History of New Zealand. Vol. III.
CHAPTER XIX. — 1877—1881. — THE “WAKA MAORI” NEWSPAPER
THE “WAKA MAORI” NEWSPAPER.
Mr. Ormond's refuted charges against Sir G. Grey cooled the friendship of some ministerial supporters. A newspaper was to furnish the weapon with which the ministry was to be slain. Mr. H. R. Russell, a member of the Council, had brought an action against the “Waka Maori” newspaper (edited by the government). The action was pending when the Houses met, and Mr. Whitaker said (1st Aug.) that the plaintiff would probably pay the costs. On the 2nd a member moved that it was unconstitutional for a ministry to use influence in defending one citizen against another, and that the carrying on of the “Waka Maori,” after its dole had been struck from the estimates, was “highly reprehensible.” Mr. Whitaker thought that while an action was pending the subject ought not to be discussed in Parliament, and an interrupted debate was not resumed until the end of September. Meanwhile the law officers advised that a “plea of justification could be maintained” against the prosecutor. Mr. H. R. Russell, however, gained a verdict for £500. Mr. Larnach, member for Dunedin city, gave notice that he would move: “That this House disapproves of the action of the government in continuing to publish the “Waka Maori” newspaper at the public expense in defiance of the vote of this House, and in allowing its columns to be used for the publication of libellous matter.” The government accepted the challenge. Mr. Whitaker denied that the government had disobeyed page 143 the wish of the House. The “Waka Maori” had ceased to exist when condemned, but many chiefs had petitioned for it, and it was decided to carry it on,—“a number of gentlemen guaranteeing to subscribe towards the cost.” Dr. Pollen, who succeeded McLean as Native Minister, had supervised the publication, which was continued until July, 1877, when Parliament assembled. Stafford and Fox still clung to the remnants of the ministry which the latter had constructed to do Vogel's pleasure, and to which the former gave his adhesion when Vogel determined to abandon his provincial pledges and support abolition. Mr. Rolleston marked his sense of the occasion by alleging wider issues than the existence of a newspaper:—
“We find Sir J. Vogel with a considerable number, of the present ministers buying support to what I consider to be a most wicked and foolish change in the constitution of the colony by giving three distinct pledges. The first was that the counties should have substantial endowments and higher powers of local self-government. The second was that the compact of 1856 should be carried out in its entirety, or that there should be what is now termed localization of the land revenue… Well, we have now in power the same ministry, or at any rate a ministry which is generally looked upon as representing the abolition policy, and these gentlemen have entirely falsified those pledges and promises. The subsidies have been taken in support of charitable institutions. The localization of the land fund is being gradually refined away by the Colonial Treasurer, and a gross fraud has been perpetrated upon the province of Canterbury in taking, upon no principle of justice, a portion of the fund it has in hand.
Mr. Stafford, in defending himself, explained the secret of his sudden conjunction with Vogel in destroying the provinces. Studholme was entrusted by Stafford with the task of “sounding” Vogel and the government supporters. Stafford undertook to sound the opposition. Thus was the abolition scheme secretly ascertained to be safe, and thus were Vogel's arts transferred from one camp to another by the counting of heads. Denying that he had licked the hand that smote him, Mr. Stafford claimed to have made marionettes of the actors who strutted on the ministerial stage. Of the secret negotiation by which he was, “if he wished,” to become Agent-General if Vogel could secure a commission on conversion of New Zealand stock, Mr. Stafford said nothing.11page 144
It will be remembered that a needless insult to Donald McLean shook Stafford in his place in 1869. He now adverted to it as “an unfortunate difference,” which made Mr. Ormond adhere to McLean. Mr. Stout criticized the “humbling confession” in which Mr. Stafford acted so ignominious a part. Mr. Murray reminded Stafford that he had “played into the hands of a government which he formerly denounced as corrupt.” Mr. Ballance inveighed against the manner in which ministries maintained their position. “When honourable members are taken over from the opposition—its distinguished members, its debaters— by such a course you destroy all reasonable hope of any constitutional opposition being formed… This is at the root of all the demoralization and obstruction that have taken place in this House.” On the 1st of October Mr. Larnach's proposition was rejected by 42 votes against 33.
It was on the 2nd October that Mr. H. R. Russell declared that Ormond's statement about Sir G. Grey's conduct in the Lake Taupo affairs was “absolutely and entirely false.” On the same day Sir G. Grey moved that the reporter's proofs of the debate on the Hawke's Bay land purchases be laid on the table. Major Atkinson saw danger to “the character and privileges of every member” in Sir G. Grey's proposition. Fox agreed with Atkinson. On the production of Ormond's alterations (of his reported speech) Mr. Larnach moved a direct vote of want of confidence. There were rumours that the opposition hoped to persuade Sir W. Fitzherbert to quit the Speaker's chair and form a ministry. Mr. Larnach in a few words charged the government with mal-administration, and by 42 votes against 38 the ministry at last received its deathblow. Like those animals of low type of which the different organs can perform functions when an animating principle no longer pervades the whole, it had occupied the post of power under many mutilated forms, but had at last exhausted its resources. Mr. Larnach did not obtain the co-operation of the Speaker. It was rumoured that Sir W. Fitzherbert could find no precedent, for the step he was asked to take, and considered it unbecoming, unless in response to an unanimous or almost unanimous desire of members.page 145
Sir G. Grey was appealed to, and (13th Oct.) he, Mr. Larnach, Mr. Macandrew, and Mr. Sheehan, became members of the Executive Council. On the 15th, Mr. T. W. Fisher joined the new band. Sir G. Grey was the leader, Mr. Larnach was Treasurer, Mr. Sheehan was Native Minister. Colonel Whitmore on the 18th became Colonial Secretary, and explained the ministerial policy in the Council. The ministry accepted the abolition of the provincial system as an accomplished fact, and hoped “to localize a certain portion of the land fund.” In the Council, where men did not toil to make or to mar ministries, Colonel Whitmore's statements were received without dissent, and public business was proceeded with. It was otherwise in the Representative House. The tentacles which had been riven from place were sore, and the creatures to which they belonged were waving their invertebrate members in search of the places of old attachment. Five days after Col. Whitmore joined the ministry Major Atkinson said that he would move that the “House has no conrfidence in the government.” Sir G. Grey asked the representatives to allow “one clear day” to the government, so that they might make themselves “masters of the subjects” to be discussed, and on the 26th October, Major Atkinson conducted the assault. He denounced Sir G. Grey's accession to power as a surprise. “It is perfectly certain and beyond dispute, that more gentlemen voted against the late government than the actual majority which displaced them, who would not so have voted if they had believed that the honourable gentleman would succeed to power.” Sir G. Grey, after declaiming upon the abstract advantages which would accrue to the colony, if not to the human race, by giving him an opportunity of applying his principles, and after declaring, with an eye to the votes of Middle Island members, that he would have scorned to plunder the revenues of Canterbury and Otago as the Atkinson ministry had plundered them, said: “Honourable members may try to ostracize me… but every effort they make in that direction … will only endear me more to the people of this colony, and will ensure my speedy return to office if I am now driven from it.”page 146
There was a singular solution of continuity in the House. Mr. Reynolds, who stepped in to the rescue of the new government, had voted to retain the Atkinson ministry in office. Mr. Gisborne, who had voted with the majority which expelled Atkinson, supported Atkinson's proposition to expel Grey. Mr. Curtis said that with about ten other members who had also voted against Atkinson he had agreed to support Atkinson's motion. The “middle party” to which they belonged having swung too far in one direction, was resolved to show a balancing power by swinging equally far in another. Mr. Fox attacked Sir G. Grey. A baser policy than his “was never heard of, and it must result in inevitable ruin though it may lead to the temporary elevation of a demagogue.” Mr. Ballance pointed out that if there was one member who should sympathize with Sir G. Grey in advocacy of provincialism, Mr. Fox was the man. How long had Fox advocated abolition? He had been the staunchest of provincialists. “In 1874 he was a provincialist; in 1874 Sir J. Vogel converted him in a single night, and now he stands forward as an ardent centralist.” Taiaroa grimly told the House that the site of the capital consorted with the wavering opinions of members. “It is a very good thing that the meetings of this Parliament are held in Wellington, because it is a windy place, and we hear the wind blowing about here every day. I liken the wind to the speeches of members. The winds blow from all quarters. So it is with the votes of honourable gentlemen; they are given this way to-day, and that to-morrow —and another way the next day.” Let the government have trial for a year. Day after day the debate was adjourned. On the 1st Nov., Mr. Stout interrupted it by raising a question of privilege. The ministry had asked the Governor to call Mr. J. N. Wilson to the Upper House. The Marquis of Normanby declined to make the appointment “pending the decision of the Assembly” as to the support of the ministry by “a majority of the House were Mr. Stout averred that the privileges of the House were involved. The manoeuvre was successful. A select committee, of which the Speaker was chairman, reported that notice by the Crown of a matter in agitation in Parliament page 147 was an infringement of constitutional privilege, and Mr. Travers, in moving the adoption of the report, wished that an address to the Governor should state that the infringement was inadvertent. The resolution was adopted by 33 votes against 19. Fox, Atkinson, Ormond, and Whitaker were in the minority. The Governor without delay responded that as soon as he might receive the advice of his ministers he would forward his reply to the address. Meanwhile the debate on Atkinson's motion was resumed. On the 6th Nov., the member who had moved the adjournment did not respond to the Speaker's call, the question was put, and voices were given. A member rose to speak, but the Speaker interposed on the ground that as the ayes and the noes had been called for, the debate was at an end. Three ex-ministers, Atkinson, Reid and McLean, strove to arrest the putting of the question, but the Speaker was not brow-beaten, and 39 voters eyed their opponents from each side of the House. To give “a further opportunity for the House to know its mind,” the Speaker gave his casting vote with the Noes. Atkinson attempted to move that “as the government has not a majority it should immediately resign.” There was much debate on points of order, and eventually the word “that” remained on the paper.
Escaped from the snare of the fowler, the gasping government, eagerly watched, proceeded with business. The fact that in the struggle temporarily postponed, several. members who had voted (8th Oct.) to expel Atkinson had within one month abandoned Grey, lent a dramatic interest; to the scene, which was heightened by other members, who, having striven to arrest Atkinson's fall, now deserted his standard for that of Grey. Atkinson canvassed so eagerly that Mr. Sheehan said in the House that if it had not been openly announced that Atkinson was leader, he would have “looked upon him as the principal opposition whip.” On the 8th November, Atkinson moved the postponement of the orders of the day with the view of proceeding with the remnant of the “want of confidence motion.” Mr. O'Rorke (chairman of committees) versed in Parliamentary lore, promptly pointed out that, by the standing orders, on the resumption of the chair by the page 148 Speaker at half-past seven (as was the actual case) it was the “duty of the Speaker to direct the clerk to read the orders of the day without any question being put.” Atkinson endeavoured to dispute. Before the Speaker gave his ruling, Sir G. Grey laid on the table the Governor's reply to the address of the Council on the moot question of privilege. An eager debate ensued as to the time which should be fixed for discussing the reply.22 By 34 votes against 32 it was resolved to postpone the consideration of the Governor's message until the 12th, and the intervening days were deemed sufficient for his purpose by Atkinson, who had already asked for precedence for the want of confidence question. The Speaker then gave his ruling on the point raised by Mr. O'Rorke. Clearly, unless by general agreement to waive it, the course prescribed by the standing orders must be followed. Atkinson's proposition was out of order. The discomfited Atkinson gave notice that he would on the morrow move: “That this House has now no confidence in the government;” but he failed to obtain an opportunity.33
The privilege question of which Mr. Travers complained was peculiar. The ministry advised the Governor to inform the House that his infringement of privilege was unintentional, and might be beneficial in establishing a precedent to be avoided. The Marquis requested them to reconsider their advice. They were constitutionally responsible to Parliament for his acts, not he. If his memorandum about Mr. Wilson contained any breach of privilege, it was a confidential document, and they were bound by their oaths to point out the fact to the Governor, who would “readily have reconsidered the answer he had given.” The presentation of the memorandum to Parliament was “solely on the advice of Sir G. Grey in writing, and therefore page 149 ministers were solely responsible.” The ministry, in reply, admitted responsibility for “acts done on their advice.” Out of respect for him they “refrained from offering further advice” when their advice had been “twice rejected.” They respectfully pointed out that the presentation of the memorandum, made by their advice, was not styled by the House a breach of privilege. They suggested a message in the following words: “The Governor has received the resolution of the House of Representatives, by which he is informed that he has inadvertently committed a breach of the privileges of that House. The House is constitutionally guardian of its own privileges. The Governor having now called Mr. Wilson to the Legislative Council in accordance with his promise to his advisers, does not think it will answer any useful purpose to discuss the question any further, but he will transmit the papers to the Secretary of State for the colonies.”
The Marquis did not choose to condemn himself in the language of others. He did not accept the limitation of responsibility claimed for themselves by the ministry, “because if the act of the Governor is such that the government cannot accept or defend it, it is their duty to resign, in order that the Governor may be able, if he can, to form a government who would support his views, in which case he would have of course, to justify his conduct to the Secretary of State, to whom alone he is responsible.” In Mr. Wilson's case the Marquis concurred in thinking that the ministry were not called upon to resign, but they accepted and were responsible for the Governor's act, and the question should then have been at rest unless they pressed further advice upon him. But the constitutional principle which he contended for—that ministers, so long as they retain office, are alone responsible to Parliament for the acts of the Governor—was of such vital importance to the colony and to the position of a Governor that he would be recreant to his duty if he “did not try to the utmost of his power to have the matter finally and definitely settled.” He was ready to assume that the ministry did not see that his memorandum could be construed as a breach of privilege when they asked for its production. He would be sorry to impute to them “any intention of page 150 entrapping him.” He saw so little “necessity for producing the memorandum that he was on the point of refusing his consent, and only refrained from doing so because he did not like for the second time to refuse their advice.” A question of privilege was immediately raised. “The government by whose advice the papers were published, and who are his constitutional defenders in the House, either took part against him, or remained in silence, and refused him their assistance. The Governor was condemned unheard… Criminals received more consideration. He would forward all the papers to England, and begged Sir G. Grey to understand that he looked upon the matter as “political, not personal.” The ministry replied that if the law were such that while a vote of want of confidence was pending the Governor could decline advice it would only “be necessary to raise successive votes of want of confidence in the government to enable the Governor to act for long periods of time without responsible advisers.” They protested against a reference to the Secretary of State, whom they designated as an “external authority.” They had nothing to add to their former advice. The Governor said that the Secretary of State was “the only constitutional channel through whom the commands of the Crown are conveyed,” and as he at any rate felt “bound to obey the command of Her Majesty,” he would submit the case, and would lay the papers before the House. In a message to the House he repeated his constitutional reason for not accepting their resolution, but assured them that “nothing was further from his intention than in any way to trench upon their privileges.”
The first debate on the Governor's message has been mentioned. On its resumption on the 12th, it was obvious that not the Governor — not the constitution of New Zealand—but the prospect of retaining or storming the ministerial benches actuated most of the speakers. After long discussion, the adjournment of the House was agreed to after midnight, and the privilege question was shelved.44page 151
On the 14th Nov. Sir G. Grey formulated a demand for a dissolution, but the Governor thought there was no evidence in favour of Sir G. Grey's opinion that an appeal to the electors would secure a large working majority for the ministry. As far as the Governor was aware no supply had been granted, and though such a condition involved no difficulty in England, because Parliament there “uniformly voted the supplies necessary for an appeal to the country,” in the colonies the case was otherwise. He reminded Sir G. Grey that in October he had said that if a dissolution were accorded to him he would dissolve with or without supply. The Marquis could not grant a dissolution. If, however, Sir G. Grey could satisfy him that three months’ supply had been granted, he would be “happy to reconsider his determination.” Sir G. Grey admitted that he might have said that if “duty demanded it, he would dissolve without supply,” but urged that throughout his conversation he “unfalteringly maintained that it was in his belief impossible that such a case as the Governor put could arise” in New Zealand. The Governor regretted “that there should be the slightest discrepancy between the impression left” on his mind and on that of Sir G. Grey, and was, “of course, quite ready to admit that he must have misunderstood what Sir G. Grey said. Notwithstanding this, he must still adhere to the decision he has expressed as regards a dissolution.”
Loose language is often used, about the prerogative which summons and dissolves Parliaments, and the ministry thought the Governor mistaken in deeming the power of dissolution “a prerogative of the Crown” in New Zealand. It was derived from the Constitution Act. Ministers claimed for themselves and for the people the same constitutional rights which existed in England, and maintained their right to a dissolution, unfettered by any condition with regard to supply. In a separate memorandum, Sir G. Grey argued that the Governor's expressed “desire to secure a government, no matter how constituted,” commanding the confidence of a majority in the House, would be destructive of the principle of party government deliberately adopted by the people. The Marquis briefly replied that the Constitution Act, without mention of an page 152 Executive Council, empowered the Governor to dissolve, and that his commission from the Queen delegated to him the Royal powers of summoning, proroguing, and dissolving the legislative body. He could not admit that ministers had the unqualified rights they claimed. They (21st Nov.) “felt it their duty to point out the mistakes into which they cannot but think the Governor has fallen.” They discussed the abstract ideas of a Privy Council, a Cabinet, and an Executive Council. The Governor respectfully but distinctly declined for the future “to enter into any controversy or discussion of a general or abstract character regarding his constitutional position, his responsibilities, or his duties.” On all occasions he would give most attentive and favourable consideration to any particular matter on which he might receive advice. Ministers, of course, had an undoubted right to complain of any act they might think “illegal, unconstitutional, or wrong,” and he would at all times forward such complaints to England with any necessary explanation. The ministry (who had just been permitted to go into Committee on Supply) answered (23rd Nov.) that they had regarded the questions raised as practical, not abstract, points, the maintenance of which was essential to the welfare of the colony.
By one of those involutions which entangle men's reasoning faculties when self-interests are at stake, the ministers thought, or affected to think, that the prerogative of the Crown in dismissing representatives of the people was really one of the rights of the representatives. The Governor was hardly called upon to controvert such allegations. Meanwhile Mr. Sheehan (15th Nov.) had made a statement on native affairs which was well received. The Treasurer's financial statement (20th Nov.) was also applauded. The ministry waxed bolder. They pressed the Governor (26th Nov.) to waive his objections to a dissolution. Delay added greatly to their difficulties. He courteously but firmly held his ground. He was at all times willing to consider the subject under any new light thrown upon it, but could not, under existing circumstances, alter his decision. An unreserving promise to dissolve would put undue pressure upon Parliament, which he felt bound to avoid.page 153
The ministry–threaded their way through the parliamentary labyrinth, adroitly shunning the blow which Atkinson longed to deliver. Their Financial Arrangements Bill was so commended by Sir G. Grey's eloquence (3rd Dec.) as to command 41 votes against 13. Twenty members paired. Atkinson voted for the bill, while three of his recent colleagues, McLean, Bowen, and Reid, opposed it. The majority of the House had plainly determined to support the policy of the new men during the current session. On the 6th Dec. the ministry again pressed the Governor for power to dissolve. On the same day he declined to accord it. Frequent dissolutions, tending, in the words of the great Sir Robert Peel, to blunt the edge of “a great instrument in the hands of the Crown,” were to be avoided. The Marquis did not wish to deny that in matters not affecting Imperial interests ministers had similar rights to those of English ministers, but did “not believe that under similar circumstances a minister in England would ask for a dissolution.”55
It is proper to notice the result of the discussions between the Marquis and his advisers. As to the calling of Mr. Wilson to the Legislative Council, Lord Carnarvon commended the Governor's conduct. As to the dissolution of the Assembly, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, who (4th Feb., 1878) succeeded Lord Carnarvon, supported the Marquis. A Governor “ought to pay the greatest attention” to the representations of his advisers, “but if he should feel bound to take the responsibility of not following his ministers’ recommendations, there can, I apprehend, be no doubt that both law and practice empower him to do so.” Sir G. Grey's views seemed “unduly to limit the prerogative of the Crown.” There was a further important point on which it would have been difficult for even the weakest functionary to fail to support the Governor. When the session was about to end, leaving Sir G. Grey in power (10th Dec.), he advised that a Land Bill, then ready for the Royal Assent, should not be assented to. Introduced page 154 by the Atkinson government in August, it was in committee when the government fell. On the 15th Oct. Sir G. Grey included it in a list of bills which his ministry would take up. In committee there were divisions in which Whitaker and Taiaroa were found voting with Atkinson and Reynolds, against Larnach and Stout. There was a division (19th Nov.) in which Atkinson, with the aid of Stafford, Whitaker, Rolleston, and others, foiled by one vote a proposition made by Stout and supported by Sir G. Grey. Col. Whitmore, the Colonial Secretary, took charge of the bill in the Council, and it was passed with amendments with some of which the Representatives declined to concur. Reasons were prepared by Messrs. Stout, Ballance, and Reid for insisting on certain provisions. Stout and Ballance were supporters of Sir G. Grey. The House adopted the reasons. The Council waived some amendments, but eventually asked for a free conference, which was held. A report from the conference was adopted by both Houses, and the bill thus hammered on the anvil awaited only (in the words of Lord Hale) the Royal Assent to give it “the complement and perfection of a law.” Conceived by the Atkinson ministry, duly produced in the House, adopted by Sir G. Grey and his colleagues, the subject of conference between the two Houses—the bill might be looked on as the genuine offspring of the New Zealand Assembly. Yet Sir G. Grey strove to strangle it. There was an Executive Council meeting at half-past twelve o'clock on the day fixed for prorogation at half-past two. Many members of the Legislature had gone to their homes. At that meeting Sir G. Grey advised the Governor to refuse to assent to the bill. The Governor declined to withhold his assent. The Clerk of the Parliaments, after the Executive Council meeting was concluded, carried several bills to the Governor, who observed that, with regard to the Land Bill, Sir G. Grey had not attached his name to the customary formal recommendation for assent. The Marquis determined neither to veto the bill nor to assent to it in an unusual manner. The hour of prorogation drew near. The Speaker arrived with the Appropriation Bill. That lever of the House of Commons against the Crown became an instrument in the hands of the Crown to foil the strange device page 155 of a colonial minister bent upon frustrating the action of the two Houses and foiling the Governor. The Marquis requested the Speaker to retain the Appropriation Bill, while Mr. Macandrew, a minister, took a memorandum from the Marquis to Sir G. Grey. After some delay Mr. Macandrew obtained from Sir G. Grey the usual recommendation, and the bill was signed by the Governor. Sir M. Hicks Beach laconically said: “I approve the action taken by you in declining under the circumstances which you record to refuse your assent to the Land Act of the last session of the New Zealand Parliament.”
