised by private subscriptions “for charitable” purposes. To make the grants possible, the upset price of land was to be changed. Wherever it was less than £2 an acre it would be raised. The government were about, by “a revolution in the system of native land purchasing,” to crown the edifice of New Zealand greatness. The formal resolution moved was to sanction the demand of increased price at all future sales of land, but the amount of increase was not defined. As might be expected, the finger of the government was dreaded. At Canterbury and Otago the provinces had always striven to conform to Wakefield's idea of a sufficient price. At Canterbury it was £2 an acre. At Otago it varied according to classification, reaching sometimes £2 5s. an acre. At Auckland first-class land was 15s. an acre; second-class, 10s.; third-class, 5s.;—and page 108 there were few buyers. Sir G. Grey pointed out that while devising a scheme to raise the upset price, the government had effected, in violation of the law, a sale of the Piako swamp at half-a-crown an acre. Mr. Whitaker blandly assured the House that he, as a purchaser, had no idea of the intentions of the government with regard to price. The Treasurer thought Sir G. Grey's “statement absurd;” and the House, having sanctioned the Piako transaction, could not do right without self-condemnation. Sir G. Grey was certain that “posterity would stamp with reprobation” the action of the ministry.
On the 13th July, a telegram announced the death of Dr. Featherston, the Agent-General, in London. Both Houses adjourned to mark their sense of the loss sustained. Vogel eulogized the dead, and, alluding to his insulting letters to Dr. Featherston, said they were “owing to the necessities of democratic institutions.” Sir G. Grey significantly said that Dr. Featherston always afforded “an example of high-mindedness,” and sought no advantages for himself at the expense of the country. Mr. Fitzherbert, in committee said:—“I have lost a friend, and the colony has lost a great man… His glory is that he died poor… He had ‘abundant opportunities’ to enrich himself.” There were some who coveted the opportunities rather than the high-mindedness which rejected them. There were others who suspected the covetous. Mr. Murray asked (21st July) whether the government would consult the House before appointing an Agent-General. Vogel said that “the Cabinet had not discussed the subject.” Mr. Murray moved that an opportunity should be afforded to the House of “considering any appointment which the government may purpose making of Agent-General.” Vogel gave an assurance “that the government would take the House into their confidence as soon as they had any confidence to give,” and Mr. Murray withdrew his motion. At a later date a member asked whether Vogel had been appointed, and the suspected appointee gave a similar reply, inconsistently adding that it was “impossible for the government to consider the making of such an appointment whilst there were resolutions under consideration which in effect challenged the position of the government.” page 109 One of the resolutions was moved by Mr. Whitaker, a beneficiary in the Piako swamp transaction. On the 1st Aug., he moved that the law by which the land fund was made provincial revenue ought to be revised. “All assets and liabilities of the several provinces should be assets and liabilities of the colony.” When Whitaker had been defeated, Sir G. Grey moved that the state of the colony required revision of its financial and constitutional arrangements,—that “the unity of the colony should be maintained,—and that there should be two local governments, one for each island.” Auckland was to be the seat of the local government of the North Island; Christchurch of the South; and Wellington was to remain the seat of the colonial government. Mr. Woolcock reminded the House that Vogel had in 1874 declared “that £1,500,000 had been diverted from its original purposes through the log-rolling pressure of provincialism. On that point I blame the present occupants of the ministerial benches, and I say to them now that it would have been far more dignified, and would have been far better for their own good name, if they had adhered more firmly to their policy and less closely to their seats on the benches.” Mr. Stout sarcastically showed that in 1870 Mr. Vogel lauded the Public Works and Immigration Acts because they tended to constitute “one province within each island.” “The greatest torture you could give him now would be to compel him to read his speeches in the past.” But victory remained with the tortured. It was while the case was undecided that Vogel said that the government could not consider the appointment of an Agent-General. When Takamoana supported the resolutions, Mr. Tole, who had urged that the chief should take his seat in the House pending an election inquiry, pointed triumphantly to the demeanour of the “gentleman whom it was sought by every possible means—by summary jurisdiction I may say—to oust from the seat in this House to which he was so justly entitled.”
A new member, Mr. Edward Wakefield, made an onslaught upon the government. He had been private secretary to Mr. Stafford. Though now arrayed against Stafford, it was not against him that his shafts were page 110 directed. On the contrary, it was to him he attributed the wholesome measure of abolition. He declared that he supported Sir G. Grey's resolutions as the complement to abolition. He attacked McLean as an incubus upon the country. He denied that McLean had secured peace. He denied that the prosperity of recent years was due to Vogel's policy. “I say distinctly, and I am prepared to prove, that the ministry which has virtually been the ministry of the present Premier since 1869, has been the most corrupt ministry that ever held office in this country.” Abolition was advocated by Stafford from the heart; by Vogel “to prolong his tenure of office.”
The resolutions in favour of reconsideration of financial and constitutional arrangements and of maintaining the unity of the colony were accepted. On the question “That there should be two local governments, one for each island,” the government successfully resisted. But they were weaker in the new than in the old House, and Vogel recognized the expediency of feathering his nest elsewhere. He announced (29th Aug.) that his colleagues had pressed him to accept the office of Agent-General, and that he had consented to do so for a brief period. At his suggestion Major Atkinson had been called upon to form a new ministry. Suspicions were excited. That there was foundation for them was exposed in 1878 by Mr. Stout, and was virtually confessed by Major Atkinson. The words spoken in 1878 throw vivid light upon the deeds of 1876. “Was it true,” asked Mr. Stout, “that Sir J. Vogel was to cease to be Agent-General, and that he was to get an enormous sum, something like £18,000, for inscribing the stock?” Major Atkinson denied. “The honourable gentleman cannot deny that it was proposed that Sir J. Vogel should get a percentage for inscribing the stock.” “Major A.— Hear, hear. As one of the agents. Mr. Stout.—Of course that was the agreement. He was to cease to be Agent-General; and a friend of the government (Mr. Stafford) … was to be rewarded for his protection of the government by being put into the position of Agent-General.” … Atkinson denied that there was any arrangement; but his catechist would not be foiled. “I admit,” he said, “that there was no bargain, but was it not intended if the page 111 government remained in office that Sir J. Vogel should cease to be Agent-General and that (Stafford) the friend and guide of the honourable gentleman was to be appointed in his stead? Major A.—If he wished it. Mr. Stout.—Exactly. If he wished it. And the honourable gentleman does not call that an arrangement. Major A.—An official offer had never been made. Mr. Stout.—It was arranged behind the scenes,5 and that is why we want a Disqualification Bill, because arrangements of this sort do not tend to the purity of Parliament.”
These things were studiously concealed when, with the potentiality of place in the eyes of Stafford, and commission on inscription of stock looming large in his own, the budding Agent-General of the hour addressed the House in 1876. With much truth and equal affectation of sorrow he affirmed that the land, “which would always remind him of the successes he had won,” would be left by him with great regret, but he felt he was pursuing the right course. Mr. Rolleston said that Vogel, employed on his return from England, in order to carry out the loan policy, was now, by grasping at a subordinate post, inflicting an unconstitutional wrong upon New Zealand. Mr. Waterhouse in the Council declared that just as a crucial period of the loan policy had been reached, and it was imperative to substitute a new form of government for that which had at Vogel's instigation been destroyed, Vogel, on a plea of ill-health, was slipping from his responsibilities. The plea of ill-health might be disregarded inasmuch as the office of Agent-General was engrossing and responsible. Moreover, no steps should have been taken to appoint him to that post while his unauthorized drawing of an advance of £4000 from the Agent-General in 1875 was unexplained to Parliament. The ministry formed under Major Atkinson on the 1st Sept. did not live a fortnight. Mr. Ormond was a member, and so was Mr. Whitaker, who had a few days before divided against the ministry on Sir G. Grey's separation resolutions, and was therefore hostile to the policy which Major Atkinson announced that the new ministry would maintain. Mr. Waterhouse (4th Sept.) showed that under a Disqualifications Act there could legally be only page 112 seven ministers sitting in Parliament, and that Mr. Whitaker (under the Attorney-General's Act 1866) was incapable, while Attorney-General, of being a minister or sitting in Parliament.