When the approval of the Secretary of State reached him the Governor communicated it to his ministers. Sir G. Grey railed at the Secretary of State as an “exterior authority” unknown to New Zealand law. He declared, in terms which the difference between the Lord Stanley of 1843 and the Duke of Newcastle of 1860 ought to have made it impossible for him to use, that it had “long been universally admitted that in the Colonial Department the real power vests in the permanent Under-Secretary.” With much subtlety he spun webs of words. He declared that the Governor was making his ministers not advisers but servants, when he submitted constitutional questions to the Secretary of State without their advice, and then commanded the correspondence to be published. He would not consent that his conduct in relation to the Assembly or to the Governor should be submitted to the Secretary of State, whose decision upon it he would not “recognize or accept.” He would not discuss New Zealand questions “with any officer who is outside the Constitution, or who has no responsibility in the matter, or who has no lawful right to interfere with it.”
So far as subsequent misdoing could justify former illusage, Sir G. Grey laboured to indemnify the Duke of Newcastle and Earls Carnarvon and Granville for the past. He had complained that they would not do their duty. He now contended that a Secretary of State had no duty to do. The Marquis declined to discuss the “position or authority” of a Secretary of State. Such an argument was “too serious to the future interests of the colony to be dealt with in a correspondence of this kind.” He remarked page 156 that Sir G. Grey had in 1876 invoked the authority of the Secretary of State with regard to the abolition of the provinces. He was ready to admit that correspondence which in any way might commit ministers “should be done by their advice and at their instigation.” But the Governor had asked the Secretary of State for a decision on his own action. A Governor had “certain rights and duties to perform.” He “was as much a part of the Constitution as either branch of the Legislature.” “While he had no wish to trench in the slightest degree upon the rights and privileges of the other branches of the Constitution, he is bound to preserve intact those which have been entrusted to his care by his Sovereign. Should the Governor exceed his powers or commit any action to which exception can justly be taken an appeal is at all times open to the Secretary of State; but the Governor cannot admit his responsibility to any other authority.” Sir G. Grey retorted that the Secretary of State “was the constitutional adviser, not the mouthpiece of the Sovereign,” but did not show how the Crown prerogatives could be exercised without a channel of communication. The Governor declined to make any remarks upon Sir G. Grey's paper, on the ground that “no public advantage could be derived by a prolongation of the correspondence.” The despatches were published in the “New Zealand Gazette” in June, 1878.
The financial proposals of the government secured its position, to the disgust of those supporters of abolition who had hoped that local revenues would be locally appropriated after “local habitation and name” had become an “airy nothing” under the treatment of Atkinson and Vogel. They had been warned in vain. They were now punished. The Grey government had no difficulty in showing that the provincial land funds had been so encroached upon by their predecessors that “the idea that a large proportion was available for localization was a delusion.” The government would by law appropriate locally 20 per cent, of the land revenue in each provincial district, and would ask parliament to pass a land law fixing uniform prices throughout the colony. They would ask for a new loan of £4,000,000 rather than increase taxation; but would consider that subject in the recess. They found a deficiency of page 157 more than, £700,000 on the 30th June, and would endeavour “to secure a state of equilibrium.” Such was Mr. Larnach's statement (19th Nov.). Major Atkinson disputed it. The short sight of those representatives from Otago, and Canterbury, who had thought to procure abolition of provinces without loss of provincial funds, was apparent The two provinces which, by partial adherence to Gibbon Wakefield's principles, had accumulated wealth, were about to be plundered by their professing friends. The first serious defection from the opposition was on the 22nd Nov. Mr. Gisborne, thinking the Grey ministry “a standing menace to the unity of the colony,” had been hostile to it. The financial propositions justified him in opposing it no longer. Mr. Ormond had made charges against Sir’ G. Grey which the House compelled him to withdraw; yet; even he, pleased with the prospect of plundering the Middle Island, announced that he would support the government in “generalization of the land fund, and, when that was carried,” strive to eject them. The Financial Arrangements Bill which dissolved the opposition was read a second time (3rd Dec.), Sir G. Grey, in the absence of the Treasurer, commending it to the House. It was broadly stated in a newspaper that as Canterbury had divided land revenues amounting to more than three-quarters of a million sterling amongst its local bodies in a part of the year “it was high time to make a change, but of course Canterbury does not like it.” Atkinson, the promoter of abolition, though he spoke against the ministry, voted for the bill. Grey, the opponent of abolition, thus consummated it when in office. The men of Canterbury, who had been potent in procuring abolition, in vain deplored its consequences. By 41 votes to 13 the second reading was carried. It made the land fund throughout New Zealand a part of the consolidated fund. It enacted that out of the latter there should be paid to each county a sum equal to 20 per cent, of the land revenue accruing in such county. Mr. Fox was absent when the death-blow of his “compact of 1856” was thus dealt. When the bill went to the Legist lative Council, Mr. Hall, who had been Fox's colleague in 1856, was unable to restrain his feelings. The measure constituted (he said) “a breach of the compact solemnly page 158 entered into between one portion of the colony and another” in 1856. In Canterbury, by selling 2,331,000 acres on Gibbon Wakefield's principles, £3,671,000 had been obr tained. In Otago, in similar manner, for about 2,000,000 of acres, £1,807,000; while, by neglect of those principles, Auckland, for 2,144,000 acres, had obtained only £274,000. Was it fair to rob the south of the profit of its prudent management? Mr. Hall might as well have questioned with the wolf. The Council passed the bill. A Crown Land Sales Bill regulated the price of land throughout New Zealand. Lands taken under free selection were in no case to be obtained at a less price than £2 an acre. The upset price at auction was not to be less than £1 an acre. The bill which Sir G. Grey wished the Governor, to disallow swept away fifty-six provincial and general Acts. It classified all lands as town, suburban, or rural. The first were to be sold by auction at not less than £30; the second in like manner at not less than £3 an acre. Rural lands were not to be sold in larger quantities than 320 acres, nor in less than 20. Land would be taken on deferred payments in proclaimed areas. The New Zealand government thus avoided the profligacy by which in portions of Australia the selection of land was converted into an engine for robbing the public treasury, and for levying blackmail upon pastoral tenants of the Crown. The New Zealand legislature avoided another evil created by the land laws of New South Wales (1861) and Victoria (1862), where, if more applicants than one selected the same site, the land agent was to determine by lot the fate of the site. If there were more applications than one for-the same allotment on the same day in New Zealand the land was to be put up to auction, at which the bidding was limited to the applicants-Corruption or favouritism could thus be excluded, while the public might derive benefit from anincreased price. The old provincial arrangements were not altogether abandoned. The ten new land districts were bound to certain conditions embodied in the Act. Sir G. Grey and his ardent admirers contended that unddue advantages were conferred on pastoral lessees of Crown lands; but the rent of runs was to be determined by the Land Board of the district within a range fixed in the Act—the board, page 159 and not the lessee, determining the carrying capacity of the run.
A Government Native Land Purchases Act deserves mention. In August Major Atkinson withdrew his Native Land Court Bill, intimating that a bill would be introduced to stop all private dealings with native lands “until after the close of the next session of Parliament.” He brought in the bill (6th Sept.), but it did not reach a second reading. Its author expressed his regret when, after his ministry fell, the bill was by the order of the House discharged from the paper (28th Nov.) on the motion of the new native minister, Mr. Sheehan, who declared that “sinking all party feeling, forgetting all past differences, it would be unfair to deny that to Sir D. McLean we are largely indebted for the fact that from 1869 up to the present time we have been at peace with the native people… I hold that on entering upon the immigration and public works policy it would have been an act of suicide to have provoked or sought for a native disturbance.” There were few natives not loyal to the Queen. Less than 3000 Maori men were “in the king country,” and though Maori women could fight, the fact that “we have 25,000 or 30,000 loyal natives on our side showed that the chances of a native outbreak are simply nil.” He deemed the £3,200,000 already spent by the colony in putting down native disturbances as “simply thrown away.” He approved the policy of teaching the English language to the Maoris, which McLean had encouraged; and proposed to increase the sum, £11,000, placed on the estimates of the year. He did not approve the manner in which land purchases from Maoris had been effected by the government. The official return of land negotiated for (after 1870), was —freehold, 4,613,000 acres; leasehold, 1,540,000—but “of the freehold transactions only 1,967,000 acres have been completed” … and “at least in regard to one-third of (them) it will be found that the titles are invalid, and it will require more money to be paid away and other acts. to be done in order to make those titles good.” He proposed that nafiye chiefs should ascertain the native titles, and that the European judges should be “simply for legal purposes only.” He regretted the abandonment of page 160 the pre-emptive right of the Crown in 1862, but the step could not be retraced. He wished to raise the number of Maori members in the House from four to seven, hoping that after some years, “by the operation of a suitable land law and by the conversion of native titles to a freehold tenure under Crown grant, we could call upon them to give up all special representation of the race and to vote as Europeans do.” With regard to the dual vote which Maoris would exercise, he stated that it was almost inoperative—such votes being “not more than 5 per cent. of the whole,” although the proportion of Maoris to Europeans was very much larger. He took credit for the influence of Sir G. Grey, which had elicited friendly missives from Tawhiao. His statement was favourably received. He introduced a bill “to amend the Native Land Act 1873,” which passed through both Houses without discussion. One of its provisions may have been necessary, but it was capable of being rendered oppressive. The Act so easily passed enabled the Land Court to award costs, provided for their recovery, and gave the court power to order a deposit as security for costs, and to refuse to proceed with a case, or “hear any person who does not comply with such order.” The Native Minister was empowered “at any time” to obtain from the court a determination of the “interest in any block of land., acquired by or on behalf of Her Majesty,” and all lands declared by an order of the court to have been acquired were, from the date of the order, to be “absolutely vested in her said Majesty.” Whether the Maoris in the Legislature could have qualified the measure by guarding the rights of their countrymen unwilling to submit joint tribal rights to the court it is impossible to say. Perhaps they trusted that Sir G. Grey and Mr, Sheehan would not abuse or strain the law. The chief, Rangihiwinui, and others, petitioned for postponement of the bill in vain.
It is necessary to watch occurrences in the New Zealand Parliament as regards the condition of the Maoris. It is page 161 also desirable to scan the increase of the colonial debt. The new South Sea scheme for which Mr. Vogel at last obtained a favourable hearing differed from his earlier proposals. He had once suggested means by which to astonish the world and handle hundreds of millions of pounds sterling. With the trifling difference of half per cent. between the borrowing and lending rates the national debt of England could be paid off by an agency under Mr. Vogel. If half per cent. would do so much for England, what might not twice that amount do for Vogel? Warned by experience, the men in power declined to promote a project suspiciously related to that of the scrivener Blount.
After floating into office, Mr. Vogel, in 1874, propounded a scheme by which, if the provinces would yield 3 per cent. of their land to be afforested, he would be able to release them from their railway obligations. By an excise of 3 per cent. upon provincial lands, the modern alchemist would convert into untold wealth the possibilities of growth of trees, although, under the colonial rule, the ancient forests were being wasted at a rate which created alarm lest even in that ocean-cradled land sterility should be brought about by diminishing the moisture of the atmosphere. Schemes for enrichment abound at all times. It was but in the 18th century that Cagliostro received money to arrest the foot of time. Schemers of every kind crave the handling of other men's wealth. The straightforward rogue advertises now, as in 1720, that if ready money deposits be sent to his office as earnest, and a few hundred pounds be remitted at a future time, untold wealth will accrue to his dupes. After a few days or weeks he decamps with the remittances of those who had, at the most, less wit than cash. The South Sea Bubble and the Pacific Islands’ schemes were framed on a different model. Shareholders were not to be robbed. In the handling of money the promoters would perforce find that some adhered to their palms, if only as a business percentage. There is, however, an indestructible commodity on which rests the security of nations, and the hope and the pride of their people. On land all usurers will lend. The Public Works and Immigration Scheme, based upon that principle, had poured many millions into page 162 New Zealand, and waifs of the stream had attached themselves, or had been attached, to its propounder. There was occasional demur; but a glamour of assumed public good cast a mist over the eyes of men in general, and they were grateful. In 1876 the House had refused to vote the sum proposed for Sir J. Vogel by the Atkinson government. In 1877, a few members, more careful of New Zealand than of him, disputed the propriety of awarding a sum far exceeding the amount stipulated for when Vogel had undertaken his last mission to England. There was a sharp debate, but the money was voted. Though Vogel's personal applications might disappear from the Treasury the fruit of his labours was to be more enduring. Abolition of provinces had increased colonial burdens. Both Atkinson and Grey were compelled to deal with the financial problem. The day had not yet arrived when capital would be openly borrowed or encroached upon to meet demands for interest; but the policy of “purchasing the support of the provinces” had made many mouths gape. Only more loans could enable the appetite to be gratified. In July, Major Atkinson had announced that he would ask for a loan of £2,000,000. There was an invested sinking fund which he proposed to respect. The gross debt in December, 1876, had been almost £19,000,000 sterling. Mr. Larnach in November declared that there was a deficit in revenue of more than £700,000, and proposed to ask for a loan of £4,000,000, and do away with a multiplicity of local loans by creating one consolidated colonial debt. Major Atkinson impugned the accuracy of Larnach's calculations.
The Loan Bill was read a second time (5th Dec.) without a division, but after discussion the loan was limited to £2,500,000, of which £300,000 were to discharge provincial claims; £800,000 to redeem guaranteed debentures; and £1,400,000 to carry on public works and immigration. No provision was made for a sinking fund, although the maximum rate of interest was fixed at six per cent. The Legislative Council accepted the bill. In committee on a Consolidated Stock Bill the Speaker, Sir W. Fitzherbert, departed from his usual custom, and seriously addressed the House. As agent for the colony, in 1867, in negotiating a large loan, he was entitled to speak with authority, and page 163 was heard with respect. In the loan negotiated by him, one per cent. was devoted annually to the cancellation of the stock. Earnestly he implored the House not to damage future prospects by grasping at deceitful present gain. To convert securities from other forms into one compact responsibility was good; but in so doing, to absorb the provision (by way of sinking fund) already accumulated to about a million and a-quarter sterling, was fraught with danger, and would alarm the dealers in New Zealand stock. “Heretofore we have evaded our stern duties; in an uncourageous spirit we have shut our eyes to them… If we do not act prudently our credit will fall.” No one attempted to reply, and on the following day, without discussion, by 38 votes against 13 the principle of the bill was sanctioned. In public and in private life there is no subject on which men's consciences are more elastic than on one which holds out hope of immediate gain, although it may lead to distant disaster; and there is such a weakness as unconscious gambling. The Immigration and Public Works Appropriation Bill of 1877, though dealing with millions of money, caused no debate in the Lower House. In the Council, the Speaker, Sir J. L. C. Richardson, on putting the question of the second reading (8th Dec.) pointed out that the privileges of the House had been infringed by clauses which authorized certain acts to be done by the corporation of the Thames county, and vested certain property in that body. He assumed that the infringement was unintentional, and suggested that a message should be sent to the other House, to the effect that the Council would waive their objection to the insertion of the clauses, “in the full belief that it was not the intention of the House of Representatives to annex clauses to one of their bills of supply, the matter of which is foreign to and different from the true matter of such Bill of Aid or Supply.”
Colonel Whitmore, on behalf of the government, assured the Council that there was no intention to infringe their privileges. Mr. Hart and Mr. Mantell thought it would be desirable to guard privilege against invasion; and Sir F. D. Bell (a former speaker of the Lower House) thanked Sir J. Richardson for his watchfulness and Colonel Whitmore for page 164 the manner in which he had met it. Sir Dillon Bell raised a warning voice against the extravagance with which, in the Appropriation Bill and the bill under discussion, votes were “crowded on to the supplementary estimates at the last moment, in utter disregard of the certain fact that we have not money to pay them.” Nothing would “save the country from insolvency unless the government of the day, let them be who they will, sternly set down their foot against this madness.” The New Zealand Legislature seems to have shrunk from seriously considering the question of payment of its members, originally sanctioned merely to reimburse members for the difficult task of journeying to the seat of government when means of conveyance were rarely to be procured. In 1877 Mr. Stevens (from Christchurch) moved a reduction in the item, which was called “honorarium;” but he found little support. The session ended on the 10th December. The members were dispersed with irritated feelings. The men of Canterbury who had supported abolition felt the iron in their souls when the prophesied seizure of their provincial land fund became an unwelcome fact. The extension of the pastoral leases in Canterbury roused the wrath of Sir G. Grey. His reputation served to procure a friendly interview, in January, with Tawhiao, and his bitterest foes acquiesced in the belief that, as regarded the Maoris, his influence might prove useful. At Wellington he addressed the electors, by invitation, and harangued them on the policy which he fondly said would make them happy, and give the world assurance of beatitude unknown on earth before. Taxation was to be imposed on all holdings exceeding 350 acres. Universal suffrage and equal electoral districts were to convert ignorance in the halls of legislation into supreme wisdom. All would be well if the people would support Sir G. Grey.
At an election of a member to supply the place of Mr. Reader Wood at Parnell, an Auckland suburb, a supporter of the government was elected without opposition, and the high hopes of the Vogel party that in 1878 they would easily drive Sir G. Grey from office began to wane. Nevertheless Major Atkinson, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Ormond, Mr. Bowen, and Mr. McLean, recently expelled from office, addressed page 165 their constituents with success. The endeavour of Sir G. Grey to strangle the Land Bill furnished a weapon which they were not slow to use. He, in the meantime, addressed crowded audiences at Westland, Canterbury, and Otago. At Christchurch, Mr. Rolleston and others vainly endeavoured to check the tide. The local magnates were howled at, and Sir G. Grey was received with acclamation. After a triumphal progress he returned to the North Island to meet again the Maori King. The ministry received an addition to its ranks in the person of Mr. Stout, who became Attorney-General. Two representatives from the Otago district still held office with Sir G. Grey, although Mr. Larnach, the Treasurer, resigned his position and went to England, bearing powers to represent New Zealand in negotiating the new loan. Mr. Ballance succeeded Mr. Larnach as Treasurer. Mr. Stafford had left the colony. The star of Sir G. Grey seemed for the time in the ascendant, and the failure of the prosecution of Jones for libel against Whitaker seemed to show that outside as well as within the walls of Parliament the Atkinson ministry was condemned.
Long as the peace between Pakeha and Maori had endured, there were fears that, at any moment, a rankling sense of injustice, a superstitious confidence in a leader, and carelessness about consequences, if not absolute love of fighting, might bring about a Maori rising. A man named Moffatt was tried in 1877 for unlawfully manufacturing gunpowder, which it was said the Maoris were secretly accumulating. The resident magistrate at Wanganui reported (May, 1877) that at Mokau, Waikato, and Tuhua, the man had long been traitorously supplying powder and repairing firearms. Two chiefs took umbrage at Moffatt's conduct towards them, and executed a warrant for his arrest. He was tried before Judge (C. W.) Richmond. Evidence to support some serious charges was defective, but a conviction, on the ground of manufacturing unlawfully, was followed by the maximum penalty—imprisonment for two years—the judge telling the prisoner that hanging would not have been too severe a punishment for his murderous crime of supplying a semi-barbarous and merciless foe with means for rapine and destruction of unoffending settlers.page 166
There was a cloud at Parihaka. The great block of land declared to be, with reservations, confiscated by proclamation at Taranaki in 1865 comprised all the coast line of the Cape Egmont promontory from Waitotara on the south to the White Cliffs on the north. Within it there were patches held by Maoris under English tenure. The government had pledged itself to make reserves for Maori uses, but had not made them. Even awards made to the natives by the Compensation Court in 1866 had not been carried out. Content with his practical autocracy in native affairs, Sir D. McLean, in 1872, permitted the scattered natives to return, with the public sanction, to their old homes. “I think it would be politically undesirable, and I fear practically impossible, to attempt to prevent their occupying the country north of Waingongoro, the confiscation of that country having been abandoned by the government so long as they behave themselves and keep the compact about not crossing Waingongoro.” These words (written by one of his staff) were officially approved by McLean in 1872; and the Waimate Plains were included within the territory over which confiscation was thus treated as abandoned. So completely did McLean recognize the resumption of their land by the Maoris, that he entered with them into formal deeds of cession and sale by them of lands within the confiscated block.77 The Ngatiruanui tribe originally held the coast from near Opunake to Waitotara. The fertile Waimate Plains were part of their heritage. It has been seen that although the joint tribal rights ought naturally, by accretion, to have devolved upon the unoffending, if by treason or otherwise any deminutio capitis had been incurred by any outlawed persons, the colonial government had not adopted the wise suggestion of Mr. Cardwell to take by cession, and not by confiscation, lands required in order to punish Maoris who had taken up arms against injustice and had been worsted in the field. The proclamations of the colonial government, nevertheless, invited the rebellious Maoris to come in, and land was promised in those proclamations to those who would do so. Even to Titokowaru, Sir D. McLean had page 167 declared that if he would be peaceful he would not be molested, and he had settled at Okaiawa, near the scene of his exploits at Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu. But he was not now the accepted prophet of the people. Te Whiti was their guide. Month by month—year by year—he convened meetings and harangued his countrymen with an eloquence of which they did not tire, though he sometimes spoke for hours. Mr. Parris, the agent employed in 1859 to create war at the Waitara, reported (1872):—
“The general character of Te Whiti's influence is altogether in favour of peace, and I think that if he be prudently dealt with it will continue so, as it corresponds with the essentially peaceful and amiable nature of this singular man… His total want of sympathy with, and indeed his scorn for, our action of progress, and the absence of all desire for money, or anything that we have to offer him, renders it difficult if not hopeless to obtain any active aid from him in facilitating the work of colonization.”
He had acquired “predominating influence,” not only over his people at Taranaki, but in far distant tribes. Thus said Mr. Parris. Te Whiti was described as being in 1879 about 50 years of age, as having clear intelligent eyes quickly flashing, a well-chiselled nose, almost European features, which in repose appeared Spanish, and a muscular frame of fine fibre, symmetrical like his hands. His voice was powerful and clear, and as he stood
“erect and bareheaded, it could be heard all through the village, now thrilling with passion, anon replete with scorn, and then plaintive in entreaty. He revels in mystery, and for copiousness of language and imagery, for gracefulness of action, modulation of voice, for selfpossession, and command of his audience, Te Whiti certainly ranks high as an orator. To the usual (Maori) metaphor, he adds all that can be gleaned from Scripture. His memory in private conversatio with visitors shows that he is well informed on both ancient and private history.”88
The colonists wondered whether he was mad or cunning; whether under the cloak of prophecy he was secretly organizing resistance, or was the dupe of the enthusiasm which asserted that he was inspired. His figurative speech fomented doubt. He spoke as if in him the Deity uttered oracles,9 but it was the custom of his countrymen to page 168 impersonate thus; as a chief would often say, “I slew a tribe,” when he meant that his ancestor had done the deed arrogated to himself. Of his commanding influence there was no douht, but there was no sign that the followers of Tawhiao encouraged him. Some persons thought he hoped to test the validity of the confiscation proclamations before the Privy Council; or that by mingled demonstrations of power among his own people and passive martyrdom before the colonists the justice of the Queen might at last be invoked. There were others who saw with chagrin that his influence rebuked that drunkenness which was so profitable to dealers, and so potent in decimating the Maori race. At Parihaka, between Mount Egmont and the sea, his admirers assembled in such numbers that it was said there had not been seen so much Maori cultivation in one locality since Europeans had inhabited New Zealand. Men from distant tribes were assembled under his protection. In May, 1877, a magistrate reported: “The Maori prophet, Te Whiti, still holds his periodical assemblies at Parihaka, in the Taranaki country, and the natives continue to attend, and have not yet lost faith in his prognostications.” But though he preached peace no man doubted that at his command any follower would gladly take life at risk of his own.
Te Rangitake maintained a peaceable demeanour, but dwelt apart from Europeans, high upon the Waitara river. Scattered in various places on the confiscated territory were many of the Taranaki, the Ngatiruanui and others formerly hostile, who professed to rely on the assurances of the government that they would not be molested. As page 169 far as various officers could ascertain, there was no likelihood of troubles if those promises should be respected. There were occasional dangers from native feuds. Even among the friendly Arawa strife was at one time apprehended, but it was averted by the mediation of a commissioner with the aid of native assessors. Cultivation of land and sobriety were reported to be on the increase in several districts, but the decay of the race had not been appreciably arrested. In Canterbury, the Rev. Mr. Stack wrote (June, 1877) that the old order and reverence among Maoris which had been displaced by the loss of influence of chiefs and the voluntary abolition of slavery had been succeeded by a coarseness which degraded the morals of the people. They still craved education for their children. Many of them had been impoverished by their efforts to provide funds to enable Taiaroa to appeal to the Privy Council in the matter of the Maori reserve at Dunedin.
The returns laid before the Assembly showed that 1131 boys and 789 girls attended native schools; the average attendance being respectively 791 and 565. The cost contributed by the government was £15,392. . Maoris had given towards salaries £464, and for erection of buildings £573 = £1037; total, £16,429. There were about 50 village schools. The superior schools for which Sir J. Fergusson had touchingly pleaded had not been altogether forgotten; 26 boys and 18 girls were stated to have received education at provincial district schools; and there were boarding establishments at which 99 boys and 126 girls had been taught. A petition signed by nearly 1000 Maoris, in 1877, might be styled a general grievance petition, with thanksgiving for certain acts. They declared their loyalty to the Queen. It was good that the tribes should meet every year to lay their grievances before the Assembly.
“We say that the present Maori Representation Act should be repealed, —i.e., the law which only allows a few representatives for the Maori people in proportion to the European representation. We say that the conduct of the native land purchases under the Act now in force is very confusing and bad, and that purchases under these regulations should be stopped. Land should not be sold while the original title exists. If the tribe, the hapu, and the chiefs consent to survey and to have the title investigated by the court, then only will it be right that such survey and investigation should take place. If all consent to sell the land, then only will it be right to sell. When the consent to sell has not been obtained, page 170 let no money be paid to the owners… Let the questions of survey and of investigation of title to land rest with the owners… We desire that all the laws about the Native Land Court should be repealed, and a (marama1010) clear Act should be passed, under which Maori land matters may be fairly dealt with. It should provide that the Land Court judges should hold the same position as judges of other permanent courts, and that the government should have no authority over such Native Land Court judges. We say that the government is a bad government. It has no good thought towards Maoris. Let the Parliament upset that government. We would address a respectful petition to our Queen praying her to send hither a trustworthy and upright man to inquire into our grievances, to write them down, and to write down our statements so that our Queen may see them…”
“The evils that have fallen upon the Maori people through the action of the Government Land Purchase Commissioners have been very great, and it is very proper that the system should be abolished.”
They thought that a fixed Act should be passed making the representation of the Maori people by Maoris proportionate to the representation of the European people by Europeans, that the present electoral districts should be abolished, and the great tribal boundaries should be made the division between the new electoral districts.
“… Through the evils in the laws, bad Europeans have seized, without consideration, the lands of the Maoris at Hawke's Bay (Heretaunga, &c.) and other places… The Act which allows Maoris to sit on juries in the European courts should be carried out. The chiefs and people of knowledge of all the tribes in this island should cause the names of qualified persons to be placed on the electoral rolls. The Maoris throughout the colony should not vote for the new county councils, lest it be made a ground for demanding money for the councils on account of native lands. The government should use every endeavour to have schools established throughout the colony so that Maori children may learn the English language, for by this they will be on the same footing as Europeans and will become acquainted with the means by which the Europeans have become great. The meeting asks the chiefs and all the people of the island to lay aside all old deeds, to return to the right religion and to the teachings of Scripture. The meeting is glad that the disputes about Kakirawa and Te Awa-a-te-atua have been settled by the payment of a large sum of money and the restitution of a portion of the land. The Europeans of these islands will now know that the objections raised by the Maoris to the wrong-doings of Mr. Sutton and others of Hawke's Bay are not untrue; for if they had not done wrong this large sum would not have been paid for Kakirawa and Te Awa-a-te-atua. The meeting strongly objects to the return of Mr. Sutton as member for the Europeans at Napier, to succeed Sir D. McLean. The Maoris of Hawke's Bay will put no faith in the actions of a man who has been the means of their suffering page 171 such evils; and the meeting says that Mr. Sutton's words in Parliament should not be listened to, and that members from all other places should try to discover the reason why such a man as Mr. Sutton is allowed to fill Sir D. McLean's seat. The meeting approves of the action of the people of Ngatahira—that is their keeping hold of it, lest Mr. Sutton should get it; and the meeting asks that neither the Parliament nor the Government should support Mr. Sutton in doing this great wrong to the Maoris under cover of the sacred name of the law (i raro o te ingoa tapu o te Ture).
… All the chiefs of the tribes are utterly to overthrow the drinking of spirituous liquors (waipiro—lit. stinking water), and the Parliament should pass an Act inflicting penalties on persons taking waipiro to Maori settlements. This meeting desires that Parliament will not put any obstacle in the way of the Maoris in reference to lands wrongly taken from them. It is better that the courts of law should decide such cases. These thoughts of all the Maoris are committed to the consideration of the Parliament of the colony…”
The Chairman of the Committee on Native Affairs reported (7th Aug., 1877), that the petition deserved careful consideration, but the committee were not prepared to—
“make specific recommendations in relation to the numerous political opinions expressed by the petitioners—that inasmuch as the petitioners threw great light upon the opinion of the natives as to the shape which should be given to legislation upon native lands, the committee would recommend that the petitions be printed… The committee desire to express its disapproval of the insertion therein of that portion of it which reflects upon the character of a member of this House, and hope that, in future, Maoris petitioning the Legislature will refrain from making such reflections.”
Such was the aspect of native affairs when at the end of the long reign of the Fox, Vogel, and Ormond party, supplemented by Atkinson and Whitaker, the reins fell into the hands of Sir G. Grey. It was believed that only the tact of Donald McLean had averted dangers which men deemed possible, if not probable. The unruly Maori had his counterpart in the low European. No traveller1111 could go into public places without finding that there was a section of colonists (happily in a minority) thirsting for another war in order that the weakened condition of the Maoris might lead to their extinction. But though in a minority, that section was not powerless. It could by crooked methods thwart a ministry which would not pander to it. There was another section composed of speculators, who, without any wish for war, looked upon questions of war, of right and wrong, and of the treaty of Waitangi, as trifles in comparison with the acquisition of Maori lands. Their morality was couched in their ledgers. They abominated the despatch in which Lord Stanley trampled into dust the vile image which the New Zealand Company wished to set up.page 172
Sir G. Grey and Mr. Sheehan encountered opposition. Some Maori experts, who had followed McLean, and expected no patronage from the new government, strove to inspire Maoris with distrust of Grey and his friends. The interpreter's license of Mr. C. O. Davis, already familiar to the reader, was cancelled; and after a time Mr. Mair and his brother and Mr. Searancke were removed from office. The personal government which had been condemned in McLean was repeated, and was to be defended by Mr. Sheehan, who could not or did not assign reasons for ostracizing some whom he displaced, and was to discover that, in the instances of Mr. Davis and Major Mair, he offended men whose aid might have been potent in overtures to Tawhiao.
Amongst documents printed during 1877 was one concerning the claims of Mr. Whitaker, which had been the subject of the bill passed through the House but rejected in the Council in 1875, in spite of the efforts of Dr. Pollen, Whitaker's colleague. Mr. Murray obtained a select committee, which reported that a proposed exchange of land between Whitaker and the government was judicious, and that delays had subjected Whitaker to loss which ought to be ascertained and settled. The committee gravely stated that they had not “the means of examining the natives interested, but had taken all available evidence.” Much labour would be avoided by inquisitors if such a mode of inquiry should become the rule. The original claim was based on an alleged purchase (Maukoro) near the Piako river, by one Webster in 1839, and Sir G. Gipps’ wise edicts had rendered that transaction nugatory. Governor Fitzroy, nevertheless, made certain irregular grants of land in 1844, and Sir G. Grey's Quieting Titles Ordinance of 1849 was alleged to have invested the claims of Webster with validity. Rights under awards of the Land Claims Commissioner were purchased by Whitaker and Heale, and page 173 there were protracted negotiations to gather in the native interests. Mr. F. D. Bell, being a Commissioner under a Land Claims Settlements Act, heard the case in 1861, and made an award of 12,065 acres to Whitaker and Heale. He admitted that under Gipps’ law only 2560 acres could have been awarded, but urged that the Quieting Titles Ordinance enabled the court to validate the wrongful grants of Fitzroy. But, in 1861, it was one thing to make an award and another thing to act upon it. By the seizure of the Waitara block in 1860 Mr. Whitaker and his friends postponed the day of the gown, and he slept upon his rights. In his evidence in 1877 he plumed himself (and was congratulated) upon not having urged his claims, for fear of creating a “native difficulty.” He must, as one concerned in the “rape of the Waitara,” have smiled at the imputation of such weakness. After the war the native titles were still undealt with at the Piako, and to enable a government land-agent to purchase a tract of country, it was proposed that Whitaker should agree to exchange his Maukoro block if the government would permit him to select an equivalent elsewhere. Dr. Pollen made the bargain, but the Maoris did not wish to lose Maukoro. The land-agent told the committee that they “lived on the land, and would not” allow Mr. Whitaker to take possession … “because their ancestors and chiefs of the tribe were buried there, and they did not wish to give it up.”1212 Dr. Pollen was very gracious to Whitaker in 1874; but the burial-places of ancestry could hardly be wrested from the natives, and McLean might not have consented to such an act.
It was agreed that Whitaker should surrender his title, and that the government should allow him to select 14,783 acres elsewhere (Puninga) between the Piako and Waitoa rivers, of which he was to receive a Crown grant. Whitaker thought the transaction was to be completed without delay under an Act passed in 1858, but a law officer told Pollen that the Puninga block had to be paid for out of a loan raised under the Immigration and Public Works Act, and money thus devoted was inapplicable to lands selected page 174 under any scrip, and could not be awarded by way of compensation. Whitaker pleaded that a bonâ fide exchange of land was outside of the scope of the Act, but Dr. Pollen would not depart from legal advice. Then followed the Piako Land Exchange Bill, which was lost in the Council, and Whitaker complained that he was “badly treated,” but he obtained no “satisfactory answer.” He returned to Auckland and “reopened negotiations” with the Maoris, “and after the dilatory proceedings which always” attended them, arranged to give the chief the Maukoro block with a Crown title in exchange for Puninga, for which the chief was to obtain a Crown title. The latter put his case before the Land Court, but so largely had civilization encroached upon the tribal domains while he was at Maukoro that he could only prove a claim to 8000 acres. This was insufficient for Whitaker. The chief then negotiated (Whitaker deposed) “with other natives, and agreed to give them 5s. an acre, which they accepted. But the next difficulty was the money; Terapipipi declaring that he had none, and urging me to pay it, and he would repay. I advanced about £2000 for survey fees, and to buy up the outstanding claims, which was done… In the meantime Terapippi has made a selection at Maukoro, and I have had it surveyed, so that I am in a position to obtain a Crown grant on application; but I do not do so because Terapipipi wishes the Crown grant to be made in his name, which I cannot agree to till my title at Puninga is made good. Thus the matter stands at present.” Whitaker did not tell the committee whether—while the matter was thus standing—interest for monies was destroying the native inheritance, but an item in his own claims for compensation, as put before the committee on the 11th Oct., 1877, aroused the worst fears for the chief placed at his mercy: “Date, Nov. 15th, 1854. Purchaser (original), Abercrombie. Acres, 5000. Price, £2000. Date to June, 1876, 21 years 199 days. Simple interest at 10 per cent., £6309 Os. 10d Compound interest at 10 per cent., £15,609 7s. 10d.” It may be remembered that in 1873 Dr. Pollen made piteous moan for a chief who, for a small amount of survey fees (£150 or £200) was, by litigation, plundered of an estate of 30,000 acres. His mind page 175 had suffered change in 1877. When examined before the committee he was indignant. He was asked: “Did the government think it desirable to acquire this block of land which witnesses say is apparently worthless, and to give up this Puninga block, part of which, we are told, was sold at £1 an acre by Mr. Whitaker before he acquired it?” He replied: “That is a question you can hardly expect me to answer. I think it is exceedingly undesirable that, as chairman, you should put such a question to me. I expect courtesy at least, and not to be accused of dishonesty. My hands are infinitely cleaner of native land dealings than yours are.” “My honour (retorted the chairman), “as a gentleman, in dealing with native lands, has never been impugned. What actuated the government in making this exchange?” Dr. Pollen could give no explanation. Asked why Whitaker had been allowed “to acquire 4000 acres in addition to the 14,000 he was to get from the natives,” he replied, “I cannot say.” Yet he was able to say, “I think Mr. Whitaker has reason to complain that the agreement made with him by me, on the part of the government, has not been carried out.” Writers of fiction have drawn terrible pictures of the rapidity with which the human mind can slide down an inclined plane. Yet surely nothing more lamentable has been seen than the conversion of the Pollen of 1863 and 1873 into the apologist of 1877.1313 The picture has been necessary to show the condition of the colony. The state of the Maoris cannot be estimated without a knowledge of the arts of those by whom they were pursued, in the attorney's office, in the camp, and in council; and last, not least, where “waipiro” was brought to oppress them.
When the Parliament of New Zealand assembled in July, 1878, the Governor congratulated it on the friendly relations which Sir G. Grey and Mr. Sheehan had established with “the leading chiefs” of the Waikato and Ngatimaniapoto tribes. He added: “The question of the survey and settlement of the west coast of this island has been firmly taken in hand, and the immediate survey of the Waimate Plains has been ordered.” By what obliquity of judgment the page 176 Grey ministry were led to announce so peremptorily the survey of the Waimate Plains it is difficult to understand. All men knew that McLean had guaranteed possession to Maoris who might return to the land. Nor did their claims rest only on his words and the concurrence of the government. A proclamation of peace, issued on the same day (2nd Sept., 1865) as that of confiscation, had announced—“the Governor (Sir G. Grey), will at once restore considerable quantities to those of the natives who wish to settle down upon their lands, to hold them under Crown grants, and to live under the protection of the law. For this purpose commissioners will be sent forthwith, … who will put the natives who may desire it upon lands at once…” The words “forthwith” and “at once” had indeed been neglected, but Donald McLean had so completely recognized the right of the returned Maoris to the confiscated lands, that in 1875 he had negotiated for the purchase from them of 185,000 acres,14 and full information of the conveyances to the government was regularly given to Parliament. His arrangements for acquisition of land by purchase (within the confiscated block) “with the good will of the natives,” were reported to and approved by the Secretary of State.1515 His system, if that could be called system which depended so much upon the blank charter entrusted to him, was to invite all natives to return, to promise them undisturbed occupation of lands which they might settle upon, to purchase from those who claimed, under awards of the Lands Compensation Court, land at the rate of £1 an acre, and to rid himself of the general rights of the tribe over particular areas by compensation not exceeding 5s. an acre. This rate, defined in 1872, was in 1876 raised by him to 7s. 6d. an acre, and the formal instructions which empowered the Civil Commissioner so to raise it dwelt especially on the fact that it was most important to secure for settlement the valuable plains page 177 between Waingongoro and Stoney river. Of those plains the Waimate were esteemed the most precious. The Civil Commissioner, Major Brown, encountered opposition in surveying the Waingongoro river, but negotiated successfully for several blocks to the south of that river. Added to former acquisitions by his predecessor, the concessions thus purchased within the confiscated boundary were 363,000 acres. In 1877 he reported that after finishing “south of the Waingongoro” he proposed to cross that river and settle the question of the Waimate Plains. At that date Dr. Pollen was Native Minister, and Major Atkinson was Premier. The method pursued by Major Brown and others was called bribery by some persons and gratuity by others. Its native name was takoha, or “spread abroad,” but some of it was dispensed secretly. A portion he paid publicly to buy up the tribal rights, and a portion (Brown said) was “to cover the mana of the chiefs, which was privately paid.1616 To acquire the Waimate Plains large sums were disbursed, but he deposed (March, 1880) that he had gained nothing by his largesse. In 1878 he charged, to his Waimate Plains “takoha” account, £1000, which he had paid to a Ngatiawa chief to defray the cost of a feast at the Waitara, and he pleaded that Mr. Sheehan, the then Native Minister, considered such a charge justifiable although the native feasters were of the Ngatiawa tribe, and the Waimate Plains were the inheritance of the Ngatiruanui. Nor was this all. Close to the Waimate Plains was Titokowaru. He was solicited by Brown, and consented, to receive “takoha” for his “mana” over the Waimate Plains which was unquestionable. But when a voucher containing his name was seen at the Audit Office, it was returned “with the intimation (Brown testified) that no expenditure of public money page 178 to that individual could be passed.” Brown was told to pay the money to the public account. He was equal to the occasion. Titokowaru's original name was Kohi Rangatira, and he was afterwards christened Hohepa. In the war he had taken the name of Titokowaru. An Under-Secretary suggested to Brown that he “had better get the voucher signed in some other name.” Ever since (quoth Brown) Titokowaru has “signed as Hohepa and Kohi Rangatira, either jointly or separately.”
In the end of 1876 Brown, pleading that he had been so instructed by Sir D. McLean, abandoned his practice of procuring deeds of cession, and relied upon “takoha,” which he said was given as “compensation for former rights previous to the land becoming Crown land through confiscation.” On Donald McLean's resignation the Native Department under Dr. Pollen continued the practice of bribing certain natives to surrender rights which, by the proclamation of 2nd Sept., 1865, the government professed to have confiscated, but which from 1872 to 1876 they purchased under deeds of cession. In 1877 Major Brown prepared, under order from the Atkinson ministry, to survey the Waimate Plains. Sir G. Grey formed his ministry in Oct., and the Maoris at Waimate objected to the survey of the plains, though Brown reported that Titokowaru (who had received “takoha” from him) was “moderate” at a meeting on the 12th Dec. Mr. Sheehan (3rd Dec.) directed Brown to “suspend the survey” until he might be further instructed. Te Whiti's influence had puzzled Brown, who declared afterwards: “As I got nearer to Parihaka (Te Whiti's home) I found the necessity for paying ‘takoha’ diminish. It diminished after I crossed the Wangongoro. I account for it by the influence of Te Whiti preventing natives from taking the money.” One Blake had stirred the Maoris against Brown's proceedings, and with the approval of the Atkinson ministry Brown, with the promise of £500, bribed Blake to desist.1717 Blake, nevertheless, wrote (Nov., 1877) to a Maori that it was “not right that the survey should be commenced first and the discussion should take place afterwards,” and that he would see Sir page 179 G. Grey and Mr. Sheehan. Whether his efforts were influential or not was undiscovered by the Commission of 1880, but the survey was stopped by the government, and it was understood that Mr. Sheehan would visit the spot in order to ascertain what reserves ought to be made. On the 22nd May, the Colonial Treasurer (Ballance), wanting money, asked Brown if he would recommend the immediate commencement of the survey. If the work were once undertaken, the “government would sustain you by sufficient force.” Mr. Macandrew, Minister for Lands, submitted a minute to the Cabinet (22nd May): “My belief is that it will place in the Treasury close on half-a-million sterling.” A strong detachment of armed constabulary ought to be sent to protect the surveyors, and Mr. Sheehan ought to be apprized of the intention to sell “—— unless he is of opinion that good policy absolutely forbids it.” Macandrew's minute was approved on the understanding that nothing should be done until Mr. Sheehan had visited the district.