In the Lower House Major Atkinson had no sooner announced the formation of the ministry than Mr. Andrew asking the House to disapprove of the offer of the post of Agent-General to Vogel, reminded it that the Crown agents in London had requested that “their names might not in future be associated with that of Sir J. Vogel,” and contemptuously added that if the friends of the latter wished to set him up in business in London, it would be better to vote him “£3000 or even £4000, and have done with the matter.” The “previous question” averted sentence, but could not silence censure. One member denounced the appointment as “the most in famous job that ever disgraced the annals of the colony.” Mr. Reader Wood reminded the House of the insults cast by Vogel upon the unsullied Featherston—“evidently as it appears to me with the object of driving him to resign his office as Agent-General in order that he might accept that coveted position into which he has schemed himself at last.” Taiaroa was sorry that Vogel was going away before the public works he boasted of could be completed, and the loans definitely dealt with. He saw no harm in employing Vogel in England if he wanted employment, but he was by no means the only man of knowledge in New Zealand. “I think there are many other people here wiser than he… The government say he is the only man. Who knows whether he is? The colony has done him much honour. Let him be treated as Mordecai of old; let him be put upon a horse … let him be sent away from New Zealand.” Mr. Whitaker affected to be ignorant whether Vogel would accept the appointment under the conditions with which it would be clogged. Vogel raised his voice no more in the House. On the 16th August he had complained of the “foul-mouthed abuse” he had heard in the House, which made him “almost ashamed at times to be a member.”
His words were taken down, and he said the result was “eminently unsatisfactory” to him.6page 113
On more than one occasion, and in more than one Australian colony, deliberative institutions have been abused by a resort to the physical force represented by bodily endurance. New Zealand became the scene of such a display after Major Atkinson's junction with Mr. Whitaker. The Disqualification Committee of the Council reported (8th Sept.) adversely to Mr. Whitaker's contention as to his position, and on the 12th the Council adopted the report. In the Lower House a committee was appointed (7th Sept.) to consider whether the law had been infringed by the ministry. Confronted by inquiry, Mr. Whitaker did not adhere to his first opinion. He introduced an Attorney-General's Bill to save his position. It was set down for the second reading (8th Sept.) but the government had not circulated it to members, and it was postponed. On the same night the government by a large majority carried a Waste Lands Bill, which extended the principle of deferred payments throughout the colony. On the 11th Sept. Major Atkinson moved the suspension of the Standing Orders, in order that he might force through all its stages a Civil List Bill then exhibited for the first time. Mr. Whitaker had (4th Sept.) invited Mr. Rees and Mr. Stout to test his opinion in the Court of Appeal, and Sir G. Grey put the law in motion to test the value of Whitaker's invitation. The Civil List Bill was an ample reply. Sir G. Grey assailed the ministry for breaking their pledge to test the matter in the courts. The ministerial whip retorted subsequently that Sir G. Grey was “a common informer,” for endeavouring to act upon the pledge. On the 12th Sept. Mr. Whitaker, whose position afforded the main butt for the missiles of the opposition, moved the second reading of the Civil List Bill. Mr. Stout answered him, the debate was adjourned, and the ministry sought to evade difficulties by a resignation of office by all except Major Atkinson, and the resumption of office by the limited number permitted by the law. The Disqualification Committee made an interim report (13th Sept.), not obscurely hinting that the ministerial position was unsound, and Major Atkinson promptly announced the fact that the resignations had been tendered. The House adjourned for a few hours, and reassembled again to hear page 114 from the distressed Premier that a further change had been found needful. He also had resigned and had been re-appointed, and the once-confident Whitaker, abandoning his position as Attorney-General, had become, temporarily, Postmaster.
Before the new state of affairs was discussed, Taiaroa moved the second reading of a Maori Representation Bill. He wished to give five members to the North Island and two to the Middle. The House generally sympathized with him, but Whitaker and Sir D. McLean urged that the bill should only be read a second time, and that the matter should then be left to the care of the government in the recess. Taiaroa reminded the House that the existing law would expire in the following year. In 1872, he and Katene had saved the Maoris from electoral extinction by an early visit to Sir G. Bowen. “If this matter be put off till next year, and a dissolution should occur before the end of the year, what will be the position of the Maori members? I suppose we shall be expected to go betimes in the morning and wake the Governor again.” Four Maori votes were of some consequence, and Taiaroa carried his bill. In committee the provision to increase the number of members was rejected by a majority of 15, Sir D. McLean voting against the increase. In the Council, Captain Fraser, Mr. Hall, and Mr. Holmes remarked, in passing the bill (27th Sept.), that the legislature had profited much by the intelligence of the Maori members. Captain Fraser said:—“The conduct of the Maoris in the Council would compare very favourably with that of the European members.” The European members in the Lower House were meanwhile presenting a strange spectacle to the Southern world. By 37 votes against 15, Mr. Montgomery carried (13th Sept.) the second reading of a bill to preclude the acceptance of paid offices by members. Throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday, night and day, wordy war was continued on points of order and amendments in the House. The government having maintained their position, Major Atkinson introduced an irregular Indemnity Bill, which relieved the ministers from all expenses of the actions initiated after Whitaker invited Mr. Stout to test the question of disqualification page 115 in the courts of Law. The bill was passed. When Mr. Whitaker denounced the conduct of the opposition as disgraceful, Mr. Wakefield retorted that every honourable member must recollect the infinitely more disgraceful scene in 1868, when Sir J. Vogel was scheming to expel the Stafford ministry, and the House was made “a perfect pandemonium.” Favours secret and precious had converted the foes of 1868 into the co-mates of 1876.
Atkinson's new ministry was formed on the 13th Sept., and the Counties Bill was successfully proceeded with. Power was given to the Governor in Council to alter the boundaries of counties by proclamation. A scale of voting was fixed, by which persons rated at less than £50 were to have one vote; persons rated at £50 to £100 were to have two votes; those rated at from £100 to £150 were to have three votes; those rated at from £150 to £350 were to have four; and those rated at £350 and upwards were to have five votes. An analogous provision had been in operation in Victoria for many years in boroughs and shires. It did not extend to elections for either House of Parliament, nor was it proposed that it should do so in New Zealand. Strenuous efforts were made by a minority, including Sir G. Grey, to excise the provision from the bill. The third reading was made a vehicle for opposition to the abolition of provinces, to which the bill was ancillary; but there was a majority of 21 in its favour. Rates, tolls, fines, and other endowments were secured for the counties, and under a separate Financial Arrangements Act a portion of the land fund in each district was allotted to them. The Legislative Council objected to the borrowing powers conferred, and more than one free conference was held before mutual concessions secured a final agreement, and the bill became law. The same fate attended a Rating Bill. The Financial Arrangements Bill provided for subsidies to county councils, to road boards, and to river boards. A member complained that provincialism had been abolished only in name while its evils were kept alive; but the bill was passed.