These proceedings strongly conflicted with the tenour of meetings which Sir G. Grey and Sheehan had held with the Maoris in Tawhiao's territory. Rewi, Manuhiri, Tapihana, with hundreds of others, attended a preliminary meeting at Kopua. In May, a meeting was held at Hikurangi, and the command of Tawhiao that no spirituous liquors should be there was obeyed. He had a body-guard of 100 men. Sir G. Grey told him that the government would give him 500 acres of land at Ngaruawahia, near the grave of his father, would restore other lands for his people, would erect a house for him at Kawhia, and consult him as to surveys and roads. Tawhiao neither accepted nor rejected the proposals. It was plain that the counsels of the chiefs dictated his words. Nevertheless the meeting was thought successful, and high hopes were entertained. Rewi was not at Hikurangi, and Sir G. Grey with Mr. Sheehan visited him at Puniu. Macandrew's demand to sell the Waimate Plains without any fulfilment of promises to the Maoris took place a few days after the Hikurangi meeting. In June, Sir G. Grey and Mr. Sheehan went to the Waitara. With them went Wi Tako and others. Rewi travelled thither, but his demeanour was disconcerting. Before the page 180 assembled people he told Sir G. Grey that he “wanted the Waitara back.” The meeting was friendly, but there was no decision. Mr. Sheehan travelled to the Waimate Plains to see Titokowaru and Te Whiti, who had not visited the Waitara. Sober and just, never in arms against the Queen, and worshipped by his countrymen, preaching continually that no blood should be shed, Te Whiti was considered by Mr. Sheehan impracticable, if not mad. Sheehan thought it discreditable to Te Whiti's judgment that he had rebuked Titokowaru for taking “takoha” from the government. With such opinions, Mr. Sheehan thought Te Whiti was better at Parihaka than at Waitara, where “takoha” was profusely scattered. It was after these events that the Governor informed the Parliament that the immediate survey of Waimate had been ordered, although no steps had been taken to fulfil the pledges of the government spread over thirteen years. In August the survey was commenced. A chief protested in a friendly manner, and a deputation of Maoris consulted Te Whiti, who told them “not to oppose the survey.” The surveyor was delighted. Titokowaru was on good terms with him, but warned him that the Maoris would resist the cutting of any lines through their cultivated grounds. Mr. Sheehan promised the Maoris that “large reserves should be made for them, that their burial places, cultivations, and fishing grounds should be respected,” and that ample “takoha” should be given to assist them in fencing their reserves and to promote their social improvement.1818
Such was the aspect of affairs at the commencement of the session of 1878, in which no serious attempt was made to disturb the policy of the government, although one or two members resented the stoppage of the survey of the Waimate Plains in 1877; and Mr. Fox derided the laudatory accounts given of the native meetings and the influence of Sir G. Grey. Mr. Sheehan thought the arrangements for surveying the Waimate Plains so satisfactory in Oct., 1878, that he took credit for having prevented interruption by firmly telling Te Whiti and Titokowaru that he “would go on with the survey no matter what they might determine.” But he took no steps to fulfil promises.page 181
Before the session closed (2nd Nov., 1878), the murder of a European (McLean) by a Maori (Hiroki) was reported. The murdered man was a cook for a survey-party near Waverley, not far from Waitotara, far to the south of the Waimate Plains, and no political influence was attached to the act. Hiroki fled, and his tribe offered to assist in capturing him. He was pursued, shot at and wounded. He took sanctuary at Parihaka, where Te Whiti refused to surrender him on the demand of Hiroki's tribe. The survey at Waimate was in progress and unopposed; Titokowaru aided the surveyors with advice. But in February, 1879, the surveyors began to encroach with their lines. The chief surveyor, Humphries, though told by Brown (Civil Commissioner) that a reserve of 2000 acres for the chief, Manaia, was promised, and that it was “to be left without being sectionized,”1919 determined to cut it up into sections, and Brown assented (Dec., 1878). The natives were alarmed. They had been promised reserves, and they saw the lands plotted out (apparently for sale) without any attempt to fulfil the promises of McLean, Brown, or Sheehan. “In December (Humphries testified) the surveyors were stopped by the natives. It was on account of the road going near to the native settlements.” Confident that the Maoris could easily be crushed, despisers of Maori rights were not displeased at the prospect of collision. Brown, meanwhile, resorted to conference and “takoha.” He admitted that, having no instructions from the government as to reserves, he “went on with the survey of the Waimate Plains without making any reserves.”20 In February a surveyor was interrupted near a native settlement Mawhitiwhiti, on the border of the Plains. “Two old Maoris chased the men with long-handled fern-hooks,” and some, “mostly women, closed round the men” and succeeded in taking away an axe. The surveyor said they were very excited, and “it was useless to talk to them, and very unfortunate that this line should run through their cultivations, as Titokowaru had page 182 said the day before that they would resist any lines being cut through their cultivations. The meridian line is right into one the first thing, and is likely to go into several.”21 Brown had received a telegram (15th Jan.) from Sir G. Grey, suggesting that before concluding as to reserves at the Plains, “the government should have the proposals before them and consider them.” Brown then asked the surveyor, Humphries, “to go round the lands which the natives had under cultivation or in occupation; but he said he could not do so; he must survey them, and then (Humphries) could submit them to the government.”2222 Brown was aware that “one road was surveyed through cultivated and fenced land belonging to Titokowaru.”2323 He said he “did not anticipate objection;” but (1880) inconsistently informed the West Coast Commission that he was not surprised that the natives felt “anxious at the survey being taken so near to their settlements.”2424 He complained afterwards that Sir G. Grey's telegram restrained him in making reserves, but was reminded that he could have requested that his instructions might be modified, and had not done so. Whether his motives were sinister or not, there; is no doubt as to the tendency of his deeds. They may be told in the words of the West Coast Commissioners (1880), Sir W. Fox and Sir F. D. Bell:—
“On the 12th March, one of the surveyors reported that the sectionpegs were rapidly disappearing from one of the blocks, and that from station to station for several miles the pegs had all been pulled up. The surveyor to whom this happened would not allow that the changed conduct of the natives was connected with his laying off a road-line near Titokowaru's settlement at Okaiawa; but after careful inquiry we ourselves entertain no doubt that this road was a principal cause of the surveyors being turned off the Plains. When the road approached Titokowaru's clearings, his grass-paddocks and his village, the surveyor, for engineering reasons, which certainly appear to us very inadequate, insisted on taking this road-line in a direction where it cut into a large fenced enclosure, sown with English cocksfoot grass, a yearly source of income. Captain Wilson, at the request of Titokowaru, interfered, but without avail, and the line was taken in the direction to which the chief had objected. It had only just been finished when he left for Parihaka, and within a fortnight the surveyors were all removed… But though this unlucky step alienated Titokowaru and lost us the benefit of his friendly influence, there was a far more wide-spread cause of dissatisfaction page 183 influencing the whole body of the natives interested in the Waimate Plains. This was the omission of the government to make proper reserves for them.” Citing McLean's and Sheehan's promises, the Commissioners added: “When the natives saw the survey of sections for sale nearly completed, and not only no signs of their reserves being made, but, on the contrary, silence maintained by the Commissioner and the surveyors on the subject; and when they heard that the surveyed land was to be offered for sale, they probably thought it was time to forbid any further progress, so they (24th March) quietly removed all the surveyors to the south side of the Waingongoro river.”
“We can come to no other conclusion (said the Commissioners) than that it is true both in the letter and the spirit that no reserves were made either previous to the commencement or during the progress of the surveys; that none were ever marked off on the ground, nor on any plan except in the manner just described,2525 and that not even those marked on the plan were ever made known to the natives.”
Mr. Sheehan went to Parihaka, but produced no impression on Te Whiti, though he discoursed much with him (22nd March) as to the land. On the 24th March, a surveyor was told that as Te Whiti had overcome Sheehan in debate the surveyors must retreat to the south of the Waingongoro. On the 25th, with courtesy on both sides, the various surveyors were escorted from the district, having been warned by the Civil Commissioner not to leave the Plains of their own accord, but not to oppose force. One surveyor reported to Humphries: “The natives came to remove my camp, and I was very much pleased with their quiet behaviour, the utmost good humour prevailing on both sides.” The next step taken by the ministry almost entitled them to the character they imputed to Te Whiti. Without having made any arrangements as to reserves, burialplaces, cultivations, or fishing-grounds, and without having sketched their intentions on any map, they advertised for sale 16,000 acres at the Waimate Plains. The Treasurer was to make reprisals by the hammer of the auctioneer. A Land Act (1877) had declared confiscated lands to page 184 be Crown lands, and the Local Land Boards in provincial districts were the administrators through whom the government acted. Mr. Ballance, by telegram (25th March), directed the Commissioner of Crown Lands to call an “emergency meeting of the Taranaki Land Board to arrange for the sale of the Plains within the next few weeks. Draft preliminary advertisement will be telegraphed to you immediately.” The board met forthwith—aware that on the previous day surveyors had been expelled from the Plains—“resolved to look upon the act of the ministry as one of public policy,” complied with Mr. Ballance's desire to advertise 16,000 acres at Waimate to be sold by auction at Patea on the 6th May, declared the land to be of special agricultural value, and recorded that their acts were not done proprio motu, but to conform to the Treasurer's will. The advertisement was promulgated in New Zealand (26th March) and forwarded for publication in Australia. The Commissioner of Crown Lands implored for instructions as to reserves for natives, and “details of cash, and deferred payment sections.” He only received answers as to the latter, Mr. Ballance caring more for money than burial-grounds. The Taranaki Land Board met his views on the 2nd April. On the same day Major Brown (in Wellington) thinking it prudent to seem to provide reserves, went to the Survey office and marked off about 3000 acres as reserves on a map, but did not acquaint his own officers, nor the surveyors, nor the Taranaki Land Board, nor the natives, with the fact. It could hardly be hoped that such proceedings would escape public attention, or be concurred with by Sir G. Grey, who after an angry scene with his Treasurer suspended the proceedings at Waimate.
The government had deputed Mr. James Mackay (accompanied by Blake) to visit Te Whiti. On the 2nd April Mackay tried his eloquence on Te Whiti. Indulging in historic illustrations, he was checked by Te Whiti saying: “Cease to speak metaphorically, say plainly what you want.” He wanted to make amicable arrangements about the land.
“The land is mine,” said Te Whiti. “I do not admit your right to survey it. My blanket is mine. Think you it would be right for you to page 185 try to drag it from my body, and clothe yourself with it? If I attempted to tear your coat from your back you would resist, and would not be to blame. What right have I forcibly to wrench your coat from you? The land belongs not to the government, but to me. I told Major Brown to take away his guns. He said he had none. He misunderstood me. He thought I meant firearms. The surveyors themselves are the guns; that is, they will cause guns to be used. I want not war. All I want is to be allowed to remain at peace on my own land. If you try to take the eggs from under a hen she will peck at your hand, and you would not rail at her for protecting her young. The eggs are my land. You would wrongfully steal it from me. I defend it. You say I am a murderer. I say it is the government who are the thieves. I gave up land from Waitotara to Waingongoro2626 under arrangements with Donald McLean and Parris. That ought to satisfy you. Parris also paid money to Maoris for land now held by the government… Waimate was untouched. Waingongoro was the boundary. I turned the surveyors off quietly because they had no right on my land. I made no terms with the government that they should claim my property. You spoke of the good intentions of the government. Tell the Governor not to insist on the survey and I will remain in peace on my land. I do not go on your land to disturb you. Why do you interfere with me in the occupation of mine? … As you came hither, Blake, did you show Mackay the line cut through the cultivations at the door of Titokowaru's house? (Captain Blake: Yes, we saw that.) Where then is the piece to be retained by the Maoris? Where are the promises of McLean and Parris that the lands in the occupation of the natives should not be taken from them? But for the expulsion of the surveyors we should receive no consideration at the hands of the government… You know in your own mind that I have right on my side… Are you authorized by the government to offer me a part of my land and agree for them to take the other part?” Mackay replied: “I am not authorized to make any definite proposal, but will convey to the government any suggestion you may make.” “You had better get the government (answered Te Whiti) to fix their proposals. Not I, but they are active in the matter. I am living quietly on my land.”
On the 4th April, Mackay telegraphed the result of his interview, and on the same day the government withdrew the advertisement of the sale of the Plains. On the 24th April it was announced that the sale was “postponed until further notice.” Of those who knew anything about Maori affairs, there could be none who did not see that, after the proclamations and promises of the government, the invasion of Titokowaru's homestead was a gross breach of promise, if not inherently wrong.
Mackay (4th April) reported that the natives were dissatisfied because Crown grants awarded to them by the Compensation Court in 1866 had not been issued; because the title to lands confiscated by the government, and after- page 186 wards abandoned, had not been determined; because promises were not regarded by the government; because the government, having kept no accurate record of their promises, were “unwittingly” diverging “from previous understandings and arrangements;” because Te Whiti feared that the measure applied to Waimate would be applied to Parihaka; and because natives dwelling on lands reserved for them at Patea had been told that they were only allowed to dwell there on sufferance. He recommended the appointment of a mixed commission of Europeans and Maoris to examine the “whole question of confiscated lands from Waitotara to Tataraimaka,” to confirm previous awards, to ascertain the proper grantees, and to take evidence as to previous promises of the government or its officers. Mr. Sheehan thanked Mackay, and announced that he had “provisionally” “speckled” the map with reserves. He would recommend reserves of at least one-fourth of the land. That which should have been done before undertaking the survey he was willing to do after its interruption. At Taranaki he discussed with Brown and Parris, in the presence of Mackay, “the question of unfulfilled promises in respect of lands between the Waitotara river on the south and the White Cliffs on the north.” The result he stated in Parliament (23rd July, 1879): “I was not aware in 1878, nor was the country aware, nor do I believe the House knows as a fact, what the exact position of those lands on the west coast was. It has only been made clear to us by the interruption of the surveys. It turns out that from the White Cliffs down to Waitotara the whole country is strewn with unfulfilled promises.” He gave an instance, and added: “From Hawera to Waingongoro and down to Waitotara, similar cases have occurred… As a matter of fact, grants have been kept back until the people have come to the conclusion that the whole thing is a sham and a delusion.” He reported from Taranaki to his colleagues in April, 1879, that Te Whiti's influence was “the most important and powerful of all” elements of disturbance. “There can be no question as to the immense ascendancy which this remarkable man has obtained over his people… It is a moot point whether he is a believer in his own fanaticism, or whether page 187 he is not, under the guise of a prophet, endeavouring to become the saviour of the lands of himself and his own particular following. As a fact, it is well known that he looks down upon Tawhiao and the Waikato people, characterizing them as degraded.” The time for meeting Tawhiao was approaching, and Sheehan left Mackay to prosecute inquiries, and to give incredible assurances that promises would be fulfilled. On the 6th May, Mackay reported that although Te Whiti and Titokowaru denied the right of the Crown to any confiscated lands, others were willing to concur in any arrangement to fulfil the pledges of the government, and that their grievances were “the outcome of a series of mistakes and negligences extending over the past thirteen years.”2727
Before describing Te Whiti's proceedings in May, Sir G. Grey's meeting with the Waikato tribes must be mentioned. It was rumoured that skilful linguists and political enemies intrigued to thwart him. On the 6th May, 1879, 5000 natives were gathered at Kopua. Tawhiao had an armed body-guard of 180 men. Rewi, Wahanui, Te Heu Heu of Taupo, Te Ngakau, and the keen Tapihana were present. With the party of the government were Te Wheore and Rangihiwinui, the Rev. Heta Tarawiti, the fast friend of Bishop Selwyn, and many others. The aged Manuhiri (the Tamati Ngapora of former days) was brooding in his tent. Sons of the king-maker, Waharoa, were there as allies of Sir G. Grey. Topia Turoa, with Rangihiwinui, his old comrade in arms, and Mete Kingi, now represented Wanganui as friendly to the Hikurangi propositions. Hori Tupaea from Ngaiterangi, now about fourscore years of age, lent his countenance to the government. Ngatiraukawa sent Hitire Paerato, known in the Waikato war, and others. Ngatiwhatua sent the genial Paora Tuhaere, Paraono Ngaweke, Arama Karaka and others. Ngatipaoa was represented by Waata Tipa, Puhata and others. Ngatitamatera sent old Tukukino (whom the Thames County Council laboured to coerce as to forming a road) and others. The Rarawa and Ngapuhi, ever proud of their loyalty to the Queen, sent Tawhai, Tawhiti (a member of the New Zealand page 188 Parliament) and many more. The Arawa sent Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke, learned in ancient lore, with Te Pukuatua and others. The Ngatituwharetoa sent Te Heu Heu, with Poihipi Tukeraingi and other chiefs. The Ngatiraukawa, who dwelt on the southern lands which old Rauparaha invited their fathers to possess, sent Te Rauhihi, Te Kapukai and others. Of the Whakatohea, Ngatiawa, Ngatikahungunu, Rongowhakaata, Ngarauru, and Ngatiporou there were representatives. The chiefs prohibited the use of spirituous liquors at Kopua. It was significant that Tawhiao28 was, during the meeting, sedulously guarded from free converse with Sir G. Grey's friends. His guard was ever with him. Te Ngakau appeared to be the soul of opposition. Rewi was deemed loyal to his professions, and to counteract his influence, plotters against Grey strove to create discord between Rewi and Tawhiao. When the conference formally commenced (7th May), Rewi was active in marshalling the people, but Te Ngakau preceded the king with a band of young men dressed with feathers, and Wahanui accompanied his king. Tawhiao, adorned with feathers (after prayers, in which only his soldiers joined), rose and invited all the people from the South to the North Cape to listen… “The word is this. Potatau alone is the ancestor of all people. He alone is the chief of this island—of you all—and you cannot deny it. The whole of this country was his… I say this. Sir G. Grey has no right to conduct affairs on this island, but I have the sole right… I do not consent to any of the arrangements which prevail… One of them is the bringing of war into this country. It must be removed utterly. We must have no fighting whatever; whether about roads, leases, or anything else… All foreign innovations must be swept away. There will then be no evils.”
Rewi rose from his seat, walked to Tawhiao, and sat near him. Whether patriotism, treachery, or malice had worked singly or in combination, the result was undoubted. Sir G. Grey had failed. There was a pause. Tawhiao's people as said prayers. Wahanui declared that what Tawhiao had page 189 said would not be added to on that day. The eloquent Te Rangikaheke recited a chant apparently friendly. At intervals he was responded to. Te Heu Heu announced his adherence to the words of Tawhiao. After brief speeches the discussion was adjourned till the morrow. The silent Sir G. Grey must have reflected wistfully upon the days when he alone wielded the Queen's authority in the land, and when the seizure of Rauparaha created lasting distrust of his captor. On subsequent days Tawhiao was absent; but, in the order proposed by the genial Te Wheoro, the chiefs of Aupouri, Rarawa, Ngapuhi, Ngatiwhatua, Hauraki, Arawa, Taupo, Tauranga, Ngatiporou, and numerous tribes, including those on the west coast, spoke tribe by tribe. Tawhiao's claim to the whole island was rejected by many. They clung to the treaty of Waitangi and the authority of the Queen. On the 9th, Sir. G. Grey said that Tawhiao had been answered by those who rejected Tawhiao's claim, and he rejected it also. Waharmi insinuated that takoha was the bribe with which Sir G. Grey sought to seduce the Maoris, and was vigorously answered by Paora Tuhaere and others. To the question—Who was to blame for past strife—Sir G. Grey answered: “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone. Rewi has asked: ‘Why the difference between the words of to-day and those at Hikurangi a year ago?’ To that I say there is no difference on our part. Let those who have complaints to make stand up and state them openly here.” Aporo vehemently replied that Rewi and Sir G. Grey had shed precious blood, that Tawhiao only could give blessings, and that, even since the meeting at Hikurangi, attempts had been made to form a road through the land of the king, in defiance alike of what was right and of the pledges at Hikurangi. Then Rewi defended himself. He had been a man of war and shed blood; but, for the salvation of his people, had now grasped the hand of another, Grey, who had shed blood also. Some people thought that he had been tempted by lucre. “I say no. My treasure is my land. I hold Sir G. Grey, because he was my opponent… I will hold to him because we can arrange matters and devise the means for living in peace… When this work is done I will turn to the matters of my soul. I will build up my spirit…” Sir page 190 G. Grey then spoke of his friendship with Potatau. There would never have been war in Waikato if Grey had remained in the island. He looked on Tawhiao as his own child. Love for the people of the island was the bond between Rewi and himself. Wicked men had arisen to spread false reports about Rewi and himself. Those reports were untrue. With Tawhiao's declaration that there should be no more righting he was delighted. There spoke a son worthy of his father. On the 12th, the final discussion took place. Wahanui denied that the arguments of Tawhiao's friends had been refuted, and was answered by Paora Tuhaere, who but for the “shadowed livery of the burnished sun” was a fit representative of a burly English country gentleman. Tawhiao was present, but left Wahanui and Te Ngakau to reiterate their arguments. At the close Sir G. Grey strove to confute Aporo's attack about the road, and infelicitously pointed out that, as the servant of New Zealand, he could not have refused to make the road when the Parliament directed that it should be made. He reminded the meeting of his offers at Hikurangi, and their advantages. If not accepted now, they would be cancelled. On the following morning he wrote to Tawhiao that he was about to leave—” not in anger, but sorrow, because you have not been wise enough to accept the benefits offered to you, and because the hope which I have cherished for years that I might be the means of placing yourself and your people in a condition of prosperity and peace has been again deferred.” Tawhiao made no sign. Wahanui and others had complained that Sir G. Grey and others had severed the Maoris from the Queen. “It is urged that we should become one under her shadow. That is right, for she is my mother; but who severed this unity and caused war? It was not the Maori, but Grey and his friends.” The seizure of Rauparaha, moreover, could never be forgotten. Many persons believed that Tawhiao's rejection of Sir G. Grey's overtures was brought about by intrigues of Grey's enemies, amongst whom was reckoned Mr. C. O. Davis, the Maori scholar, whom Mr. Sheehan had offended. Major Mair had been dispensed with by the over-confident Sheehan, at a time when Sheehan more lightly esteemed Mair's powers than page 191 when the ministers returned crestfallen from Kopua. In Parliament (July, 1879) Sheehan said that “the change in the king's notions as to the terms of settlement was a change brought about by evil counsels at the last possible moment.”
At Kopua Te Whiti's wrongs were not discussed. Mr. Sheehan cultivated the friendship of Rewi, who reviewed at Awamutu a troop of cavalry, and informed them that their vocation was gone, for that thenceforward peace was to prevail. Mr. Sheehan contemplated with satisfaction the effect of a visit to Auckland. A few days before Rewi arrived there 29 Mr. Sheehan's hopes were rudely dashed by Te Whiti, although some days elapsed before the settlers ascertained that Te Whiti was the author of their astonishment. On the 26th May, Maoris invaded a farm at Oakura, and ploughed up grass-lands. Telegrams were sent to Sir G. Grey. Alarm was general, but no violence was displayed towards the settlers. The “Taranaki Herald” declared that “if it should come to fighting, then we have very little hesitation in saying the struggle will be a short one, and afterwards this district will never more receive a check to its progress from the same cause.” The ploughing went on, and the ploughers said “it was done in order to force a settlement, and that Te Whiti only wanted the Governor to come to settle affairs.”30 Far and wide, from the White Cliffs to Hawera, the ploughmen worked, commencing before sunrise, and taking away their ploughs in the evening. Great numbers of Te Whiti's followers congregated at Parihaka. The government strengthened their armed forces, and made arrangements to procure Maori allies from the east coast. Mr. Parris went to Te Whiti, and was told that the prophet did not desire hostilities, but to bring the land question to an issue. It was not against settlers, but against the government that his measures were directed. The Governor, with Sir G. Grey and Colonel Whitmore, went to Taranaki. The magistrates there reported that “the settlers should be armed.” If the natives persisted in “molesting property” they would be shot down. An Auckland newspaper thought it impossible to use violence until the allegations of the natives had been investigated. “In the Waitara case our troops drove off Te Rangitake and his people, and destroyed his villages and cultivations; and years after, and after a bloody and protracted war, we found we had been all wrong. It would be a pity if something like the same mistake were committed now.” In June, Te Whiti said:—page 192
“Come to me and be saved. So long as you remain with me, no man can harm you… If any man molests me, I will talk with my weapon—the tongue. I will not resist the soldiers if they come. I would gladly let them crucify me.” To the ploughmen he said: “Go, put your hands to the plough. Look not back. If any come with guns and swords, be not afraid. If they smite you, smite not in return. If they rend you, be not discouraged. Another will take up the good work. If evil thoughts fill the minds of the settlers, and they flee from their farms to the town as in the war of old, enter not you into their houses, touch not their goods nor their cattle. My eye is over all. I will detect the thief, and the punishment shall be like that which fell upon Ananias.”
Seeing the wonder of the reporters, he rebuked them for their eagerness to note mundane things and their disregard of the word of the Spirit. A few days afterwards Sir G. Grey telegraphed his consent “to the removal of the ploughers without any unnecessary disturbance” (22nd June). On the 23rd he sanctioned the removal of the ploughmen by settlers, but said that arrests under warrant should be made by the police or by the armed constabulary. On the 25th he authorized the police to arrest the ploughmen if disturbance should seem probable, and at once to bring a charge against them. Arrests were made. The prisoners page 193 were willing captives. Day by day fresh ploughmen appeared with joyful faces, and entreated to be taken. Some Taranaki settlers, surprised at the demeanour of the Maoris, and confident in the armed force at hand, proposed an attack upon Te Whiti. But the government were not able to indict the prisoners they held, and it was suspected that if he should be arrested, the demon of revenge might be aroused among his followers. The Poverty Bay massacre by Te Kooti was remembered. Before many weeks had elapsed 200 willing captives31 had been sent to Carlyle and to Wellington, nominally for trial, although the authorities knew not how to arraign them. At the end of 1879 it was computed that the expense incurred was at the rate of £200,000 a year.
The Treasury was in straits, and a sale of rich lands might replenish it. A treaty and the word of the Queen were in the way. Governor after governor, minister after minister, had abounded in pledges. The pledges had not been kept, and if the Maoris would but have died quickly enough there would have been no need to keep faith. If they would not die they must be killed. After all, so much had been already done at Taranaki that an additional crime might escape condemnation. It was but the complement of acts of former ministries, sanctioned by a Secretary of State. They had smitten the Maori body; their successors must bury it. He was a poor assassin who scrupled to get rid of the corpse of his victim. Such was the impulse of the worse spirits which had never been wanting in the land since the days when Colonel Wakefield struck his foul bargains. There were others who were weary of obstacles to what they called the progress of New Zealand. They did not desire the slaughter of the Maoris; they only wanted their land. The highest good was anise and page 194 cummin of exports and imports; and weightier matters of judgment, mercy, and faith were not compatible with the public works policy to which New Zealand was committed. The public debt was large, and the interest heavy. Mercantile faith must be maintained. Debtor and creditor accounts were nearer to them than righteousness or judgment to come. Those who deny the proneness of mankind to degeneracy might find refutation of their theory in the large numbers of colonists who thus throughout New Zealand succumbed to the schemes of outspoken foes of the Maori race. There were thousands who knew no more of the rise, progress, and condition of affairs at Taranaki than was known in a provincial town in England. But all watched the progress of events recorded in the newspapers. Sometimes they read that Te Whiti's influence waned because his followers were in prison; sometimes that he was acting on opinions of eminent lawyers. When ploughmen were no longer arrested, but quietly removed, he still enjoined peacefulness. Mr. Mackay continued his inquiries as to the broken promises of the government; and in August, when the ploughing ceased, political events had shaken the ministry. They placed Taiaroa in the Legislative Council, and his seat for the southern Maori district was filled by Tainui after a contest. The Parliament was to meet in July. The resignation of Mr. Stout (the Attorney-General) was said to be owing to private arrangements; but when Mr. Ballance had resigned in June it was known that serious disputes had occurred. Without an Attorney-General, and undertaking the duties of Treasurer at a few days’ notice, Sir Grey met the powerful opposition which had been maturing its plans against him. Mr. Gisborne became Minister for Mines and Immigration, and Mr. Thomson Minister for Lands. The Marquis of Normanby had prorogued Parliament in November. A new Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, convened it in July. The Speaker of the Council, Sir J. Richardson, had died, and in June, 1879, Sir William Fitzherbert, the Speaker of the Representatives, accepted the Speakership of the Council. Sir G. Grey moved that Mr. O'Rorke be Speaker. Major Atkinson echoed the statement that all O'Rorke's decisions would be just, and page 195 Mr. O'Rorke was unanimously elected. The wily Whitaker took occasion to congratulate the Speaker elect, although he had “invariably been opposed” to him in politics. The Governor's speech promised a measure to secure manhood suffrage for Europeans, and a ratepayer's vote for Maoris. Native lands would be dealt with, after inquiry. Fanaticism on the west coast had “assumed an alarming appearance,” but steps had been taken to ensure peace, and it was “possible that a peaceful solution would be found.” Tawhiao was still friendly, and “the well-known chief, Rewi, had given further important proofs of good faith and loyalty.” The general revenue was flourishing, but that derived from land had fallen off. An income tax would be proposed, and a Loan Bill to raise £5,000,000 for construction of railways. A bill to deprive municipal voters of their proportional influence at local elections seemed a further instalment of the design of Sir G. Grey to stifle the old English representation which carefully regarded “the communities of shires and boroughs as the collective organizations32 of those who paid taxes,” and tended in no manner to subject the earnings of the industrious to the votes of a numerical majority. Sir W. Fox moved (18th July) an amendment on the address, which was carried by 47 votes against 33. Sir G. Grey's speech had intensified the bitterness of opponents, and on the 30th July the Governor's consent to a dissolution (on the understanding that it would be immediate, and that the new Parliament should be called together on the return of the writs) was announced. A formal address from the Council had been presented, but the speeches were as uncompromising in one House as in the other. Mr. Water-house and Sir F. Bell so unsparingly criticized the government that they were upbraided for supporting Te Whiti. The latter said:—
“You may not go and take possession of the confiscated land by force of arms. If you do, you must be prepared to fight for it; and who is there, looking at the experience of past years, that will advocate the acquisition of that land at the price of blood? Your cause is unjust, and you must retreat from your position. The humiliation of doing so signifies nothing… You must, in justice, give up at once the attempt to get that land except in strict accordance with the promises of Sir D. McLean. page 196 … If you are generous enough to do this you will have no further difficulty on the west coast.”
He told the truth. There was no difficulty on the west coast except what the government created. Distrust was exhibited as to delay of the dissolution, and refusal of supplies was threatened; but after some manœuvring they were granted. A Loan Bill was passed for £5,000,000, although the debt recorded33 on the 31st December, 1878, was £22,608,000. On the 6th August, Taiaroa asked in the Council whether, and if so, when, the prisoners would be tried. Colonel Whitmore replied that it was intended to try them in October. On the 8th, Major Atkinson demanded protection for settlers on the west coast. Mr. Sheehan would rather cut off his right hand than pass a retrospective measure to deal with the prisoners. It was one of the stipulations with the Governor, when granting an immediate dissolution, that no contested motions should be brought on. If the opposition would agree not to debate the matter, Sheehan would bring in a bill to postpone the trials. Atkinson, who had privately negotiated with Sheehan, was sure that the House would willingly pass the bill. The rule of the House, that all such bills should be translated into Maori, was evaded. Standing orders were suspended. Sheehan brought in a Peace Preservation Bill, which the House read three times without remark. It said that, as the peace of the colony was endangered by certain natives, and, “from divers causes it has hitherto been difficult to bring such persons within the ordinary operation of the law,” it was expedient to deal with them otherwise. The Governor was to proclaim that such natives were to withdraw from their abodes. If they should not withdraw they were to be “deemed guilty of misdemeanour, and, upon conviction, to be liable to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding one year.” (Thus Te Whiti might be put in gaol.) Such Maoris, when arrested, might be “detained without bail until the end of the session” next succeeding; and “no judge or justice of the peace shall bail or try any such Maori without an order from the Governor until the end of (such next succeeding session), any law or statute to the contrary notwithstanding.” The Governor was to order page 197 time and place for trial, and might send the prisoners to any part of New Zealand; and the Habeas Corpus Act was specially suspended.
Such was the measure which Sir G. Grey's government were assisted by Sir W. Fox and Major Atkinson to pass as “uncontested.”
A Maori Prisoners Trials Bill was introduced by Mr. Sheehan. The time of gaol-delivery had elapsed with regard to some of the prisoners and they had not been tried. The bill enabled the Governor to fix the day and place for trial, which was not to be delayed beyond three months after the passing of the bill. It declared it “indispensable for the peace and safety of the colony that the ordinary course of law should be suspended, and (the trials) should take place under special legislation.” The Governor was to declare what number of prisoners should be tried at any sitting of the court. The bill was not passed in silence. Tainui protested against passing the bill without having it printed in Maori. The natives generally desired that the trials should take place in due course of law as soon as possible. Mr. Macfarlane protested against the “abominable” bill altogether. Orders in Council ought not to supersede the law. Mr. Swanson followed in the same strain, and declared that the bill was brought in at the behest of Major Atkinson. Another member deplored the public shame to Englishmen with which such a measure was fraught. Mr. Stewart denounced it as a gross infraction of the Great Charter. It placed the government above all law. The Maoris were committed for trespass; let them be duly tried. Major Atkinson called the objections to the bill theoretical. He was as careless of the safeguards of British law as of the treaty of Waitangi. Captain Russell scorned all law. “Lawyers were very useful in their way, but a great nuisance in legislative bodies.” As far as he could judge, “these natives … are really not British subjects at all.” Tomoana said: “The new Parliament is to meet in thirty days. Let the matter then be dealt with.” The bill was unfair. The prisoners were entitled to be tried. Why were they, without conviction, kept at hard labour? The Speaker said that as a Maori member had complained that the bill was page 198 not printed, it would have been his duty to insist on compliance with the Standing Order were it not for the fact that the House had at an earlier hour suspended the Standing Orders. The bill was read a second and third time. It was Saturday, and the Parliament was to be prorogued on Monday.
The bills were dealt with in reverse order in the Council, The Prisoners Trials Bill was taken first, and was hurried through all its stages. The Peace Preservation Bill, easily smuggled through the Lower House, was proposed, “as being in the interests of humanity,” by Mr. Wilson. Sir F. D. Bell at once moved that it be shelved—
“We are asked to pass an Act such as no Legislature in the world, I believe, has ever been asked to pass. We are not only to create a new offence, but to enact that a native who commits that offence is not bailable… . Sir, I can hardly trust myself to speak upon such a measure… . You will make it absolutely certain if you put this law into force, that you will have war on the west coast. Nothing on earth can prevent it.34 I know the natives well… I say you are absolutely mad to think of proposing an Act like this. I warn you that, so sure as you are guilty of so perfidious a reversal of the promises of the Crown, so gross and unwarrantable an injustice to those who have never committed a crime, as to pass such an Act as this, so surely will you have bloodshed the moment you try to enforce it. I will not say, as members in the other House have said, that I shall wash my hands of it, but I shall record my protest against so utterly shameless an Act.” Could the Governor assent to it? If Colonel Whitmore could say that such assent was promised—“respect for his Excellency's office would prevent me from expressing any opinion on that promise. But, till I hear that statement made, I shall not hesitate to say that, under the Royal Instructions, he cannot give his assent to this bill. It is of a nature expressly violating all former Royal Instructions…”
Dr. Pollen conceived that the object of the bill was to “give legal authority to capture Te Whiti. Te Whiti ought not to be condemned before he was tried.” Colonel Whitmore vainly pleaded that “the bill did not originate with members of the government. It had been previously suggested by people who took an interest in the matter.” Mr. Waterhouse declared it—
“The most iniquitous proposal that was ever submitted to the Legislature of any country. Hundreds, even thousands, of people, occupying a large tract of country under the assurance conveyed by a proclamation of the Governor would (under the bill) be made liable to a year's imprisonment. I would sooner submit to have my right arm cut off than be a party to it.”page 199
By 16 votes against 6 the bill was shelved. The Parliament was prorogued on the 11th Aug. But, though the plot to subject all the Maoris at Parihaka to seizure was defeated, the passing of the Prisoners Trials Bill effectually thwarted any hope which Te Whiti's friends entertained of testing the lawfulness of the proceedings of the government.
Taiaroa, Wi Tako Ngatata (members of the Council), Hoani Nahe (a representative member, and one of the ministry), with Rangihiwinui and others, took legal advice with a view to cause the questions concerning confiscated lands to be tried in the Supreme Court. They issued a Panui, or manifesto, to the tribes. They circulated it in Maori and in English.35 They deputed Parata to urge page 200 page 201 Te Whiti “to desist from any further ploughing,”36 and the ploughing “entirely ceased at the end of August.”37 The general elections took place under unusual excitement. Sir G. Grey flew from place to place, embittering the feelings of his enemies, if that were possible, by setting class against class, and winning cheers from crowds by declaring that they were serfs, and would remain so unless they would empower him to rescue them. He declared (doubtless without knowing that it was untrue) that New Zealand was the only British possession in which manhood suffrage did not prevail; he sneered at the Legislative Council; denounced “political rest” as ruin, and predicted that by obtaining the government which he aimed at the people would found “one of the greatest, most powerful and beneficent races that the world ever saw.” The opposition were as energetic as he. Nevertheless he gained strength by the dissolution. The Auckland members who had supported Fox were rejected. Amongst them was the astute Whitaker. Sir W. Fox was beaten at Wanganui. Sir G. Grey was returned unopposed at the Thames; and at Christchurch, which had previously returned three opposition members, he headed the poll, and one of his supporters was second. The opposition had not depended only on Whitaker and Fox. In the Upper House sat Mr. Hall. He had been a member of Fox's brief ministry in 1856, of a Stafford ministry from 1866 to 1869, of the Fox ministry which supplanted it, of a Water-house ministry in 1872, and of an Atkinson ministry in 1876. He was versed in New Zealand affairs, general and provincial; had shown that he was unscrupulous enough to use the Governor's name without warrant in the matter of the “order of reference” of the Ngaitahu deed; was deemed sagacious; had immense capacity for work; and could say clearly what he desired to say. On the 18th August, he tendered the resignation of his seat in the Council in order to seek election to the House of Representatives. Sir G. Grey unwisely threw obstacles in the way, page 202 and reminded the Governor that his acts must be done under ministerial advice. Sir Hercules replied that the argument was sound, but that as he would unquestionably decline to refuse the resignation, if so advised, Sir G. Grey would be left with the constitutional alternative of resignation or acquiescence. The resignation was accepted, and great confidence was inspired amongst the opposition by the election of Mr. Hall. He moved an amendment on the Address when Parliament met. Influence was brought to bear upon members. Hall himself plied Tomoana and Te Wheoro with persuasions, at a private house, in presence of Mr. Ormond and Mr. Rolleston. He was courteous, and the chiefs engaged to put in writing their views, with some of which he left them to think that he agreed. On 6th Oct. Tomoana handed to Ormond the promised paper, but Ormond declared that he did not look at it until its delivery was unimportant. He did not tell Tomoana that Hall had not agreed to it. Whatever Tomoana's reasons were, he declared on Friday that he would vote with Hall. He said that when he found that Hall “agreed to his ideas” about the native question, he “agreed to support his side.” All he wished for was justice. He was sorry to vote against the ministry, but not one promise to the native people had been fulfilled by them. Tawhai said: “I was elected to support Grey, and will do so. If any one blame me for so doing, I would remind him that at least I shall act as a chief and keep my word.” The votes were 43 against 41. On the 8th October Hall formed a new ministry.
Much was said about the intrigues by which Tomoana had been induced to turn the scale; and Hall produced a memorandum in which Ormond described the interview between Hall and the Maori members, and denied that Hall was committed to their proposals. Tomoana soon quitted the ministry. The Native Minister, Mr. Bryce, made (17th Oct.) a statement which reflected rather the cupidity of the Taranaki community than the negotiations of Hall with Tomoana. He was “of opinion that there are probably no grievances to speak of on what is known as the Waimate Plains proper.” On the next sitting day Tomoana rose and said that he had listened in vain for proposals beneficial to his people. He was grieved at Bryce's statement. He had page 203 asked the ministers to find some other colleague, because for years he had seen his people suffering; some were in gaol; women and children were in misery, and nothing was done to alleviate their sufferings. He had promised to support Hall honourably. He had no personal complaint to make, but he could not honourably continue to be the colleague of the Native Minister, because from the speech of that functionary no benefit could be expected for the Maoris. His duty as a chief was clear. Leaving his seat, he bowed to the ministers; as he crossed the floor he similarly saluted the Speaker, and before he took his seat bowed profoundly to the House, being loudly cheered38 by those who thought themselves his superiors as well as by some who felt their inferiority.
A few words may be said as to the ministry and their opponents before the thread of native affairs is pursued. Whitaker entered the Upper House as Attorney-General. Two of the cabinet were supposed to share the Taranaki predatory ideas as to Maori lands and the spirit of the riotous Peace Preservation Bill which the Council had crushed in the previous Parliament. Mr. R. Oliver, a Dunedin member, became Minister for Public Works. Mr. Rolleston (from Canterbury) was Minister for Lands and Education; and the offices of Minister of Mines and of Justice were held in abeyance, as baits for expectant mouths. The Native Minister, whose statement induced Tomoana to quit the ministry, was Mr. John Bryce, member for Wanganui. Major Atkinson was Treasurer. Though he held two ministerial offices at his disposal Mr. Hall's pathway was not clear. He was without a working majority. To win two votes by gifts of place might repel others not propitiated. It was determined to disintegrate the opposition. Sir G. Grey's friends were told that he, being the object of distrust, might, by heroic retreat from the post of general, enable the army to win the campaign. Accordingly, before the new ministry was sworn in, Mr. Macandrew, a Middle page 204 Island member, was, at a meeting of the Grey party, proposed and accepted as leader. He gave notice (10th Oct.) of a motion of want of confidence, which he was willing to move at once in order “to come down on Tuesday with a government which will possess the confidence of the House.” He defeated Mr. Hall by two votes on a question of adjournment on the 10th, and there was much wrangling as to the conduct of business. Hall wrote to him (13th Oct.): “My colleagues and myself consider it would be unconstitutional for the House to entertain a motion of no-confidence in a government until it has had a reasonable opportunity of placing its policy before the country.” Change of position changes opinions. Atkinson and Whitaker had, in 1877, striven to eject Grey without allowing him time to propound a policy. Grey and his friends were leagued in 1879 to do towards Hall and Whitaker what they had resisted in 1877. As Hall would not afford a place for Macandrew's motion the latter, wielding a majority, prevented the government from proceeding with business. There were many conferences besides that in which Tomoana's support was contracted for. Hall indicated that to remain in office he was willing to adopt Sir G. Grey's measures. Triennial parliaments, universal suffrage, and other changes which Hall had formerly opposed, were to be embraced. With malevolent glee Sir G. Grey exclaimed (15th Oct.):—
“My desire is accomplished… I have had the pleasure of hearing honourable members on both sides … irrevocably pledge themselves to most liberal measures, bidding against one another as men do at auction, promising the community at large to introduce a system of democracy which we should not have reached for years under other circumstances; and all through yearnings for place and desires for pelf… They cannot retract; they must aid. They may say, No, but they cannot help themselves. Out of office or in office I will drag them as my slaves at the wheels of my chariot. They shall pass those measures. Though they hate me they shall … go into the same lobby as myself, and shall bestow … measures so liberal that I should not have dared to propose them, knowing they would be defeated.”