It will not have been forgotten that when Vogel was Treasurer he declared that a million and a-half sterling devoted to railways had been diverted to provincial purposes, page 116 and represented the amount paid to purchase support in the provinces. The evil which he privately pampered and publicly bemoaned was kept in vigour by the measures of his successors. The fourth section of the Financial Arrangements Act having charged the land fund with interest on provincial debts and subsidies to county councils, road boards, and river boards, and various local wants—and the 13th section having commanded the consolidated fund to issue for five years to every borough council a sum equal to its general rate not exceeding one shilling in the pound, and to every county council and road board a “sum equal to the sum payable to such county or board out of the land fund”—the 15th section kept alive the purchasing power of the government by enabling the Treasurer to make temporary advances “to meet payments authorized by this or any other Act, before it is known to which of the accounts provided by section 4 the same are chargeable.” It was in vain that the opponents of the abolition scheme averred that the evils of the provincial system, if any, were stereotyped under another name, by the new law, while provincial independence and local government were destroyed. A Waste Lands Act (40 Vict., No. 51) defined the territories which were to become land districts throughout the colony, and substituted the word Governor throughout for the familiar term of Superintendents of the provinces. Sent to the Legislative Council a few days before the end of the session, the bill was amended, amid many complaints that more time had not been afforded for its consideration. After conference between the Houses, it was passed confessedly as a temporary measure. It did not abolish the existing differences in the upset price of land in various provinces, and left a legacy of trouble to a future session. The prophet of the age in burning words had denounced the gospel of mammonism which he saw, like a many-handed monster, crawling over Europe, and choking the nobler aspirations which from the truer heart of man teach that the end of government is “to guide men in the way wherein they should go, towards their true good in this life, the portal of infinite good in the life to come; to guide men in such way, and ourselves in such way, as the page 117 Maker of men, whose eye is upon us, will sanction at the great day.”7 That against which he raised his trumpet-voice in the old world was unchallenged in the new. To make well-ordered and to train for infinite happiness the dwellers in New Zealand was not the task to which its lawmakers were invited. To make the land clank with the multitudinous noises of labour, to swell its lists of exports and imports, to wrest from it its mineral wealth regardless of the ends to which it was to be applied—this was the highest hope of those to whose guidance the land was committed, and they were mainly enabled to perform it by the scrapers for gold who controlled elections in the populous south, which first sent Mr. Vogel to the halls of legislation. More money was required in 1876, and a new Loan Act (£1,000,000) was passed. The public debt at the end of the year exceeded £20,000,000 sterling. Sir G. Grey protested against the new loan on the grounds that Auckland “had not received anything like that share of the loans to which it was entitled,” and that the Abolition Act had been passed without fair appeal to the constituencies; but, as the House in which he spoke had been elected in the beginning of 1876, members paid little heed to him. In his wrath at the destruction of the provinces, whose cradle he had rocked, and at whose funeral obsequies he was so piteous a mourner, he embittered the enmities existing between himself and others. Nor was he scrupulous in the use of weapons. There is no greater danger to public order in a population injected in a random manner from abroad, rather than growing up as a community on the spot, than the plots of party leaders, who, failing to carry a measure, gratify their spleen by seeking to subvert the Constitution. In lands where law has broadened down from precedent to precedent, and where generation after generation has entwined with the love of country veneration for ancestry, the danger has culminated in rapine and disaster. In a colony where eager adventurers carve with strong hand their own way, they are, from the nature of things, procacious, and, when thwarted, turbulent. The responsibility and the sin are the greater in him who incites them, and Sir G. Grey must bear full blame for the steps page 118 he took to effect his objects. Only reverence for the principles of English common law preserves English colonists from dangers which men from other countries have found sufficient to debar them from founding prosperous communities; and that reverence Sir G. Grey did much to impair. If existing institutions would not bend to him, he would impeach them. Like angry Juno,8 thwarted above, he turned to those below. On their passions he might play. The disease of democracy, an ignorant tyranny of numbers, might waft him into power. The base Cleon persuaded the select citizens of Athens, where all menial work was done by voteless slaves, to decree the destruction of all citizens of a Greek town, and the sale of their wives and children. What might not an eloquent demagogue hope to do when the mainstay of his power resided not in citizens of ancient lineage, but in the proletarii of the age, thousands of whom had swarmed to the shores of New Zealand to gather gold, and were endowed by the folly or arts of her politicians with as ample power over her happiness as the soberest of her sons? On the 21st Oct., Sir G. Grey having failed to carry a Manhood Suffrage Bill, brought in a bill to establish Triennial Parliaments.
Triennial Parliaments, unless they produce the same men for the most part, and thus show that a fresh election was not needed, are violent disturbances. They tend also to neutralize the efforts of the patriotic. In the first session of a new Parliament an appreciable proportion of new members has not acquired a fitness for its work. If the third session be also the last, their minds are unsettled by the approaching dissolution. There is but one session in which they can hope to be of use. They are driven or led to shun the function of representatives by accepting the meaner task of delegates. Thus only can they hope for a renewal of what they call public confidence, but feel in their hearts to be a negation of principle. Sir G. Grey averred that “public opinion changed so rapidly in colonial countries” that triennial parliaments would be an improvement. His bill was shelved by 32 votes against 22. His enemies decried him for the wild opinions which he advocated with the apparent desire to grasp power; and page 119 not in New Zealand alone there were many regrets that a man who had done good service to the State should strive to destroy the temple in which he was not allowed to act as high priest. To aim at constitutional changes for their own sake is one thing. But for a statesman sworn to obey the Constitution to aim at change in order to wreak his own will is another. It is the act of the discontented gambler, who, having been a loser, breaks up the tables. In this instance the laws had been for the most part framed by the loser. But he had many friends and admirers in New Zealand. His reputation, as to knowledge of Maoris and their language and laws, was superior to that of Donald McLean, who was no longer the accepted oracle that he had been when on each side of the House candidates for office were suppliants for his aid. Sir G. Grey was a power in the House with which McLean had no pretensions to cope, and men said that the Native Minister's life was embittered by the attacks made against him. The old man found defenders; but it was evident that his day had departed.
Sir G. Grey did not improve his own position by entering into controversy with the Marquis of Normanby. Forgetful of his own contests as a Governor, he threw obstacles in the way of the Marquis which should have been repugnant to a noble mind. Once he had wrestled, and not in vain, with the rash injustice of Earl Grey. He had resisted the clamour of Fox and others for popular institutions, which would have been wrested to the wreaking of wrongdoing upon the Maoris. Again, when Fox, wanting the heroic faculty himself, would not recognize the qualities which in the person of Te Oriori rebuked him, Sir G. Grey had occasion to feel how critical and galling the position of a Governor could be made, and how right it was that no man should run even the slightest risk of dragging into the arena of public debate the name of any Governor who was himself sensible of the impartial duty of his position. Yet he strove to embroil the Marquis of Normanby in the political discussions arising out of the abolition of the provinces.
A Taranaki land-claim bill deserves special mention because it throws light upon the methods by which Vogel page 120 and his colleagues carried their measures with the aid of Mr. Stafford. Mr. F. A. Carrington, Superintendent of the Taranaki province, was a member of the House. In August he moved for a committee upon what he called the Sartoris and Downe claims. Money had been paid for land selected at Taranaki under the supposition that the transactions of the New Zealand Company in 1840 could confer a title. Mr. Carrington, who had been employed at Taranaki, went to England in 1844, and importuned the New Zealand Company on behalf of his clients. He averred in 1876 that it was through his means that a clause in the Imperial Act 10 and 11 Victoria provided that “those lands whenever they were acquired should be the property of the parties who held the land orders.” The claims and liabilities of the company had fallen upon the government when the company expired. A local law (Land Order and Scrip Act 1856) appeared to Carrington to “deprive the parties of the land originally selected.” He interceded, and the Act was amended in 1858. The rape of the Waitara was in 1860. War and confiscation followed. But, according to Carrington's statement, when the booty had been seized the robbers disagreed about its distribution. In 1866 an Act was passed against which he appealed to the Secretary of State. Further steps were taken on the spot, and in 1872 Carrington, having obtained a seat in the House, was instrumental in the passing of the “Taranaki New Zealand Company's Land Claims Act 1872,” which authorized the valuation of the land (originally selected) by a commissioner. Blood-value was to be the reward, not of the land-order holders, but of the province. The land was valued, and Carrington “got the land orders. When he produced the land orders he was told that there was no land.” Such was his tale on the 17th Aug., 1876. He obtained a committee, which (4th Oct.) reported that the order-holders could best be satisfied by money awards, or by grants of land in other parts of the Taranaki province, howsoever acquired by the government.