His anticipations were wreaked in results. On the 21st Oct. the ministry were defeated by 37 votes against 31. Several members for the Middle Island who had voted against Grey now voted against Hall. On the 22nd there were secret negotiations. Their nature may be inferred page 205 from a letter which a former member addressed to one of the opposition: “I would very much like … to see you turn over before the no-confidence motion is taken, as you will then occupy a much more influential position with the present ministerial party … I am assured on the most reliable authority that the government are sure to win.” It is needless to record the writer's name. The member addressed replied that “for treachery, duplicity, and moral turpitude,” he had never seen a parallel to the proposition; and submitted the letter and the answer to the House as a question of privilege.
Mr. Hall denied that privilege was involved in a private letter—“which in my opinion contains very good advice, although the honourable member does not appreciate it.” While he spoke, Mr. Hall had secured “the support” of four Auckland members, who, while conspiring with him, had conferred with the opposition. Mr. Swanson's conversion was wondered at, and explained. Atkinson lay in his way, and he found him. Money was required in the north. The unblushing Treasurer replied:39 “How can you, Swanson, expect me to pay when you are doing your best to prevent the government getting any money to pay with?” Terms of arrangement were found. Whitaker plied his arts upon his old colleague Reader Wood. Wood's statement40 was: “Whitaker sent for me … he said he had seen Mr. Swanson,” and agreed that if four deserters—Wood, Swanson, Hurst, and Colbeck—would go over to the government, Auckland should receive gracious treatment as to money-grants and electoral distribution of seats. The transaction seemed incredible when first bruited. Mr. Wood told a friend (23rd Oct.) that half a million sterling would flow to Auckland in consequence of his defection, and the written statement of the friend was read in the House. In fine, four members having left the opposition, Macandrew's notice was not proceeded with. There was recrimination as to the manner in which, and from whom, support had been purchased. An attempt was made to procure Hall's correspondence, but he said there was none;41 and Swanson said that what there was was in his pocket, and would not be produced without the consent of all concerned. Swanson had written a paper; the ministry had struck a bargain upon it, and the paper had been returned to Swanson.page 206
The disintegration of the opposition was complete, and at the close of the session the government commanded a substantial majority. The passing of the Triennial Parliaments Bill, and of a bill to confer universal suffrage, promised to rekindle strife at an early date. Fresh taxes were imposed. The Treasurer estimated the deficiency at £911,000. Nevertheless, it was resolved to abolish the gold export royalty gradually. After debates which proved that the local bodies did not desire the reduction, it was decided to reduce it annually by 6d., so that it might cease in 1884. A Property Assessment Bill was to raise £470,000. Stamp duties were to yield £200,000, and Customs duties were to add nearly £300,000 more than before. Treasury bills were authorized, and before the close of the session (19th Dec.) a Property Tax Bill was passed, the ministry claiming credit for having done much to rectify the disordered state of finance which they had encountered. Mr. Bryce, accustomed in the Committee on Native Affairs to the easy mode of shelving a petition by abstaining from any recommendation, made (17th Oct.) the ministerial statement which drove Tomoana into opposition while the echo of Hall's promises had hardly died away. He desired to “destroy that part of the department which he had so often called the personal government.” He was of opinion that there were “probably no grievances to speak of on what was known as the Waimate Plains proper.” There were perhaps grievances, “magnified somewhat, of one kind or another along the west coast,” and for the sake of the colony they ought to be inquired into. Te Wheoro glanced at the blunders of the government in causing the Waitara war, at the unjust allotment of Purukutu's land to page 207 another, at the slaying of Sullivan by Purukutu,42 at the failure at all times and places to fulfil promises made to the Maoris. That had led to the ploughing on the west coast. Why should not the control of the Native Department be left to the Maoris as Te Wheoro and Tomoana had stipulated in the paper which Ormond took possession of for Mr. Hall, but did not look at until the division had been taken in which Tomoana's vote gave Hall his majority? “Try, and see the result. I believe if this House will not take my suggestion, the Queen will.”43 He almost despaired of good being done by the local government. Why was gunpowder being sent to Taranaki? “What had the ministry done for Tomoana, their friend? What functions had he? He is simply sitting on his seat.” … He suspected that if Major Atkinson had been Prime Minister shots would have been fired at Taranaki; for he had heard of the persecuting bill which Atkinson had abetted in a former session. The Hall government was in effect a revival of that of Atkinson, which produced no good works. Macandrew, the opposition leader, was a new man, and Te Wheoro would give him his vote. Four days after this speech Tomoana shook off his connection with the government. Then the four Auckland converts joined the ministerial camp. On the 24th Oct. the desertion was discussed in the House. Readers in England may be spared the recital of the recriminations amongst Europeans, but may feel interest in the language of the Maori chiefs. Tainui reprobated the purchase of votes by promises to districts; it would lead to evil. If grants were refused to members they would say, “This is a bad government,” and join the opposition. It was an unfair way of dealing with revenue. “I never heard of such an idea as the money of the colony being used to buy the votes of members.” When Reader Wood admitted that he had adverted to the gain to Auckland as half-a-million, Te Wheoro rose in sorrow for the position of Swanson, whom he had regarded as just and true.”page 208
“At the rate that it took to buy these four votes, £2,000,000 would be required to buy twenty northern members; and if Wellington members were as high in price, and £5,000,000 be absorbed in the Northern Island, what would be left for the Middle Island members? A bad example had been set to the native chiefs. I have heard before, with regard to the honourable member for Waitemata (Reader Wood), that the prow of his canoe is very apt to sway from one side to the other. I think the four members alluded to are bound to compliment Tomoana on the manner in which he departed from those benches … because the grounds on which he left were great indeed. He went there upon the understanding that certain wishes which he entertained regarding the native race were to be fulfilled (Tomoana had given his reasons), and on hearing that speech from my honourable colleague, my great desire was to be able always to act as he did in quitting those benches.” But the four members had not followed a course which could be deemed honourable. “Had we Maori members been seduced by money, my friend, the honourable member for Newton (Swanson), would have rebuked me. Had twenty seceded, and had he remained, he himself would have represented twenty. I grieve that a just and true man like him should have acted thus without intimating his intention to his friends. As to the other two members—what districts they represent I know not—they were very foolish indeed… I shall never cease to congratulate my friend from the east coast (Tomoana) on the course he took contrasted with that of these Pakeha members. Though I myself may fall in consequence, I will still praise him for his independent act in leaving a ministry whose native policy he could not conscientiously support.”
It does not appear that the contrast thus drawn excited jealousy in all minds, for a few days afterwards a member said: “There are many Maoris well qualified to represent European constituencies in this House. I have one in my mind now who had a seat in it. I say it without the slightest disrespect to any honourable member, that he was as well qualified to represent a European constituency as many members in this House. I allude to Hoani Nahe. He can take a large grasp of public subjects and work out the smallest details of matters brought before him.” Macandrew himself said that the Maori representation had worked well, and that “the Maori members have page 209 set us an example in this House.” Sir F. D. Bell in the same session said: “Moreover it may be said that the Maori representation in both Houses has been a complete success, so far as regards the intelligence, moderation, and good sense shown by the natives themselves.”44 Whitaker himself was constrained to say on the same occasion: “I have sat in the House of Representatives, and I am satisfied that there are no members in that House who conduct themselves with more propriety than the native members.” Nevertheless the Qualifications of Electors Bill (1879) introduced by him and his colleagues provided that votes should only be exercised on property held “in severalty.” A member moved the omission of words which would “disqualify a very large proportion of the Wellington and east coast natives.” Whitaker advocated them because “holding of lands in common in large quantities by a number of people greatly stood in the way of progress and was most objectionable.” Taiaroa threw light upon the bill:—
“Possibly 100 natives may own a certain block. If the clause be allowed to remain as it is, those natives will not have power to register themselves or become voters. If that is to be the law it would be better that the government should cease to purchase native lands altogether where a number of natives are concerned in a block. Let them wait until the land has been properly subdivided, and it is known what is the share of each native, and then let them buy the land. Neither branch of the legislature is sufficiently careful in dealing with affairs that concern the natives. The government advance money on blocks of land the title of which is not very clear. I am not altogether understood, perhaps, but I will explain. If there are 100 claimants to a block of land, and one of them chooses he can get an advance upon the block, although the others may not approve. That shuts out a number of people who have claims in the block. That is to say, through the action of one claimant the whole block becomes pledged to the government.”
Bills respecting native lands were brought in. A newspaper said that Mr. Bryce would be remembered as the minister who was bidden by a greater authority to introduce them, who could not understand them, and did not know what to do with them. In submitting his estimates he page 210 declared that he would purify his department and reduce expenditure or retire. He dispensed with some native assessors, diminished salaries, reduced the number of judges of the Native Land Court, and consented to cut down the amount set apart by his predecessor for printing judgments of the court.45 On the 2nd Dec. he moved the second reading of a composite Confiscated Lands Inquiry and Maori Prisoners Trials Bill. Three commissioners were to inquire into land grievances on the west coast. “Any two of them” were to have full powers. As to the prisoners, it was declared “indispensable for the peace and safety of the colony that the ordinary course of law should be suspended and the trials of the said natives should take place under special legislation.” The Governor was to fix the number to be tried, and the date and place of trial, and notwithstanding any order of committal could change the place appointed for trial.
Mr. Stewart, member for Dunedin, raised a warning voice against placing “the executive of the country above the judiciary.” It was a violation of one of the first principles of good government. The government had arrested persons on suspicion and “were afraid apparently to go to trial to ascertain whether they were guilty.” Imprisoned on suspicion, the Maoris were “condemned untried.” Mr. Turnbull denounced the treatment of the prisoners as “not only barbarous but cowardly.” Te Wheoro and Tawhai urged that at least promises should be fulfilled, and that it was hard that the prisoners who had fought for the English and had been invited to occupy the land should see it ravished from them again and be denied the common justice of a trial. Captain Russell supported the bill as a means of averting war, which was more perilous than southern members supposed. “It could not be denied that the Maoris had always displayed the most conspicuous bravery, and that had their battles been fought under the eyes of Europe, their heroism would have been handed down to posterity by poets; and though they had been beaten when assembled in numbers and massed at a particular point, still that had not secured peace.” Mr. page 211 Tole declared that the measure “took away all the rights held dear by British subjects.”
Mr. Sheehan admitted that “there were unfulfilled promises; it might be a hardship to keep men imprisoned without trial… Our action is possibly strained and illegal. It is quite possible that if this were done in other countries the whole world would talk about it.”
Mr. Bryce echoed his predecessor's opinions. “If the House declared that these trials were to come off in due course he would not like to take the responsibility of remaining in office.” He did not “say that there were unfulfilled promises,” but it had been “loudly proclaimed in the country and in the House that there were,” and therefore inquiry would be permitted. The bill was read a second time, and was hurried through all its stages on the same day. Whitaker in recommending it to the Council said little, but that little was significant. “The probability was that a very slight punishment would be awarded to the prisoners, but it was as much for their own benefit as for the benefit of the country at large that they should be kept under restraint until their grievances had been inquired into.” In other words, the government had appealed to the law against Te Whiti, found the appeal unsatisfactory, and sought an ex post facto indemnity for their own blunders, by a law empowering them to incarcerate the innocent. Sir F. D. Bell assailed the equivocal way in which the preamble alluded to alleged unfulfilled promises. He knew personally that Donald McLean's definite promises had never been fulfilled. He could not support a preamble which adverted to well-known facts as mere allegations.46page 212
Taiaroa having heard Sir F. D. Bell's acknowledgment that promises had been made, wondered why Bell when Native Minister took no steps to fulfil them. For eight years Taiaroa had, in Parliament, pressed for fulfilment of promises. With the Maori a promise was sacred. If unfulfilled by the maker he left his children or descendants to fulfil it, and if they could not do so the obligation was undertaken by their posterity. But so many promises had been made and disregarded by the Pakeha that the Maori laughed when a commissioner said that such or such a thing would be done, and said: “We will see whether that will be the case. It has never been so yet. Therefore it was that Te Whiti told Sheehan at Parihaka that he was a thief—not that Mr. Sheehan was himself a thief, but the government to which he belonged—referring to the promises which were made and were left unfulfilled.” To Taiaroa it seemed that the real object of the bill was rather to take possession of the land than to benefit the natives. Alluding to the panui47 which he and others had circulated in August, he said that the Maori committee “authorized Wi Parata to proceed to Taranaki to interview Te Whiti and ask him to desist from further ploughing; and on a representation being made to Te Whiti, he desisted.” Sir Dillon Bell thought it necessary to explain that he had always laboured for fulfilment of promises, and that if Donald McLean had lived they would have been fulfilled. Captain Fraser lauded Sir Dillon Bell's denunciation against broken faith. Mr. Mantell denied that the proclamation on the west coast confiscated the territory. It simply—
“Defined the districts to which the New Zealand Settlements Act should apply;” pledged the government, “not within a certain time, to take what lands it thought necessary for protection of settlement, and as a punishment for offences … and to confirm by grant under the Crown all the lands of natives who had been loyal within those limits, and to restore to rebels who might come in, lands for them to settle upon. It was needless to say that the government had kept none of these promises. It was also needless to say (as had already been well pointed out by Sir F. D. Bell) that the present state of disturbance on the west coast was the natural consequence of that failure of successive governments to fulfil these promises. It was also needless to say that the gread for land had been the obstacle to governments in their attempts to carry them out.” No government had been strong enough to deal justly with the lands. One page 213 tribute he would pay. They had not attained “the courage and honesty recommended by Taiaroa, when he asked: ‘Why make new laws for the trial of these prisoners? Let them be tried by laws already in existence.’ But they had become civilized to this extent, they thought it advisable to have some legal sanction for the manner in which they dealt with prisoners. It was not so ten years ago.” Returns on the table showed that Maoris were repeatedly imprisoned without committal or warrant of any kind. The captives at “Rangiriri, Tauranga, Weraroa, East Coast, and elsewhere,” were held without warrant. Te Kooti, a friendly native, was deported with others to the Chatham Islands, and there detained with “no warrant.” This was vouched by a return presented to the Council by the representative of the government which deported Te Kooti. Mr. Mantell was only dissuaded “at the urgent request” of the government from moving a censure of such lawless acts.
Thus it had ever been. Marsden, Bishop Selwyn, Sir W. Martin, Maunsell, Bishop Hadfield, and the patriotic Waharoa, had warned in vain when evil was at hand or injustice was proposed. The voice of the prophet was heard again in 1879, but was unheeded. Yet justice demands that the speech of a Taranaki gentleman should be alluded to. Mr. Scotland (in the Council) said there were without doubt grievances. “A neighbour of mine, an excellent native, who never was in rebellion, who has never even visited Parihaka, a cousin of the Honourable Mr. Ngatata, who can corroborate what I say, has been despoiled of everything he had; has lost 4000 acres of land; has lost the property of his father and the property of his mother. He ought to be able to live in as much comfort as I live in, and perhaps more, and it pains me to see the good-natured fellow going along the road driving his cart of firewood into town for sale.” Wherever these words are read there will be respect for Mr. Scotland, and kindly feeling for Ngatata's cousin. When Whitaker heard them, he retorted that “individual members might have some knowledge or belief” as to unfulfilled promises, but he “had never seen any record of them, and was not prepared to say that there were absolutely substantial grievances in existence.” He protested that, as “to violent intentions” of the government, “the government never entertained such an idea.”
In one sense it might, as Mr. Mantell urged, be deemed that an advance in civilization had been made when the government cloaked injustice under guise of law; and it was also good that in both Houses there were men who denounced injustice howsoever committed. But in another page 214 sense the change was ominous, by showing that there was no act of injustice which the Houses would shrink from supporting. Former crimes were those of sections of the community. In 1880 injustice became the corporate act of the whole. Sir Hercules Robinson assented to the bill, hoping that the redemption of unfulfilled pledges about the land would make amends for its tyrannical provisions. The session ended on the 19th Dec., 1879, and the ministry were so eager to act with a high hand that—maugre48 Whitaker's protestations to SirF. D. Bell—it was announced, before the West Coast Commission was appointed, that violent measures would be taken. A newspaper said (24th Dec.): “Eight hundred men are to be placed in redoubts on the Plains, under the directions of the Native Minister… . Road-making is to be commenced, and if the natives offer any obstruction, the constabulary will be marched to Parihaka in order to destroy that nest of insurrection… . It seems to be generally understood that the natives will resist.”
It was not only understood, but desired by some that resistance by Te Whiti might involve the destruction of his settlement. Such persons were grieved when on receipt of the “panui” from Taiaroa and others, Te Whiti “stopped the ploughing.” It was deemed that his influence would vanish if he should submit to insult by armed men, although his retention of it after the imprisonment of his followers was a problem which no one could solve. That he should passively submit to martyrdom was not dreamt of in the philosophy of his persecutors. That he seriously welcomed martyrdom in the hope that his fate might induce the Queen to do justice to his people was suspected by some, but was deemed too heroic a conception for a Maori. Nearly 150 of his followers were shipped (8th Jan.) from Wellington to Dunedin and Hokitika, and a ministerial newspaper descanted upon the wisdom of a step which, though it might irritate Te Whiti, would dimiinish his page 215 means of resistance. But still he prophesied, and his people believed that they would be redeemed by interposition of Heaven. The first intervention in their favour sprang from an unexpected quarter, and was not made publicly known. While it was promulgated in the press that “ministers were making full preparations to seize the Plains, with force enough to do that and to root out the fanatics at Parihaka,” the government were appointing commissioners. Sir W. Fox and Sir F. D. Bell were asked to become commissioners with Tawhai, a Maori member of the House. It was no secret that the Governor had earnestly advocated the appointment of a commission. It was known to some that Fox and Bell stipulated,49 before accepting their task, that, pending their report, the status quo with regard to reserves, claims, and titles, should be maintained. Its maintenance in entirety was discussed, but the invidious were resolute to do something, and road-making was selected. No apter provocation could be chosen; but to avoid evil appearances it was arranged, with consent of Fox and Bell, that the old road should be simply repaired, and thus the taking of fresh land, and new cause of quarrel, should be avoided. Tawhai having agreed to act on a commission, visited his constituents in the north. On his return he saw the names of his colleagues and shrank back. He alleged that ministers, including Bell and Fox, had caused the existing troubles, and that they were not the proper persons to remedy them:—
“I at once resolved not to sit on the commission. I will quote an old saying that probably originated among yourselves50—Can a guilty man judge his own sin? It almost leads me to think that this government cannot be a British government, or it would not have appointed guilty persons to judge this affair. Therefore I determined to resign, for according to another of your proverbs which I have heard among sailors—A man clad in white cannot meddle with the riggings without being tarred.”
The last paragraph of the commission entrusted two members with complete powers. He had watched a horse driven by two men in a loaded cart. He was like the horse; his brother commissioners like the men. Blinkers prevented the horse from looking to right or left. The parallel was complete. He liked not to be driven by two commissioners page 216 sitting in a cart heavy-laden with Maori grievances. Moreover, the commission did not authorize inquiry into the root of the matter—the first cause of war at the Waitara—and no good could come from it. Though loyal to the Queen he declined to act.51
On the day on which Tawhai's resignation was considered the armed constabulary crossed the Waingongoro. Mounted European settlers watched the act calculated to lead to war. Te Whiti, meanwhile, warned his people to abstain from provocation. Not only was there no opposition to the troops (in dress and discipline the armed constabulary were a military body), but when a newspaper correspondent informed natives, at a pah, of what had been done, they cheerfully replied: “'Tis well. The soldiers have come to make a road for us to Parihaka.” Mr. Bryce was said to be less at ease, for he told the same reporter that everything was uncertain and critical. Efforts were vainly made to induce Titokowaru to appear before the commission. Finding that Te Whiti's followers refused to appear before them, the commissioners (20th Feb.) announced their opinions. Promises would be fulfilled. Let each division of the tribe show their cultivations, so that the rights of all, even the absent, might be respected. Reserves would be made. Afterwards Europeans would be placed on the Plains, and roads made for both races, as well as a railway from Taranaki to Hawera. One good word “Te Whiti had always spoken—that there should be peace… The same word is spoken on our side.” But he was deluded as to his power. The Governor's word would prevail. “It is of no consequence that the people have not attended to-day, and that they remain at Parihaka… Their land will not be taken away because they are not here. So long as they remain at peace and page 217 do not interfere with the work of the commission, it is the same as if they came before us.” Te Whiti, meanwhile, showed no distrust, although his capture was openly advocated. Cart-loads of presents of provisions were sent from his camp to the constabulary. At his February meeting he said: “If the bayonets of the soldiers should dazzle your eyes, my people, be not afraid. The surveyors may commence; the Almighty will not let them finish their work.” At Hawera, in February, at Waitara in March, the commissioners discovered many grievances. Sir W. Fox assured the Maoris at Waitara that the commission would advise fulfilment of all promises, but he spoke scornfully of Te Whiti. “What has his breath done for the Maoris? Has it not put them in prison? Are they not in prison at Dunedin and Hokitika? And their wives are widows, and their children are orphans, living on any who will give them bread. This is the fruit of the great word of Te Whiti.” Yet the word of Te Whiti had done much. A year had elapsed since the surveyors were removed, and that act seemed to have extorted from the commission a public guarantee of reserves, of which not an acre had been marked (even on a plan) when the survey of the Plains for sale was ordered by Dr. Pollen under Major Atkinson, and by Mr. Sheehan under Sir G. Grey.
The reader may regret that at this period Te Whiti did not welcome the commission, represent his people's wants and claims before them, and make the best terms which circumstances permitted. Mr. Bryce and Mr. Sheehan thought him mad. If so his backwardness is relieved from moral blame. But if he was not mad, what were his inducements to work with the commissioners? How could he trust them, reasoning from the past? Had the treaty of Waitangi been respected by any ministry after the Queen's troops supported its violation? Was not Sir F. Dillon Bell the man who wrote Governor Browne's justificatory despatch when the Waitara crime was committed? Was not Fox the man who, with Whitaker, pressed so hard upon the Rangiriri prisoners, urged devastation at Tauranga, and sought to confiscate the territories of innocent tribes?page 218
The prophet of Parihaka, unfriended by the Maori king, clung to his old course. He preached peace, cultivated land, enjoined sobriety and honesty, and kept his people from taking bribes. His March meeting, usually the greatest in the year, was anxiously expected when the commission made an interim report (15th March): “Whatever else is doubtful, this at any rate is certain—that the Plains will never be occupied in peace until proper reserves are marked out upon the ground … to do this is an imperative necessity.” Twenty-five thousand acres should be reserved for the natives, and all promises concerning fishing-stations, cultivations, and burial places should be fulfilled. The forest reserve should include all the native settlements. The commissioners advised how Parihaka should be treated. “No one pretends that we can tell Te Whiti and his people that they must leave it… No good will come of putting off the day when the question of the reserves for the Parihaka people must be decided. They are there, and must have land to live upon, and what is more, being there they certainly will not go away.” Foolish as Te Whiti's delusions were, there was “no use in ignoring their continuing force.” Spite of all that had happened, “obedience to his will” was implicit… His influence was not confined to his own tribe. Therefore, the commission combined their recommendations as to Waimate and Parihaka. “If we try to occupy the Plains without his having any assurance that he is safe at Parihaka, we may find that we can neither get Parihaka nor the Plains, except at the price of a struggle, which no one can doubt would then be desperate.” Simultaneously, Te Whiti was preaching that none but he could disperse the flood of evil which had been on earth since the days of Cain and Abel.
“The place I have measured out shall remain sacred for my people… You may fly under the wings of the Governor, but they will not protect you… I tell the assembled tribes that they shall not be lost. If you have taken silver, then indeed you will be lost. What good have you got when you stretched forth your hand for it? Did it not turn to poisonous drink which maddened you? And then where was the land of your fathers? You sought and did not find it… Though some, in darkness of heart, seeing their land ravished, might wish to take arms and kill the aggressors, I say it must not be. Let not the Pakehas think to succeed by reason of their guns… I want not war, but they do.page 219
The flashes of their guns have singed our eyelashes, and yet they say they do not want war… The government come not hither to reason, but go to out-of-the-way places. They work secretly, but I speak in public so that all may hear. What say they of me? That I am a fanatic, a fool, and a madman. But I am none of these things. The land is yours: but that which I have lately seen (the armed swarm which has been poured upon it) is enough to distract my brain.52 Still we must let no action of ours increase the trouble of the land… Let the Government and all wise men think of these words… They are not the words of Te Whiti, who lives upon roots, but of the inspiration which comes to me from above.”
More than 2000 people drank in his words with fervour. Whether he would thus have spoken if he had known the recommendations of the commission it is difficult to say. As it was, he caused doubt, hope, and fear. Mr. Hall and Mr. Bryce conferred with the military commandant at Opunake, near Parihaka. Sentries were made more numerous. From Wellington it was reported that “very great uncertainty prevailed in well-informed circles as to the native crisis, owing to the varying interpretations placed upon Te Whiti's deliverance.” “The best Maori authorities” could not interpret whether heavenly or human aid was relied upon by the prophet. Those who wished to extirpate the Maori race cared little whether that end was accomplished in the field or by decay. If Te Whiti should yield, the land would be over-run, and his influence would perish with his disinherited people. If he should resist, the end would be sharper and speedier. As it had been in the days of C. W. Richmond, so it was in the days of Hall. The cumbering Maoris were to be destroyed. The bulk of the colonists had no such desires, but their humanity did not assume the form of controlling the inhumanity of others.
The commissioners pursued their labours, and Mr. Parris communicated the report of the commission to Te Whiti, who avoided discussion. Parris found Titokowaru friendly, and great care was taken in marking the line of road near Titokowaru's place so as to avoid encroachment. In April, however, after Bryce, Major Atkinson, and the Major in command had consulted at Taranaki, there was increased activity. Five hundred and fifty men marched from Oeo to the immediate neighbourhood of Parihaka. As the constabulary page 220 advanced the natives followed, cultivated the open land and built houses. An editor complained that
“Credit for astuteness could not be denied to Te Whiti. If he had resisted the constabulary when they first went on to the Plains the whole affair might by this time have been over, and the power of Parihaka a thing of the past; but his delay and the restraint in which he keeps his people are most embarrassing. His is certainly a masterly inactivity… Our position is a very unhappy one. We assign reserves for natives … indicate (sites for) European settlement. The natives reply by building houses, fencing, planting, and occupying our camping-grounds. We cannot wait long to bring the question to an issue, and yet how is it to be done?53
It was deemed advisable to make known the tenour of the first report of the West Coast Commission before the Parliament assembled in the end of May, 1880.
Colonel Trimble, in speaking on the address, lauded the commission, and earned praise from Te Wheoro for having at last discovered that the colonists were, in Trimble's words, “greatly indebted to the exertions of Te Whiti in keeping peace,” and “invariably preaching” it. In both Houses the recommendations of the commission found acceptance. The Maori prisoners had not been tried under the Act passed in the first session of 1879. Under the second Act the government had postponed the trials from time to time. That Act would itself expire in July, but the government declined in June to explain their intentions. On the 14th July the West Coast Commission made a second but not a final report. They prefaced it with an historical summary, misleading in some respects, but a few phrases may be quoted. Of Te Rangitake they said:
“It is worthy of remark that (in 1845) the settlement of Wellington was probably saved from destruction by the act of Te Rangitake, who was afterwards the cause of the Waitara war5454 at Taranaki, but who at the time we are speaking of refused to join the rebel tribes in their raid upon the settled districts. We believe that if his loyalty had been requited as it ought to have been we might never have known him otherwise than as a friend.”
The “unfortunate events at Waitara in 1860” were not condemned. In like manner the act of war in crossing the Maungatawhiri in 1863, and the warrants for apprehension of Ngapora and others, disappeared in a delusive sentence page 221 that “the king's standard was hoisted in aggressive attack upon our colonists as the rallying point of defiance to the Queen's authority, and of the expulsion of the English people from the islands,” and that thus began the Waikato war. The friendliness of Te Whiti and Matakatea, the confiscation of the territory in 1865, and the assurances that the defeated natives would be unmolested in their habitations, were chronicled. General Chute's march of 1866 was not mentioned, but the manner in which Titokowaru, in 1868, “swept away nearly all the settlements over a space of forty miles” and was eventually defeated55 was recorded. In 1869, the land was a waste.
“All the pahs and habitations of the Maoris had been utterly destroyed.” No European dwelt there except a few under the shadow of a redoubt. Parliament voted money to assist settlers to re-occupy their farms. Before returning, the settlers “exacted a promise that if they returned to their homes the government would forbid the rebel natives coming back. No native fire was to be lighted again by a rebel in the Patea country. This policy was sternly carried out. News having come in that small parties of Titokowaru's followers were creeping back to the north bank of Waiugongoro, a reconnoitring party went out and shot two men and captured a woman; at another place some miles up the Waitotara river another native was shot and a second woman taken. For a time this severity deterred the insurgents from renewing any attempt to re-occupy their country.”56
Flushed with these successes the settlers went further, and Sir W. Fox and Sir F. D. Bell gravely stated: “Perhaps it was not unnatural that the exasperation to which they had been driven should have tempted many to distort the promise of the Prime Minister from ‘rebel native’ into ‘any native.”’ These words reveal how the use, which is second nature, prevented that which would have been a ghastly phenomenon elsewhere from appearing odious in New page 222 Zealand. The commissioners held that the promise could not apply to Hone Pihama and others “who loyally helped us,” and still less to Rangihiwinui “and his warriors, who had fought with great bravery by our side.” Two problems pressed for settlement in 1870. Te Whiti already wielded a prophet's authority, and the question of opening a road between Warea and Umuroa had long been depending on his decision. Titokowaru and his people were moving from place to place among the tribes who had permitted him to dwell among them after the war. The Taranaki Native Board of Advice, established by Donald McLean, desired to pacify their district, if need be, by allowing Titokowaru to return to his native soil, famous or infamous for his exploits at Te Ngutu-o-te-manu. The settlers south of the Waingongoro (where returning exiles had been shot) were resolute against the return of Titokowaru to his home. Stafford's ministry was expelled in 1869 and Fox was in power, with McLean as Native Minister and Dillon Bell in the Cabinet. In December, 1870, Te Whiti and his people suddenly decided not only to consent but to assist in person in making the road through their territory, and the Taranaki Native Board complained of the “conflicting policies” which distinguished their friendly relations with the natives from the hostile bearing of the Patea settlers, who condemned all intercourse between Maoris “on the north and the south banks of the Waingongoro river.” The Colonial Secretary, Gisborne, urged that immediate peaceful settlement was essential, and that McLean should be empowered to effect it, regardless of cost. Sewell, Minister of Justice, concurred, but Fox objected.
Early in 1871 some of Titokowaru's people returned “by stealth to Omuturangi” at Waimate; others followed to Kaupokunui in August and began to cultivate. The reward offered for the capture of Titokowaru being still available, “parties of volunteers went out on the chance of taking him,” but Donald McLean stayed their proceedings. Titokowaru held a meeting of his people. He wished the Ngatiawa, who had harboured him in their country, to escort him back to his own, but they preferred that his return should be effected by arrangement with the government. When the discussion ended, the sudden appearance page 223 of nearly all Titokowaru's young men at Oeo excited the Europeans in Dec., 1871.
At that date McLean had other anxieties. Tauroa and many prisoners captured in the Patea wars were in prison at Otago, and their countrymen at Wanganui entreated that they might be released. McLean replied that “outstanding questions” must first be settled. Thus, while loyal natives who had fought for the Queen clamoured for the return of prisoners to the country south of Waingongoro, and settlers resisted their return, Titokowaru, on whose head a price had been set, was sending numbers of his people to the north of Waingongoro. The second report of the West Coast Commission declared that the return was effected with “singular astuteness.” Not in one place, but throughout their old dwelling-places the Ngatiruanui appeared. “We ourselves believe that this grave embarrassment (at Patea), and the extreme risk which would necessarily have attended any steps to prevent Titokowaru's return, led Sir Donald McLean to conceive at that crisis the idea of not enforcing the confiscation beyond the Waingongoro.” He formally approved an announcement that it would be “politically undesirable, and … practically impossible to prevent (Titokowaru's people) from occupying the country north of the Waingongoro, the confiscation of that country having been abandoned by the government, so long as they behave themselves, and keep the compact about not crossing the Waingongoro.” The commissioners accepted their share in complying (as ministers of the day) with McLean's course. They could not in the abstract justify a difference between the treatment of Tauroa and Titokowaru. The former, captured in 1869, was tried, sent to Otago, brought back to Wellington in 1872, and released at Wanganui in 1873 by McLean, special reserves of land being assigned to his people, and Rangihiwinui having “pledged himself” for their good conduct in future. But the commissioners thought no impartial man could condemn the government for inconsistency. The Queen's troops had been removed, though “the Assembly had appealed to the Imperial government to let even a thousand men stay for a year or two, offering to bear the whole cost of pay and maintenance.” page 224 Te Kooti was abroad; the “king in Waikato” hostile; the colony showing signs of revival of industry, and bent upon peace. The first public works loan had just been raised, immigration had begun, roads and railways were being undertaken; farms were being recultivated on the west. Lord Granville had “conceded the Imperial guarantee for a million,” the Patea tribes were patiently awaiting Tauroa's restitution, Maoris were employed in “bridging streams and forming the road” between Wanganui and Taranaki; the settlers north of Waingongoro were “constantly urging the injustice of subjecting them to the danger of an outbreak if Titokowaru were made desperate by a prohibition of his return.”
To drive away the returning tribes “was to risk all that had been gained during two years of peace. There were but three courses open to McLean: to drive them off by force, to insist upon their return upon defined reserves, or to yield a tacit consent to their reoccupation and to bide his time. He chose the last.” What the commissioners wished to convey by the words “tacit consent” they did not explain. (McLean's participation was shown by his purchasing under deeds of cession large tracts within the territory in which he had sanctioned the announcement that the confiscation had been “abandoned by the government.”) In August, 1872, Mr. Parris tried to make a rough survey of Waimate, but resistance by Titokowaru's people induced McLean to stop the attempt. In Parliament, Wi Parata moved that it was desirable that the confiscated land should be restored, and McLean opposed such a declaration. But at that time Mr. Stafford arrayed his forces against the government; and as McLean's influence with the Maoris was admitted on all sides to be essential in any government, overtures were made to secure his presence in the Stafford cabinet.57 He declined. Nevertheless, Stafford obtained a majority of three; and, having failed to procure McLean's help, became Native Minister himself, and intrigued for the support of the four Maori members, who had been equally divided on the vote which expelled Fox. The division by which Stafford was defeated showed three Maori members voting against him in order to secure the return of McLean to office. The new (Waterhouse) ministry enabled McLean to prove his gratitude by appointing two Maori members of the Upper House, and adding two Maoris, Parata and Katene, to the Cabinet. Questions about confiscated land were to be decided by McLean in conjunction with the Maori chiefs.58 Before Stafford fell, the House had advised the restoration of the confiscated lands; and the return of the Taranaki and Ngatiruanui to their homes at the north of the Waingongoro had elicited, from Rangihiwinui and others, remonstrances against keeping the Maoris south of that river under restraints which were removed at the north. What fairness was there in “restoring the lands of people guilty of great offences, and taking all the land of him (Tauroa) whose offence was small, or mine who have done no wrong?” Stafford made no reply to Rangihiwinui, and the letter was put aside for “mature deliberation” by McLean.page 225
The commissioners considered that the whole course of events, the debates, and the “declarations of the leaders of both parties united to justify the natives who had returned to the country north of Waingongoro in believing that they would not again be dispossessed.” They added that McLean subsequently took steps to convince the Maoris that the government retained discretion as to restoration of lands. In 1873 he took Tauroa back to Wanganui, and allotted lands to his people. At the same time he purchased lands within the confiscated area north of Waingongoro from the Ngatiruanui and Taranaki tribes, whom he invited to return to cultivate “the land not as strangers, but as children of the soil.” His proceedings were duly made known to Parliament, and the West Coast Commission asked Sir Hercules Robinson (1880) whether “they did not justify a belief on the part of all the Ngatiruanui people that the government had really sanctioned and encouraged their peaceful return to the tribal land?” The practice of purchasing page 226 the land from the returned exiles was converted by McLean, in 1876, into the irregular distribution of gifts or bribes under the name of “takoha,” by which, to win favour, money was paid on the plea of obtaining land to which the recipient sometimes had no claim. Major Brown's movements, after 1876, were narrated by the commissioners, who reprehended the intrusion upon Titokowaru's homestead, and the abstinence of every government from making the reserves which each in succession had promised. The survey of the Plains, the removal of the surveyors, Mr. Ballance's peremptory demand for a sale, its revocation, and the ploughing of the settlers’ lands by order of Te Whiti, were described in the second report. As to the awards of the Compensation Court at Taranaki, “it would be hard to match the tangle into which what ought to have been a simple matter has been allowed to get.” Loyal claimants had been shut out; awards had not been carried out; high-born old Mete Kingi Paetahi, the comrade of the English in many a battle, had been grotesquely awarded “sixteen acres in extinguishment of his tribal right.” Awards made by the government to Te Puni, Wi Tako, and other chiefs, in 1886, remained unfulfilled.
“The spectacle of these five chiefs trying in vain for 13 years to get the paltry dole of land which had been promised to them in recognition of loyal service is sad enough; but when it is remembered that one of these chiefs was Te Puni, the earliest and truest friend whom the English settlers ever had, the story ought to fill us all with shame. We could not bring ourselves to believe that such a thing could be; nor was it till after repeated applications to the Native Land Department that we could be persuaded of its reality.”
The commissioners condemned the system of “takoha” or bribery. They added that:
“At any moment in all these years the trouble north of Waingongoro would have vanished if instead of talking about doing the right thing any minister had only set himself to do it… If any of us are tempted to say the fault is all Te Whiti's, we ought not to forget how our own records show he never took up arms against us, but did his best in all that time to restrain from violence his unruly and turbulent tribe. If the story we have told has not made this clear, we have told it to your Excellency in vain.”
Descanting upon the evil custom of employing vile persons as government agents, the report urged that the spectacle of a government allied with spies, and seeking to page 227 profit by their intrigues, could not but degrade it in the eyes of Te Whiti, who had “ever laboured to elevate the character of his people, and to restrain them from vices so fatal to a savage race.” Sir W. Fox's voice was always raised in Parliament against the traffic which pursued the Maoris with intoxicating liquors, and the report averred that one cause of Te Whiti's hostility to European settlement was the—
“dread of seeing his people demoralized by the public-house.” … “According to Major Brown, he has been successful in doing what neither the wisdom of Parliament nor the vigilance of the Executive Government have done elsewhere;—he has prevented the sale, and to a great extent the use, of intoxicating liquors within his own particular district.”
In the minds of some persons this added to Te Whiti's crimes.
The third and final report followed on the 4th Aug. It glanced at an incongruity involved in proclamations, which professed to confiscate the whole of a territory in one sentence, and to declare in the next that some would not be taken. To all loyal natives their possessions were guaranteed, with compensation for any land taken as “absolutely necessary for the security of the country.” The commissioners shrunk from the broad light which the treaty of Waitangi would have thrown on the matter. Read by that, it was clear that, even though war might justify confiscation of rights of a rebel, those of loyal Maoris were held under the Queen's plighted faith, and included tribal ownership throughout the tribal domain. The eyes of the commissioners could not bear such light. They did not allude to the treaty. But the Compensation Court had dealt with a fragment of the question which they were compelled to handle. It had been ruled that sole proprietary title was “contrary to the truth of Maori ownership. A sole proprietary right could only exist when the tribe has become reduced to one man.” Blind to the treaty, as was meet for former servants of the New Zealand Company, the commissioners felt bound, by a flexible shuffle, to evade the judgment of the Compensation Court. They assumed that the rebellion of some forfeited the rights of all, and that it was sufficiently generous to award to the loyal fragments of that joint right which the page 228 Compensation Court had declared indivisible. No other interpretation was “consistent with common sense” in their opinion. It would “have been an imbecile idea” to forego the confiscation of rebel property because of the Maori usage of tribal right.
“We, of course, knew from the first that the legality of the confiscation would be contested before us by the adherents of Te Whiti, and we had to make up our minds very early… We therefore refused to hear counsel who wished to question the validity of the confiscation; and we told the natives at the very outset that we were not there to discuss such questions with them…”
The fulfilment of absolute ministerial promises and judicial awards would involve reserves for the natives of 262,820 acres; the commissioners valued them at £638,535, and deemed them an “ample provision for the tribes,” if Parliament would “enable the promises to be at last redeemed.” As to the proposal of Sir G. Grey's government (to reserve 25,000 acres for the natives at Waimate Plains), looking at “the number and position of the native villages … not much less land could be given if the promises of successive governments were to be redeemed.” Remembering that when the survey of the Plains, with a view of immediate sale, was pushed on by Mr. Sheehan in 1879, not an acre of reserve had been marked on the land, or on any plan, the reader will judge whether the labours of the “madman Te Whiti” had been fruitless when they forced this confession from the commissioners in 1880. As to the Parihaka reserve, they pointed out that it had “been contended that no promises had been made.” They could “not allow this for a moment.” The promises in the original proclamations of 1865 “must be held to be sacred;” and no clearer promise could have been made than that of McLean, in 1873, when he invited the Maoris to “return to the land not as strangers, but as children of the soil.” The Grey government were equally committed to restore the Parihaka block. It would be no less “absurd than dishonest to allege for a moment that Te Whiti was not in point of fact led to believe that, subject to his own good behaviour,” it would be restored. They proposed to reserve 25,000 acres for the Parihaka natives; but not to keep the offer indefinitely open. Te Whiti ought not to be permitted page 229 “to keep the whole countryside in turmoil and danger as long as he likes.” In their first report they had deprecated “the present occupation of the seaward Parihaka block.” They withdrew their former opinion. Six miles from Te Whiti's settlement was Cape Egmont, where a lighthouse was required. It would produce a “very great political effect upon the natives if they saw the three things for which the government have so long contended being done together; the road, the telegraph-line, and the lighthouse…” “At the very doors of Parihaka, the establishment of English homesteads, and the fencing and cultivation of the land, will be the surest guarantee of peace.” With details of proposed settlement on the coast the commissioners dealt fully. They summarized the provisions which ought to be included in an Act:
“Last of all, if there is one thing that day by day comes clearer than another to our minds, it is that Te Whiti should not be left in his present isolation, and that a serious and persistent effort should yet be made to influence him. This west coast question will never be settled—unless, indeed, we do it by resort to force—except by some arrangement with him. To fill our gaols with prisoners, not for crimes, but for a political offence in which there is no sign of criminal intent, is not only a most harassing and perplexing process, but the worst of it is that it does not advance the one thing that is really wanted—peace upon the coast.” Te Whiti should (if the recommendations of the commission were accepted) be invited to concur in sharing (the disputed districts) with the Governor. “In what manner Te Whiti should be approached seems to us a matter for the consideration of your Excellency's advisers; we only venture to suggest that no time should be lost in doing it.”