Major Atkinson brought down a message from the Governor (26th Oct.), with a bill “to settle certain land claims in the province of Taranaki.” “It was proposed to page 121 set apart a block of land … and to allow the Waste Lands Board of Taranaki to fix the conditions and the price of the land which the claimants (represented by Carrington) were to take.” The Taranaki land fund was “very small,” and the bill, thus suddenly thrust upon the House on the eve of prorogation, proposed to recoup the province from the general revenue one-third of the amount of the award to the claimants in order that “the road passing by this land” might have a certain expenditure “upon it, in order to carry out the settlement of the country.” Major Atkinson said little to rouse suspicion. But a member from the south “did not see why the colony should be compelled to spend £6000 when the claim was entirely on the land fund of Taranaki.” Stafford rushed to the rescue. The demand was moderate. He trusted Mr. Reynolds would not persist in his opposition. But other members scented danger. One said the affair “looked very much like a job, as the Premier came from that province, that this money should be given to it at the expense of the rest of the colony.” Nevertheless, Atkinson carried the bill through all its stages on the same day. On Saturday, the 28th, it reached the Council, and Dr. Pollen moved the second reading immediately after the first. He dissented from the Act of 1872, and the award made under it, but considered that the honour of the colony was committed to the principles in the bill. Mr. Waterhouse had met Mr. Carrington in a lobby, and that gentleman had “assured him on his honour that it was all right.” Mr. Waterhouse was confident, nevertheless, that it was not right that, in such a bill, there should be a clause foreign to its title, and applying the sum of £6000 out of the public works account to the purpose of a road. The Governor could not assent to such a provision in such a bill. Some members thought that the claimants would be severely treated if they should be made to suffer because the fourth clause was irregular. The Speaker, remarking that the bill had only at that moment been put into his hands, thought that the tack of an appropriation clause made it necessary for the Council “either to reject the bill altogether or accept it.” Mr. Mantell declared that he would vote against the third reading page 122 of the bill unless the fourth clause should be excised in committee, and Dr. Pollen (the Colonial Secretary) considered it was competent for the Council to alter any of the clauses. The bill was read a second time, and the Council struck out the fourth clause. Mr. Mantell called the attention of the government to the fact that there was “a very painful rumour afloat,” that “some member of the Legislature was to receive fees for the passing of the bill.” On the same day Major Atkinson briefly moved that the Representatives agree to the amendment made by the Council. Sir G. Grey opposed the motion in order that “an honourable member who strongly supported the bill might make a statement.” Major Atkinson then explained that the government “in order to avoid conflict between the Houses” were willing to abandon the fourth clause, and would provide £6000 “out of the unauthorized expenditure,” the House being committed to the grant. Members were dissatisfied, and Mr. Carrington, being called upon, said he had a double duty. As superintendent he had to “look after the interests of the Taranaki province; as guardian in the case of Sartoris and Downe he was sworn (in the case of Downe)” to obtain justice for his clients. “He had received nothing from any one since he came to the colony for this particular work.” Such an explanation made matters worse. Sir G. Grey pressed his motion to disagree with the amendment, in order that full inquiry might be made. Mr. Carrington denied that his vote had efficacy except on the road question. It had “nothing to do with the Sartoris and Downe claim and award, which ought to have been paid” when made. Pressed further, he admitted that he had told one of the claimants that “he would not accept more than 10 per cent.” (The total award was nearly £18,000.) The speaker declared that “if the matter came to a division, he would ask Carrington to say distinctly whether he had a pecuniary interest in the matter or not.” The government was defeated. Mr. Carrington did not vote. A committee was appointed to prepare reasons for disagreement with the amendment. The committee could not agree. A debate about appointing a fresh committee was, on the motion of Mr. Whitaker adjourned, and though revived on the following day was page 123 put an end to by prorogation, which decided at the same time the fate of the bill.9 On the 31st Oct., 1876, the wearied Houses were dismissed to their homes without the usual vice-regal speech.
After the colonies in the Pacific became self-governing, their public debts advanced with gigantic strides. In 1873 the New Zealand debt was little less than £11,000,000. In 1877 it exceeded £20,000,000, and there was little prospect that Treasurers would resist the pressure which, according to his own statement, had made one of them misappropriate a million and a half sterling. The payment of interest on the debt was not oppressive while trade was prosperous, but there were ominous signs that when more money might be needed there were partisans who would, to elude economy, raise funds by class legislation which would be but a thinly veiled act of plundering those who were, or were thought to be, rich.10
One or two facts as to the revenues of the provinces will explain the feverish excitement about provincial land funds, and at the same time furnish a striking proof that the colonization principles of Edward Gibbon Wakefield had borne best fruit where most faithfully adhered to. New Zealand contained nearly 68,000,000 of acres: of which, page 124 omitting fractions, there were 17,000,000 in Auckland, 13,000,000 in Otago, 8,000,000 in Canterbury, 7,000,000 in Nelson, and smaller quantities in the other provinces. It was undisputed that Canterbury had striven to adhere to Wakefield's principle of demanding a sufficient price for land:—sufficient, i.e., to bar the employed from becoming landowners until it was desirable for the general weal that they should do so, and to bar capitalists from acquiring large areas at insufficient prices. It was equally undeniable that, surrounded by provinces some of which offered land at a cheaper rate (and not remote from Australian colonies which did likewise) Canterbury was compelled to test Wakefield's theories under great disadvantage.
Yet Canterbury, out of her 8,693,000 had sold 2,300,000 acres for £3,608,000, while Auckland out of her 17,000,000 had for 2,144,000 acres received only £274,000.11 Otago had striven to adhere to Wakefield's principles. She had received for little more than 2,000,000 acres £1,787,000. Joining together the results in Canterbury and Otago (including Southland) the comparison with other provinces is startling. Out of 11,915,393 acres sold, from the foundation of the colony till 31st Oct., 1876, for £8,101,859, the enormous proportion of £5,395,000 had been received by Canterbury and Otago for less than 4,500,000 acres. For about the same quantity of land as that sold by Auckland, Canterbury had received thirteen times as much money. And Canterbury was so prosperous that the hearts page 125 of Gibbon Wakefield's pupils might rejoice. It was not to be wondered at that the dwellers in Canterbury, while aiding to abolish the provinces, strove to retain for themselves the reaping of that which they had sown. It was perhaps impossible to see what was plain to unbiassed observers,—that no sense of justice would restrain the new central government from opening the purse which they had seized. Having combined with others to override the will of her neighbours, Canterbury was to learn that others would combine against her.
It could not be doubted that the special advantages secured for Canterbury by the sagacity of her founders and the exertions of her settlers would be swallowed up by the needs of a minister in search of money, assisted by craving representatives from other parts of New Zealand. The waste lands of the province to which peculiar value had been given by local laws, and which would under them have been applied for local needs, were to be clutched by others than the dwellers in the province. Raising the price of land elsewhere was likely to promote purchases in Canterbury, and to alienate rapidly the territory on which she had relied for her own aggrandizement, and to which her regulations had given exceptional value. It was little consolation to think that in after times the value of land in other districts might be enhanced, for that also would disappear, and then taxation would lay its hand upon the accumulations of the past to meet the demands (for interest and principal) of the millions, which, at the rate of about £1,000,000 a year, were being added to New Zealand debts. There was much to be said for the policy of centralizing the colonial administration on general grounds, although it was bitter for the provinces to receive their death-draught from the hands of him who gained confidence as their champion. Bitterer still would it be for the men of Canterbury to feel in after times that the safeguards on which they had relied to protect their local revenues would be rent asunder by the centralism they assisted to create. Their remedy was about to be sought under a ministry of which a Canterbury settler was the leader, and it consisted in a rough resort to single electorates of equal population, because at the time when the experiment was made page 126 Canterbury and Otago were more populous than other districts.
An event, of which the significance was felt beyond the confines of New Zealand, occurred during the recess. The man whose existence as Native Minister had made ministries possible passed away. A sufferer from rheumatic fever in bygone times, worn by anxiety, and harassed by the fierce light thrown upon his official position by unfriendly criticisms, Sir Donald McLean died in Jan., 1877. He had resigned office in December, and had entreated the Maoris to support the government in which his successor (Dr. Pollen) would pursue McLean's policy. He left devoted friends, Pakeha and Maori. The latter assembled to hold a tangi, or mourning celebration. The ancient war-dance, the imported funeral volleys, the orations by chiefs, the chants, and wailing of hundreds of natives, declared the grief of the tribes. Mr. Ormond addressed them, and Mr. Douglas McLean expressed his gratitude for the love shown to his father's memory. A grand war-dance closed the obsequies in honour of “the great Maori mystery-man.”
Dr. Pollen had an interview with Rewi, who agreed to discuss matters within his own territory, in order that he might stand on a good footing. The chief recurred to the burden of Tawhiao, “the return of the Waikato to their ancestral lands;” but Dr. Pollen adhered to the policy of Sir Donald McLean. The re-cession of the confiscated land was impossible, but the government would deal liberally with such of the tribe as might return and settle on unalienated reserves available for the purpose. Diplomacy was at a stand.
Litigation meanwhile raised hopes. The Hawke's Bay purchases had afforded opportunities to Mr. Sheehan. When all the legal talent at Hawke's Bay had been secured for the purchasers of the Heretaunga block, he had been invited from Auckland as the Maori advocate. At Napier he had, in 1873, appeared before a commission appointed under an Act of 1872 to inquire into the alienation of native lands. Judge (C. W.) Richmond presided. The Pakeha Maori, Mr. Maning, assisted, with two Maori commissioners, Hikairo and Te Wheoro. The report and evidence filled 256 pages of a New Zealand blue-book, and page 127 Judge Richmond feared that its mass would seem “as untractable as was the business with which we had to deal.” Fraud in transactions was the gravamen of the complaints of the Maoris. Inadequate consideration, pressure of old debts, the appropriation of “part of the purchase-money to pay off old scores for spirits” (at a time when it was illegal to allow such debts to be created), incompleteness of payments, secret gifts to procure signatures, deceptive acts on the part of interpreters, want of explanation and of legal advice, were some of the grounds on which Mr. Sheehan's clients impugned the Hawke's Bay purchases.
The European commissioners intimated early in the proceedings that they would not allow the payment of consideration in spirits to vitiate a transaction otherwise unexceptionable. In one case £370, or nearly 40 per cent, of the total, had been so paid. Mr. Justice Richmond reported:—
“This resolution of ours was adopted as members of a court of conscience expressly freed from the obligation of legal precedent. Whatever the law may say upon the matter, it appeared to us that it would be unconscientious on the part of a native who had received value in this shape to attempt to rip up the transaction… At all events, that the law allows repudiation cannot make repudiation honourable or right. On this ground we determined that the native vendor was, in foro conscientice, debarred from raising this objection.”
There was a flaw in this reasoning to which the judge made no allusion. The signatures of the vendors were signatures of those who had become Crown grantees to satisfy the New Zealand land laws. They were fiduciaries for their tribes, and were so deemed by the Maoris. By Judge Richmond's dictum, if a wily agent could obtain the signature of a drunken trustee the rights of innocent hundreds would in a court of conscience be set at nought. It would have been possible to punish an offending Maori trustee without defrauding the innocent. As Judge Richmond has occupied, deservedly, considerable space in New Zealand story, he may be permitted to explain the moral grounds of his dictum.
“That a breach of law should be remunerated by allowing one of the offenders to break a contract is an anomaly with which it is to be hoped that the native people will not be allowed to make practical acquaintance, as it would tend doubly to weaken their still feeble sense of legal and moral obligation. It would make the matter worse that to the Maori should belong page 128 all the pleasure and the profit,12 while on the Pakeha would fall the whole penalty of wrong-doing. No worse lesson could be given to a people who have yet to learn that they must themselves bear the burden of their own follies and misdeeds, and not hope to shift it on other shoulders.”
No one denied that it was unlawful to include a charge for spirits in the accounts, and that many transactions were completed in public-houses.
Hikairo could not agree with his brother commissioners. He declared that the ten grantees were “chosen as trustees” by the majority of those interested in Heretaunga; they were not to sell. He challenged the inclusion of store and spirit debts in the price for the land, the undue pressure brought separately to bear on the trustees, “sometimes on the roads, sometimes in public-houses, sometimes in bedrooms, sometimes upon the sick. I do not think this was a proper way of making a sale of land.” He thought the interpreters, “acting only for the lessees and storekeepers,” had caused trouble; and it was elicited in cross-examination that they were to receive from the purchasers a special fee on the sale. On this point Judge Richmond sympathized with Hikairo. “The position was a false one… I cannot wonder at the distrust of the interpreters displayed by the native vendors… The interpreter who translates and explains the contract or conveyance ought to be absolutely neutral… His private business may send him to serve a writ sued out by the purchaser to compel specific performance… Something very like this occurred in the case of Heretaunga.” Nevertheless the judge thought that the interpreters had at Heretaunga acted uprightly; although the double functions assumed by them would have “strongly affected his mind”13 if he had doubted whether the sellers knew what they were doing. He did not close his report without admitting that simple as were the requirements that the native ownership should be ascertained, and the general consent to its extinction secured—“they have been disregarded in the existing law as practically administered.” He recommended alterations in the law in which he substantially agreed with suggestions made by Sir W. Martin and Dr. Shortland. They had also advised a very crucial check upon fraud, viz., that all purchase-money for native land should be paid into court; but the Commission thought such a provision unnecessary if other improvements should be made in the law.page 129
In the evidence tendered to the Commission, Mr. Ormond was shown to have been one of the purchasers of the Heretaunga block. He was at the time Government Agent and Superintendent at Hawke's Bay. When he persuaded Henare Tomoana to enter upon a campaign against Te Kooti, Ormond had induced a man named Sutton to stay proceedings against H. Tomoana, and Sutton adroitly obtained judgment by default against Tomoana behind his back in the matter of a writ. It was after consultation with Tanner, the lessee, that Ormond obtained suspension14 of the proceedings against Tomoana. Various devices were resorted to by Sutton and others to procure signatures to deeds of sale. Originally the Heretaunga block had been leased for 21 years, and the lessees inserted improvement clauses the tendency of which might incommode the Maori owners if they should wish to re-enter into possession. But more rapid improvement was desired. There had been an invalid lease in the first instance. Another was made after the Crown grantees were constituted in 1867. In 1869, various trains were laid to extort their consent to a sale. With grantees who were drunkards little difficulty was apprehended. One of them, Kawatini, was persuaded, without consultation with the others, to convey his interest to a butcher, who served Tanner, the lessee, with notice to pay to the butcher Kawatini's proportion of the Heretaunga rents. Tanner (to bar expensive proceedings, though at first he had slighted Parker's position on the ground that a grantee could not sell without consent of the others) page 130 employed a solicitor (Nov., 1869) to watch for him an action in the Supreme Court, which Kawatini (said to have been seldom sober at the time) had been induced to bring against Parker. The case was discontinued by consent. It was arranged that the friendly Tanner should buy Kawatini's interest; and an equally friendly solicitor, Cuff, kindly examined the accounts with Kawatini. “I see an entry (Cuff deposed) ‘Attending on Waaka (Kawatini) and going through accounts.’ I went through the accounts with Waaka several times.” The result was that Tanner secured the signature of the drunken grantee to the sale of the Heretaunga block. The evidence filled nearly 300 pages. Two will exhibit some of its peculiarities. Mr. Ormond admitted that an additional sum was paid after the execution of the deed. “We took advice and were advised to pay it.” Some of the grantees were to receive annuities. One of them was Pahoro. Asked if it was ever proposed to give him an annuity, Ormond replied in the negative, adding: “It would only have been an additional drunk in the course of the year.” Asked by the chairman (C. W. Richmond) if the after-payment was understood to be a secret matter, Ormond replied: “No. My understanding was that we had to pay a bribe to secure his co-operation, and the simple question in my mind was whether it was worth doing so or not.”15 According to Mr. Ormond public opinion had been so far educated that it was unnecessary to conceal what was understood to be a bribe in obtaining signatures of trustees who were fiduciaries for their tribe. Amongst devices to obtain signatures of the grantees was paying sums of money for them, in order to make them debtors to the plotters. Mr. Sutton was asked if he paid away a large sum shortly after an arrangement about Pahoro's and Paramena's claims. He said: “£250 for a steam-threshing machine. I suspect it had been bought previously with Paramena's money.” “Then” (said counsel) “he had the satisfaction of paying for it twice over?” “I believe so,” responded the knowing Sutton. “Why did you retain Pahora's money instead of paying it over?” “He has never asked for it. He has come to me page 131 for sums of £5 or £10, which I have always paid when he has been sober.” “Then you are still in his debt?” said the chairman. “There is a small balance of £40 or £50 still.” “Is he aware of this?” “I believe he is—as much as a man can be aware who is almost constantly drunk.” One Davie, an hotelkeeper, was in the habit of dealing with Paramena. The negotiators resorted to him. The interpreter whom they employed told Davie that it was desired to obtain an order from Paramena. Davie went to Paramena with the interpreter. “It was useless to ask Paramena for so small an order as £30, as I could get that sum from him at any time… He had settled with me only a week or two before. I had no doubt he would pay when I asked. I was unwilling to go at all, thinking it was coming rather sharp on him.” Forty pounds was the amount fixed upon. Paramena was unwilling “to receive money on account of Heretaunga,” but the interpreter overcame his scruples and he signed. The order was drawn on Williams, one of the purchasers, but he did not pay it. Davie asked Williams twice and Orrmond once for payment. When Ormond was reluctant to pay Davie said: “If he would not give me a cheque I would tear up the note. He then gave me a cheque.” The careful Sutton, according to Paramena's evidence, obtained a power of attorney from Paramena, and when the latter was asked to sign the conveyance he did so, saying: “There is nothing for me to do but to sign. I am always signing. I am not desirous to sell.” Tanner asked him in court if he raised any objection to the terms of the document, and he replied: “No; because you said it would be useless for me to oppose it.” Pahoro said that when the agent went to him to procure his consent at a public-house, “we drank a good deal. There were twenty persons drunk.” The interpreters employed by the purchasers were promised (irrespective of their authorized fees) a bonus of £300 if the purchase should be negotiated. The chairman (Judge Richmond) condemned such a procedure. “As soon as an interpreter takes a lump sum for his success, he necessarily becomes a negotiator. The notion that a mere interpreter can have a client is monstrous. With perfect propriety the government regulations afterwards prohibited negotiation page 132 by interpreters.” Nevertheless the procedure was not allowed by the chairman to invalidate the transaction before him.16
The Maori assessors vainly objected to sanction the arts employed against their countrymen. A licensed interpreter having asked permission to correct his evidence, Hikairo said: “You appear to correct your statement a great many times; is this the last?” and the conscious witness replied: “I hope so.”
Unsuccessful before the commission, Mr. Sheehan's clients resorted to the Supreme Court. The arts by which purchases had been made in the first instance were freely used to protect them. Mr. Sheehan told the House in 1877 that a Maori girl, eight years old, was induced to “sign a deed of mortgage to secure payment of certain sums of money,” and that an interpreter endorsed the deed, with a “solemn declaration that he had explained the deed, and that the child fully understood it.” This, he said, “is only one of scores—absolute scores—” of the Hawke's Bay transactions. The report of the Heretaunga Commission reproached by its recommendations the practices which it had not condemned. It advised that the power of selling land under mortgage should be abolished, together with that of selling land under a Supreme Court judgment; and that costs against natives in cases against Europeans should be forbidden. It admitted that the absence of legal advice “would in an English Court of Equity be a very serious objection;” and Sir D. McLean, in 1873, introduced a bill to remedy the defects pointed out. The weakness of the original transactions was patent; and, to shelter them, the purchasers resorted to strange devices. It was hoped that want of money would bar the prosecution of actions. But self-interest was strong, and many transactions defied justification. To secure a title, where the original purchase-money was about £2000, one set page 133 of conspirators paid no less than £17,500. Numerous cases were pending when the General Assembly met in July, 1877.
In September, 1877, Mr. Rees moved that a committee be appointed to inquire into all dealings with native lands by landed proprietors in Hawke's Bay. Mr. Ormond, the Minister for Public Works, in reply, quoted the words of the Chairman of the Commission, exculpating him from any blame with regard to the Heretaunga purchase. He assailed the “organization in Hawke's Bay … known as the Repudiation Association,” which stirred the Maoris to ill deeds. He rashly charged Sir G. Grey with having, while Governor, striven to become one of a company to acquire from the natives, in 1867, an estate of more than a quarter of a million acres, near Lake Taupo. Sir G. Grey demanded inquiry. Ormond promised to produce convincing letters, and when the House expected compliance it was found that Whitaker (the Attorney-General), custodian of certain letters, declined to produce them without permission from two persons, although he had allowed Ormond to base charges upon the letters, and to say that they would be produced. In debate, one of the members of the company alluded to by Ormond declared that Sir G. Grey “had no more connection with the partnership, no connection meanwhile with the negotiations, paid no money,” and no more interfered with the matter than the Speaker “or anybody else in this House not belonging to the company.” Whitaker himself was found to have been one of the company. Unable to prove their charges, the ministry endeavoured to shelve the subject by means of the “previous question.” In debate, a member proved that the company spoken of by Ormond never intended to buy an acre of land. Ormond retorted: “I said ‘acquiring’ country, which I knew just as well then as I do now referred to leasing and not purchasing.”
The effect of such proceedings was to damage the reputation of the ministry. But members were unwilling to see Sir G. Grey, the foe of abolition, placed in power. The ghost of provincialism still stalked in the land. The government secured a majority by 41 votes against 34. But subsequent events weakened their position. Ormond's page 134 and Whitaker's speeches were found to have been significantly altered. Their speeches, revised by themselves, contained no allusion to the “purchase” of land imputed to Sir G. Grey. The letters asked for were produced by their writer, Mr. H. R. Russell, who declared that Ormond's statement that Sir G. Grey used his position as Governor in the transaction was “absolutely and entirely false, and without a shadow of foundation.”17 The engineers had been “hoist with their own petard.” On the 2nd Oct., the letters and Mr. H. R. Russell's statement were laid on the table by the Speaker. On the 8th, the select committee submitted to the House in parallel columns Mr. Ormond's speech as first reported and as altered by him. On the 10th, the ministry was declared by 42 votes to 38 not to possess the confidence of the House.
Some of their measures deserve mention. Taxation had troubled them. The Treasurer made his financial statement on the 31st July. He proposed to raise a loan of £2,000,000, but not to interfere with the incidence or character of taxation. On the 3rd Aug., one of his supporters (Mr. Woolcock) moved that “the time has arrived when a change in the incidence of taxation has become necessary…” Mr. Whitaker having in the meantime brought a Native Land Court Bill into the House, Mr. Woolcock's proposal was discussed on the 17th Aug. On that day Mr. Bowen (Minister of Justice) suggested an amendment, accepting the principle of Mr. Woolcock's proposition, with the proviso that “the financial propositions of the government next session should embody it.” The motion that the Speaker do leave the chair having been negatived, Sir G. Grey moved—That the system of taxation should “immediately be altered,” with a view to lighten the Customs duties and impose burdens upon income and property. His desire was to put “an acreage tax upon all landed property.” Mr. Macandrew supported him. There was a succession of amendments, but on the 23rd Aug. it was resolved in words proposed by Major Atkinson, with alterations accepted from Sir G. Grey, that page 135 “the incidence of taxation should be so adjusted as to impose on property and income a fair share of the general burdens entailed on the colony, and thereby afford means for the reduction of taxes on necessaries; and that the financial proposals of the government next session should embody this principle.” Sir J. Vogel's successors were at last brought face to face with the result of purchasing support in the provinces, and of abolishing the provinces at the risk of confiscating the land resources of one district and employing them for the behoof of another. Probable reprieve to another session had been gained; but the dread of politicians—an abstract resolution—was to haunt the ministry if they should obtain a recess. Scarcely had the equivocal haven of postponement been reached when Mr. Reader Wood barbed the darts of the huntsmen afresh by moving that, as the government could not equalize their receipts and expenditure “without interfering with the appropriation of the land fund made by the 16th section of the Abolition of Provinces Acts 1875, the land fund should be at once made part of the ordinary revenue, and appropriated annually by this House.”
The Abolitionists of the Middle Island were alarmed. Mr. Reynolds, so ready to blow to thin air all treaties or compacts with Maoris, rose in disgust. The Compact of 1856, the Abolition of 1875, the Financial Arrangement of 1876, would be broken by “even entertaining for a moment any alteration of those laws… If the southern part of the colony is goaded by such motions (as Mr. Reader Wood's) there is sufficient moral strength to make any government of the colony impossible.” A member retorted that Reynolds must have been simple if he had failed to see that the natural consequence of abolition would be that which he now deplored, and which was foretold by many members of the House. There were acrimonious debates. A month elapsed before it was determined whether the House would gratify the government by going into committee of supply. Mr. Fox, who had recently returned from England, shielded them when he could. Mr. Stafford did the same. An Education Bill which the government passed in mutilated form in 1877 may be mentioned here in order to disconnect it from page 136 the confused proceedings of the session of 1877. The proposals of 1873 had been abortive. Mr. Bowen, the Minister of Justice, proposed in 1877 to establish school districts, local boards, and a capitation fee of 10s. for each child, in consideration of which all school fees were to be remitted. The State was to contribute about £3 10s. for each child. He thought it unwise by making education gratuitous to sap the moral responsibility of parents. The compulsory clauses of the bill were to be carried out by the local committees. He wished the Bible to be read in the schools, and startled some members by citing a passage in which Professor Huxley hymned its praise as noblest and purest English “woven into the life of all that is best and noblest in English history… By the study of what other book could children be so much humanized and made to feel that each figure in that vast historical procession fills, like themselves, but a momentary space in the interval between two eternities, and earns the blessings and curses of all time, according to its effect to do good and hate evil, even as they also are earning payment for their work?” The bill provided that there should be Bible-reading at the opening of the school. From such reading parents could withhold their children. The bill was generally well received. Dr. Wallis “supposed the time would never come when a minister would be so atheistic as to take all the school-books and erase the name of God from them.”18 On the 3rd Sept. the second reading was carried. The clause empowering local committees to levy capitation fees was struck out. The reading of history was opposed by six members, of whom Mr. Stout was one; and it was determined that no child should be taught history if his parents or guardians objected. The provisions by which Mr. Bowen hoped to leave religion in honour in the schools, without enforcing instruction upon conscientious absentees, were all struck from the bill. In the Council, Dr. Pollen carried the second reading without a division, but he and his page 137 colleagues had ceased to hold office during the later stages of the bill. The Council restored the provision for reading the Bible and made other alterations, but the more important were subsequently abandoned.19 An amendment, making the voting for school committees cumulative, was agreed to by the Representatives. There were in both Houses some qualms about relieving parents of the solemn duty of contributing, when possessed of means, to educate their children, but the profaned name of liberality was appealed to, and it was resolved, in defiance of reason and experience, that, because it was to be compulsory, education must be free. There was no other subject on which such a fallacy was allowed to prevail, but it is popular to dispense money. The exchequer was to be robbed with clean hands. The bribe to parents blinded them to their demoralization. No member had the hardihood to point out that many things are compulsory which are not free—that a man is compelled by law not to starve his child's body, and is bound by solemn considerations not to starve the mind. Nay, more—the law steps in in numerous cases to compel, without providing funds for the compelled. It is not wonderful that the study of logic has been found repulsive to the bulk of mankind. Men are creatures possessed of reason with a violent repugnance to use it. Sir G. Grey was not ashamed to lend his abilities to the prevailing fallacy.
There was one measure, of which Whitaker the Attorney-General was sponsor, which deserves notice. He declared, “that the object should be, not only to have the surplus land dealt with, but to put the whole under a Crown title, whether retained by the natives or not, because it is of the greatest importance that the native title should be extinguished as speedily as possible.” Such had ever been the object of Whitaker and his congeners. By law or by war they had striven to attain it. By confiscation of the joint rights of tribes they had attained it in Waikato. Mr. Whitaker page 138 declared that speculators were an ill-used race. Even in dying the Maori would give trouble, and—
“Unfortunately, in different districts they are dying out very fast. There may be … as many as seventy … owners in a certificate of title or a Crown grant, as the case may be, and by the time the purchaser gets perhaps the signatures of twenty some of the other owners may die. The consequence is that the purchaser has to go to the Native Land Court and get successors appointed. By the time these successors are appointed other natives will be dead. All this renders the land in point of fact inalienable.”
Such was Mr. Whitaker's wail. Unhappy Maoris! Not even their death could gratify the foe who professed to be their friend. Unhappy Whitaker! Even from the tomb of a victim rose the ghost of obstruction to the one thing needful—swift and utter annihilation of the rights guaranteed by the treaty of Waitangi. His moan was not prompted by the indelicate malice of wit. It was part of a plain plodding speech which lasted an hour and a-half, and purported to contain facts. He had circulated his bill before the House met, and hoped for success for a measure which he described as “not pretentious.” How ill such a term defined the bill was seen in one clause, which kept alive a retrospective provision of a former Act (proposed to be repealed), which enacted that the Maori grantees “shall be, and shall be deemed to have been, tenants in common and joint tenants.” In other words, it was sought to destroy in terms the co-extensive and joint tribal perpetual tenure guaranteed by the Queen. But blots were seen in the bill. Dr. Wallis showed that one clause enabled the government to stay any trial or legal proceeding at any stage. “What a strange tampering with courts of justice have we in that section!” Dr. Wallis said that a provision that, after seizure of land, the government might release it, seemed to aim at “rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies.” Mr. Bunny declared that “a more pernicious bill was never brought before the Assembly. It would subject the Maoris to a few rich men.” Mr. Ballance “did not believe that the House ought to legislate upon what he might call a basis of immorality.” The Maori member, Nahe, disapproved of the bill. His countrymen condemned it. “Clauses 83 to 87 took away the land of the Maoris.” page 139 Taiaroa declared that the government had not explained the real objects of the bill.
“I propose to call it another Land Bill to take away the land of the Maoris—that is, to plunder them of their land… The bill provides that the assessor may sit with the judge, but he has no authority in the decision. Of what use is it to place men in such a powerless position? … It is provided that the government, or some capitalist, may advance money for survey of lands; but if the Maori has no money to repay the cost of survey, the land is to be seized and kept till he can pay the cost. If he cannot pay, the land is to be taken. This is but a method of mortgaging to make our lands pass away from us.”
Mr. Rees, calling to mind the time when Henare Tomoana raised troops and foiled Te Kooti, said the government had not reimbursed a sixth part of the cost incurred by Henare. “I tell you this, as it ought to be made matter of history.” The chief and his brother, having contracted debts, were threatened with imprisonment unless they signed conveyances of land. “Under such pressure these men who saved the country from the rebel natives actually signed the deeds.” Was not Mr. Ormond (a minister) now part owner of the property so acquired? One Maori described the bill as a “monster called the new government Land Bill; and oh! Maoris! regard the teeth of this monster, and see how you like them.” The debate was adjourned (7th Aug.), while yet the government was strong in the House. On the 14th Aug., Major Atkinson moved that the order of the day to resume the debate on the Native Land Court Bill be discharged. The government would withdraw the bill and would consult with the natives during the recess. Mr. Gisborne invited attention to the insidious clauses in Whitaker's bill which Taiaroa had assailed, and which enabled a speculator to lend money for survey purposes, taking security and becoming mortgagee in anticipation so that without his consent a Maori could not obtain a certificate of title. He believed in his “heart that Sir D. McLean would sooner have cut off his right hand than have allowed it to affix his approval to this bill.” Captain Russell, a ministerial supporter, with strange simplicity observed that it was natural for Maoris to oppose the bill, “because the 35th clause distinctly takes away the ‘mana' from the chiefs.” He averred that the “supposed unscrupulous swindlers in Hawke's Bay never robbed the natives to the extent the government did.” He page 140 designated the Maori as belonging, according to Judge (C. W.) Richmond, to “an age prior to morality.” He “considered Henare Tomoana one of the most accomplished liars it had been his misfortune to listen to,” and sat down as he quoted the words in which Shakespeare makes Iago descant on the blessings “of a good name.” The borrowed eloquence roused Henare Tomoana's half-brother, Takamoana, who (16th Aug.) read a petition concurred with by 3050 Maoris. It complained:—
“1. That in the bill too much power is given to the Governor. 2. Too much is given to the judges. 3. The entire absence of power in the native assessor. 4. The authorizing one man to apply for investigation of title to land. 5. Authorizing one man to sell or lease land. (We do not like these provisions. It would only be right if done by the majority in the grant.) 6. Authorizing one man to subdivide land. This is not right; the application should be from the majority. 7. Authorizing children to sell land. This is not right. Authorizing married women to sell or lease land. This is not right. This law does not exist among Europeans. If you authorize your children and your married women to sell their lands, then only will it be right to let this become law for the Maoris. 8. Authorizing people to mortgage. This must not be. We have suffered very greatly indeed through mortgages. 9. We have fully seen the evils of these clauses, viz., 12, 17, 18, 35, 38, 40, 41, 47 to 56, 58, 63 to 72, 77 to 87, 95 to 98, 110 to 112, 113 to 116, and 120:—all of them. And we pray that the investigation of titles to Maori lands should be by the chiefs and men of knowledge of the Maoris.”
Takamoana read the petition, “on account of the speeches made by Sutton and Captain Russell.” The natives had been robbed of their land “through the law and under the law.” Captain Russell called Henare Tomoana a liar, but gave no reason for doing so. Henare's evidence was confirmed by others, but nevertheless it was not believed. “Who had got justice from the Hawke's Bay Commission?” Nahe, the Western (Maori) member, said: “In every year the government upsets its own laws. I conclude therefore that they must be bad, seeing that the ministers bring them in, and then throw them out.” If they were just they would not need to be discarded. “I suspect that the Europeans are not so expert at legislation as I once supposed. Though they may seem to have great legal talent, it appears they do not know how to make permanent laws, and it would be well for the Maoris to make an experiment in drafting bills. I think they would make quite as good a bill as the Europeans can.” Tawhiti, the Maori member of the ministry, advocated the withdrawal of page 141 the bill and consultation of all natives as to a new one. Mr. Bryce said that members were in error who supposed that Maoris would be irritated if prevented from selling land. The fact was otherwise. “At present they entertain a suspicion that every one is trying to grab their land.” The bill was withdrawn.
It may be mentioned cursorily that a virulent article in a newspaper published at Oamaru induced Mr. Whitaker to move (16th Aug.) that it was “a breach of privilege.” The whole of it “was absolutely false.” It suggested that Whitaker's Native Land Bill ought to be entitled a bill to further enrich at the expense of the colony the Attorney-General and his colleagues in land speculations. The printer was ordered to appear at the bar. When he appeared he averred that the article complained of was written in compliance with duty. It was desirable to check the growth of land-monopolies. He quoted speeches of members which were as denunciatory as the article. He was sorry to come into collision with the House in doing his duty, and should it be held that he had “acted with indiscretion” he was prepared to submit to the judgment. It was resolved that “the Attorney-General be instructed to pro secute … for a libel on a member of this House in his place in Parliament; and in the event of the verdict on the trial being for the defendant, or should the jury disagree, all costs incurred on behalf of the defendant should be defrayed by the government as between attorney and client.” Mr. Whitaker said in the debate, “I feel this, that either Mr. Jones ought to be placed in gaol, or I should be turned out of this Parliament.” When the trial took place Mr. Whitaker was out of office. His counsel resorted to dilatory pleas—but in vain. The counsel for Jones called no witnesses. The jury found a verdict for the defendant. Whitaker, having failed to put Jones in gaol, retained his seat in the House, and the taxpayers of New Zealand paid the costs.
1 Mr. Williamson. He was in the House, and spoke vigorously against Mr. Vogel's resolutions.
2 “Life of Archdeacon Williams,” vol. ii., p. 120.
3 See p. 338, Vol. I., and notes pp. 264 and 364, Vol. I.
4 Two years afterwards, Mr. Ormond, while endeavouring to disfranchise Maoris, unguardedly threw light upon the subject. The government hoped to reverse the first verdict of the electors with regard to Karaitiana. “The truth was” (Ormond said, 26th Sept., 1878) “that it was in consequence of the carelessness of that very returning officer (who looked upon himself as the government returning officer) that the candidate who was a supporter of the government was not returned.” How often a simulated story is refuted in after years when the removal of former difficulty loosens tongues, and memory cannot recall former sinuosities!
5 See p. 143.
6 The censure was expunged, with others of like nature, in 1892.
7 Carlyle, “Past and Present.”
8 “Flectere si nequeo Superos Acheronta movebo.”
9 There were many comments upon Mr. Carrington's position, and on the patronage afforded to him. In the session of 1877 he read documents to prove that his claims were righteous, and that he had made no contract for personal remuneration. He looked to “the House to put him right.” Mr. Stafford read a letter from England in confirmation of Carrington's statement. Subsequently Major Atkinson expressed a hope to settle during the session “these long outstanding claims.” Accordingly a bill was introduced, but it was killed by the fall of the ministry, whose successors deemed it desirable to satisfy the claimants with money rather than with land. On the 6th Dec., 1877, Sir G. Grey being Premier, the bill was discharged from the paper, and on the same day, without a division, £15,000 were voted for the “land claims of Sartoris, Downe, and others, final settlement.” When it was voted Carrington had become a supporter, for the time, of the new government, and Mr. G. McLean, a member of the expelled ministry, moved a reduction of the amount in order that Carrington might redeem his undertaking, that “nothing would induce him to take more than 10 per cent.”
10 1894. Sir H. Maine in his “Popular Government” (London, 1885) thus sanctioned the prediction (1883) of the text. “There are two kinds of bribery. It can be carried on by giving to expectant partisans places out of the taxes, or it may consist in the more direct process of legislating away the property of one class, and transferring it to another. It is this last which is likely to be the corruption of these latter days.” P. 106.
* Cash received for land from foundation of colony to date of abolition of provinces, omitting fractions.
12 “Resolute against a decision which might weaken the moral sense of a drunken Maori trustee, Judge Richmond gave legal effect to his unlawful acts, and in so doing rewarded the unlawful and immoral act of the debauching and corrupt Pakeha. To him the judge awarded the profit of the debauch. From the widow and orphan that award may have torn the means of living.”—Aureretanga, Ridgway, London, 1888.
13 “What would have been the result of his ‘mind being affected’ did not appear.”—Aureretanga, p. 151.
14 Mr. Ormond's evidence before the Heretaunga Commission.
16 How one chief, to escape the importunity of Tanner and the interpreter, hid himself in a willowtree one day and in a loft on the next, but finding that others were receiving money he also submitted and signed, and how he was told that the £1000 he became entitled to thereby was swallowed up in paying his previous debts—may be read by the curious in the report of the inquiry.
18 Strangely enough, what Dr. Wallis considered impossible was soon afterwards recommended in Victoria by a Minister of Education. For an account of the preaching of St. Paul at the Areopagus, the government substituted a treatise on Manchester and bags of cotton.
19 Protests were recorded in the Council against the bill because it “failed to provide for any recognition of the Christian religion or even of the Supreme Being.” Mr. Hall and Mr. Menzies protested that “such a law is not only absolutely wrong, but is opposed to the general wishes of the people of New Zealand.”