The report, although it shattered the expectations formed about chasing the Maoris from the land, with any regard for decency or law, was received with favour. Sir G. Grey declared it worthy of the colony, and replete with “a love of justice admirable in itself.” Sir W. Fox expressed his sense of the “very handsome and kindly manner” in which Sir G. Grey spoke, and of the approbation of the press59 An Auckland newspaper described the report as “almost a vindication of Te Whiti and his followers.” The government, warned of the nature of the commissioners’ recommendations, took measures to goad the Maoris still further before the final report could be presented; and the fencing by Te Whiti's people followed forthwith. The Assembly had met on the 28th May, 1880.page 230
On the 15th July (the day after the second report was signed by Fox and Bell), the government introduced a Maori Prisoners Bill, which rivalled in stark injustice and barbarity all that had been previously perpetrated. It stated that it was not deemed necessary to try the imprisoned natives, and it was undesirable to release them. No court was to liberate them on any plea, and the Governor was to move them from place to place as he might choose, and constitute such places gaols. If the Governor should determine to release any prisoners he might prescribe any conditions. If any prisoner should escape he might at once be arrested, not upon lawful cause, but by order of the Native Minister. Magna Charta and the Habeas Corpus Act were extinguished that Mr. Bryce might deal with Te Whiti. With unconscious irony one clause declared that the prisoners should “be deemed and taken to have been lawfully arrested and in lawful custody.” The second reading was pressed on the 16th July by Mr. Bryce. “This is not a Maori Prisoners Trial Bill (he said) that I am now proposing. The truth is it was a mere farce to talk of trying these prisoners for the offences with which they were charged… If they had been convicted they would not have got more than twenty-four hours’ imprisonment, if so much… Now in this bill we drop that provision in regard to the trial altogether. We consider that to be a mere sham.” The prisoners were disciples of Te Whiti, and their “belief in him was very remarkable, if not wonderful.”60 Mr. Stewart, in opposing the bill, cited the words of the Great Charter. Tomoana declared that there was a Maori proverb, That the worst way of killing a man was to prolong his agony. In two sessions bills had been passed with professions that the object was to try the prisoners. And now a bill was brought forward to prevent the trials.page 231
“This is the worst way of murdering. It is making slaves of these men… We thought it was intended to try them, and approved; but the policy of the government is like an eel. You look at it in the water, it seems quite still and straight, but directly you seize it, it curves up, doubles and twists round you, and covers you with slime. So this bill has changed its character and doubles round us all. Therefore I say it is as an eel, slimy, slippery. I do not like it. If it had fixed a date for trial of the prisoners I should have been content… (Why did Bryce take) “a large party of troops to Taranaki? Did he go there to fight Te Whiti?—No. Te Whiti has always said that he cares not to fight. His only weapon is his tongue.”
Mr. Turnbull averred that the facts disclosed in the West Coast Commission report were “a disgrace to a civilized people. We have ill-treated the Maoris for years; let us now determine to deal fairly and justly with them.” Sir G. Grey regarded the bill as “cruel and unnecessary.” It violated all principles of justice, and remorselessly inflicted great wrongs upon persons who might be wholly innocent. He implored the House not to break the solemn pledges given by the Governor and by two ministries that the prisoners should be fairly tried. Tawhai said that the Native Minister had—
“boasted of the bold policy of the government. How can it be a bold policy when there are only 130 native prisoners, and he is afraid to let them go back to where there are 800 soldiers? There are 800 soldiers on the west coast. They are doing battle against the word of one man… . “Let the prisoners be tried in the Supreme Court… I should like to see the time fixed for their trial within three months. I hope that now and in future all governments will adhere strictly to the law—that in settling difficulties between the two races they will be guided by the law, and not depart from it.”
Sir W. Fox asked Sir G. Grey where were his sympathies with the liberties of mankind when, in 1863, he assented page 232 to the New Zealand Settlements Act which Whitaker and Fox put before him, and which suspended all law and justice by subjecting “property and life to a court-martial composed of a few military officers?” Again, in 1869, Fox had passed a Disturbed Districts Act far more arbitrary than the bill before the House, and Sir G. Bowen assented to it. Fox still justified such Acts. How could Sir G. Grey reprobate them? Was not Rauparaha arrested— “dragged away without any legal authority, in the arbitrary exercise of power?” Fox vehemently supported the bill. Mr. De Lautour would vote against the bill. “I will not allow it, so far as I am concerned, to be handed down in our history that such a bill was passed with unanimous approval.” Fox had with “execrable taste” imputed morbid sentiment to the opponents of the bill. “Morbid sentiment! that is a new name for that sentiment which resents injustice and cruel wrong.” Mr. Reader Wood reminded Fox that a measure passed during actual war in 1863 might be justifiable, and yet yield no excuse for such a bill in time of peace. Hitherto it had been understood that the prisoners were arrested and were to be tried for trespassing. But Bryce declared “that was not the case at all … it was for provoking war” … and Fox the commissioner, “just come from the very spot, says they never intended to provoke war. If that is so, they are in prison for nothing.” Major Atkinson supported the bill. “I stand here to say to-night, on the behalf of the government, that I would not remain in office an hour if this bill were thrown out. I do not hesitate to say that I believe Te Whiti is so firm a believer in his Divine mission that he would be quite prepared to be crucified. As long as he retains his power I do not think there is much fear of difficulty; but we cannot tell how long he will retain that power… I would not remain in this seat one hour if these prisoners were let loose at the present time.”
Mr. Hall (who, to defeat justice, had made a vicious “order of reference” of the Ngaitahu deed), declared that if there was a people in any part “of the world of whom it could be said with less truth than another that it was oppressed, it was the Maori people.” Mr. Pyke denounced the bill. Was there not a special clause in the treaty of page 233 Waitangi, in which the Queen guaranteed to every Maori all the rights and privileges of British subjects? He scorned the policy of “expediency and dishonour which ministers strove to induce the House to adopt.” Mr. Reeves, though hostile to a change of ministry, hoped, for the honour of New Zealand and of the “country we come from,” that the disgrace of passing such a bill would be avoided. Rather than see it pass, he would exhaust “every constitutional method” to obstruct it in the House, in order that, on the imminent expiry of the existing law, the Maori prisoners might go free.
Captain Russell had two tongues upon the subject. “In days to come, when historians write the annals of this country, they will view the struggle which has taken place from a very different standpoint from that which we can take who are mixed up in its turmoils and disagreements. The men whom we look upon as rebels, and who some think are traitors, will, to my mind, occupy a brighter page of history than many of those men whom we look upon as faithful and loyal natives.” Nevertheless, “as far as he knew, the natives do not suffer in the same respect as Europeans from having been confined in gaol,” and he “should naturally at all times support a ministry in bringing a bill of this kind before the House.” Mr. Ireland could not vote for the bill without violating his conscience. He appealed to a rule which was as alien to some of his hearers as were Te Whiti's prophecies—” Trying to do to others as he would that others should do” to him, he would vote against the bill. Te Wheoro protested against the bill. “… If you will give the natives the land you promised there will be no disturbance. I do not say release them without trial. I say try them first, and then release them. It is not right to seize and imprison them and then release them without trial. How are people to know whether they have committed any crime or not? Though they may be innocent the finger of scorn may be pointed at them in time to come.” Tawhai bitterly suggested that the prisoners had perhaps been sent from the genial north to the severer climate of Dunedin “that they might perish there.” Did the ministry wish to release them now “without trial, for fear the Home government should page 234 censure them for having imprisoned the natives wrongfully? A bill to try them, so that the innocent might be released and the guilty might be confined, Tawhai would have supported: but the one before him he must oppose. Mr. Andrews, from Christchurch, denounced the want of good faith shown in the bill. “I never knew a Maori to break faith. I do not know hat a Maori's word has ever been disputed in this House … the more I know of them the more I respect them and the more faith I have in them.” The treatment of the prisoners, “shut in from the care of their wives and children and parents, was most severe, most harsh, most unjust, and cruel. I do not know that in my reading of history I have ever come across a parallel case. Certainly in English history there is nothing like a parallel case.” Mr. Andrews appealed in vain, and by 30 votes against 14 the bill was read a second time,61 long after midnight, and in spite of opposition, was hurried through all its stages. The Attorney-General moved its second reading in the Council on the 22nd July. He professed sympathy with Maoris against whom so many breaches of promises had been proved by the West Coast Commission, but it was impossible to apply the laws of a civilized country to New Zealand, and it would be wrong to omit to do the technical wrong he advocated. Whether there were precedents or not elsewhere signified nothing. But he would cite precedents. In 1864, he and Fox kept in durance the Rangiriri prisoners of war without warrant. The Disturbed Districts Act of New Zealand in 1869, which some members of the Council assisted to pass, was not so mild as the bill before them. It imposed the extraordinary burden upon any Maori, arrested on suspicion, of proving, although no offence was charged against him, that he had behaved well for a year. Two justices or a stipendiary magistrate were the tribunal. “I am afraid (said the conscious Whitaker). if some of us were called upon to prove the same thing we should find ourselves in a queer page 235 predicament.” His sneer at the Council for passing the bill of 1869 was only a half-truth. The Council wiped out of that bill some of the blots which befouled it when it was put before them, and one of the Judges expressed his hope that no court of justice would “entertain so fearful and odious a doctrine” as that, without discrimination between innocence and guilt, men whose guilt was unproved were to be “sacrificed in order to inspire terror.” Confident in Hall's majority, Whitaker declared: “If Parliament had not been sitting, so grave is the necessity … that I should have felt no compunction in acting outside the present law in order to keep these men in custody; but as Parliament is sitting, it is right that it should be consulted.” Let the Council “follow the example of the other Chamber.” The Council obeyed. Mr. Mantell protested that there was no precedent for the bill. It inflicted ex post facto penalties. It was a question for the Imperial government whether it infringed the rights guaranteed in treaty by the Queen. He would vote against it, hoping that the ministry might be able to “preserve the peace of the country, though they will have great difficulty in preserving their self-respect.” Captain Fraser denounced the incarceration of the old chief Matakatea. Colonel Brett stigmatized the bill as “degrading to our British character and to the British flag.” Sir F. D. Bell supported it. Mr. Scotland said that it represented the west coast influence in the Cabinet. Only three members joined Mr. Mantell in opposing the third reading. They were Mbkena Kohere; Mr. Scotland, of Taranaki; and Mr. Wilson. The ministry were triumphant indeed. Whether Sir Hercules Eobinson would have assented to the bill if other violations of right had not been formally sanctioned by his predecessors cannot be known. Though he had expressed his “wonder that the natives had submitted to such treatment so long,” with regard to the unfulfilled promises of 14 years, he nevertheless (on the very day on which it passed the Council) assented to the Denial of Justice Bill, which the ministry called a Maori Prisoners Bill.
The final report of the West Coast Commission (5th Aug.) was made after the Maori Prisoners Bill was passed, but not before Te Whiti had sent fresh men to be arrested for page 236 fencing across the road in course of formation near Parihaka. “Before such infatuation” Fox and Bell exclaimed that Acts of Parliament were powerless. The government meanwhile forced, in one day (30th July), through the Lower House, another measure—the Maori Prisoners Detention Bill. It had not been translated for the Maori members, though a standing order demanded such a course. It was, in fact, a bill to enable the ministry to arrest and detain without cause any Maori on the west coast. The pretended need for it was the fencing across the road, but Mr. Bryce thought that “technically that offence would scarcely subject them to arrest at all.” He demanded general powers. Natives arrested on the west coast, on and after the 19th July, were to be detained under the Denial of Justice Act “as effectually as if they were included with the terms of that Act!” Te Wheoro declared that if trouble should arise it would be due to Bryce's bills. Mr. Hutchison said that “he did not think there was any other free country in the world where a minister could have announced that he had arrested individuals unlawfully and without any charge of crime being brought against them.” By 41 votes against 24 the third reading was carried, Mr. Bryce averring that the government “had no intention of shrinking from responsibility, because they had already taken these prisoners without any form of law.”62 On the question “that the bill do pass” members were roused to indignation. Mr. Speight said “he knew of nothing which would bring the blush of shame to their cheeks in after days so much as the passing of this bill would, unless they were past feeling shame altogether.” Mr. Pyke said “it was a cruel, tyrannous, unjust Act;” there was “no precedent for it in the history of the British people” and “it could bring nothing but disgrace and humiliation upon their heads.” Mr. Turnbull could “scarcely trust himself to speak on the occasion,” but protested against the bill. Sir G. Grey declared that in “the worst days of the French revolution such power was never sought, never given and never attempted to be taken. This measure would be a constant reproach to the Assembly if it were passed in its present form.” Mr. Bryce in reply page 237 said he “could only say now that he felt ashamed of the action of the opposition.” Tawhai having complained that the bill had not been translated into Maori as required (though the 1st, 2nd and 3rd readings were being forced through in one day), the “Speaker regretted exceedingly that there had been an infraction of the standing orders — which prescribed that bills specially affecting the Maori people should be translated and printed in the Maori language—and that this bill had not been translated.” Nevertheless the bill was passed without delay. On the 4th August, Whitaker piloted the bill through the Council.
On the 5th, the West Coast Commissioners sent in their final report. Both of them had assisted in Parliament in removing all restraints of law from the Native Department before they delivered their judgment that its past history convicted it of falsehood, bribery, and cruelty.
On the 6th August, the Governor assented to the barbarous Detention Bill. On the 19th August, Mr. Bryce moved the second reading of a West Coast Settlement Bill, founded on the report. Mr. Robert Graham had already (17th July), with the knowledge of the government, visited Te Whiti in company with the Arawa chief Te Rangikaheke. Mr. Graham was one of those whom Te Whiti had befriended when they were shipwrecked in the Lord Worsley. Te Whiti was courteous, but would not discuss affairs. “It is too late,” he said. Te Rangikaheke conversed freely with one of Te Whiti's friends, and believed—that Te Whiti was anxious for peace, and would let the whole tribe be imprisoned rather than resort to force; that the fencing was really done to protect a cultivated field, and that all that Te Whiti demanded was a thorough investigation. As to the captives, Rangikaheke wrote: “The children are left fatherless; there is no one to guard, to feed, or to clothe them. This is heart-breaking.” It might be so to the Arawa chief, but the Native Minister was differently affected. He informed the House (19th Aug.) that “the mental condition of the Maoris was really most peculiar,” and that the government must “have very large powers indeed…” “We have cut roads, carried the telegraph through the country, … and we propose to continue these operations, and to erect the lighthouse, page 238 which has been so strongly resisted by the natives, … and within a very short time to advertise a very considerable portion of this land for sale… If the Maoris should be so ill-advised as to interfere with this settlement, they must be punished.”
Sir G. Grey complimented Fox and Bell on their labours, and hoped that they would be employed in completing their great work. Mr. Hall said: … “Unless you give the government power to deal with the natives in this way, you must either abandon this territory, and goodness knows how much more besides, or you must in the long run be forced into hostilities.” Mr. Pyke thought that “A more arbitrary, despotic, or unconstitutional measure than this West Coast Settlement Bill—except the Maori Prisoners (Bills)—never disgraced a Parliament of freemen… All the crime the natives were guilty of was the re-erection of fences around that which they believed to be their own property, based on usage as sacred to them as any number of parchments… The armed constabulary in a violent and hostile manner entered upon this land, destroyed the fences, ruined the cultivations… Now we have a bill to justify what has been done.” He would “fight every clause in committee.” Mr. Macandrew believed that “the future historian would refer to it as something quite as bad as anything that ever took place in the worst times of the Star-chamber. I look upon it as inspired by pretty much the same feeling as that which led to the massacre of Glencoe.” In an adjourned debate Sir W. Fox acknowledged the approval given to the commissioners by the government, by Sir G. Grey, and by the press. Mr. Bryce thought it would be “unconstitutional” to divest himself of proper responsibility in carrying out the commissioners’ recommendations.63page 239
One clause enacted that “the several natives who have been arrested or shall hereafter be arrested by virtue of the provisions of the Maori Prisoners Detention Act, 1880 (assented to 6th Aug., 1880), shall be deemed and taken to be in custody under the Maori Prisoners Act, 1880 (assented to a few days before the Maori Prisoners Detention Act), and shall be detained accordingly.” In other words men arrested under one Act were to be deemed arrested under another in accordance with the terms of a third; and all three Acts were passed in a few weeks in one session. On the 26th Aug., Mr. Whitaker moved (in the Council) the second reading of the West Coast Settlement Bill, which he admitted to be of so “peculiar character” that “under ordinary circumstances it would perhaps require a great deal to satisfy the Council that it ought to be passed.” It “is thought desirable that instead of arresting natives as hitherto, and keeping them in safe custody, we should constitute certain offences.” … “No doubt this creation of a number of new offences will attract a great deal of attention.” It was deemed a contravention of all the “principles of British law” to bring the prisoners to trial under provisions of the West Coast Settlement Bill, which would be “an ex post facto law;” but there seemed no glimmer of conscience in Whitaker that the clause in the bill which enabled the government to imprison them without trial violated not only the British law, but immutable principles to which all law should conform. One clause was a snare for Te Whiti, although the object was not stated. Among new misdemeanours (such as—obstructing any official, cutting down buildings, “survey pegs … or other erection whereby the public peace may be endangered,” digging … fencing … interfering with “any road”—any assemblage “armed or unarmed) … countenancing the commission of any such acts as aforesaid” was created an offence, from the White Cliffs to the Waitotara. Any person “reasonably suspected to be present” for “countenancing” &c., might be arrested by any of the armed constabulary without warrant,” and be detained under the Maori Prisoners (or Denial of Justice) Act of 1880. There can be no doubt that the framers of the clause contemplated the seizure of Te page 240 Whiti, at a convenient season, for “countenancing” acts which they had created “offences.” Captain Fraser concurred with the first part of the bill, recommending fulfilment of promises. The second, relating to offences, breathed the “harsh and hostile spirit of the Native Minister towards the native race.” He would not vote for it unless Sir Dillon Bell would assure the Council that it was drafted by himself and Sir W. Fox. Sir D. Bell justified the bill as it stood. He believed in its “merciful side to the natives, and in the just side to the settlers.” The Council passed the bill without a division, and on the 1st Sept., Sir Hercules Robinson gave it the Royal Assent.
Mr. Whitaker had previously contrived to drive Taiaroa from the seat in which he might have exposed the brutality of the bill. Formerly, when members had been found snbject to disqualification, both Houses had promptly passed Bills of Indemnity for members who had become disqualified. Acrimonious debates had taken place when Whitaker and other ministers had forfeited their seats, but the discussion was political, and on no occasion had any penalty been inflicted for unwitting breach of the law. Mr. Hall, himself, had, in the Council, been relieved by an Act. Taiaroa had been invited by Donald McLean in 1873 to accept a seat in the Council, but McLean had not performed his promise, and Sir G. Grey's ministry carried it into effect in after years. Mr. Bryce dispensed with many native assessors on the alleged ground of economy. Taiaroa called (25th June, 1880) for a return of the assessors thus discharged, and on the 20th July moved that it be printed. Mr. Waterhouse expressed surprise at finding that what he deemed pensions for conspicuous services to Mokena Kohere and Wi Tako Ngatata had been struck off as salaries which ought not to be continued. Mr. Whitaker turned the discussion from the position of Kohere and Ngatata to that of Taiaroa, who had been an assessor, and, though he had declined to draw any salary, had not technically resigned office. Whitaker doubted whether Taiaroa “was entitled to sit; and doubts involving the possibility of paying a fine of £50 a day for sitting and voting wrongfully should at least be cleared up.” Colonel Whitmore could not think that Taiaroa had page 241 infringed the Act, and Taiaroa informed the Council that, when the seat was offered to him, the Native Minister (Sheehan) had telegraphed that it would be necessary for him to cease to receive salary. Consequently, when the Paymaster at Dunedin offered him salary he declined it and had since taken none. The subject is only worthy of narration as a proof of the spirit of government. On the 26th July, a member asked Whitaker whether the government meant to relieve Taiaroa from the difficulty in which Whitaker declared him to be placed, and to remove doubts in the manner so frequently adopted before. Taiaroa meanwhile did not attend in the Council. Whitaker affected inability to answer a question of which he had had no notice. Taiaroa had not communicated with him. If Taiaroa's seat should be deemed vacant “it was entirely a matter for the Governor to consider whether he would reinstate him,” and it would be “highly improper and irregular” for the Council to meddle. Sir Dillon Bell ungraciously supported Whitaker. Colonel Whitmore shrunk from the suggested meanness. The ministry “should at once take whatever steps were necessary to relieve Taiaroa of his disability.” Whitaker disclaimed any desire to keep the chief out of the Council. “He has not communicated with me, and not only that, but whenever I have the pleasure of meeting him he cuts me.” Captain Fraser thought that fact a proof that Taiaroa had adopted English “civilization to a great extent, and that he was no doubt irritated by the remarks made by the Attorney-General.” He thought it a mistake for Taiaroa to cease to sit, and presumed that if the seat had by unfortunate “accident become vacant the government would reinstate him because the Council” was happy to have in it a native gentleman so well-informed … “so rapidly adapting himself to our language and ways of thought,” so good “an exponent of Maori views … and so high a chief.” Mr. Whitaker was obdurate. A member (Mr. Wilson) moved for inquiry into the case, but the Attorney-General carried an amendment making the inquiry general, and a committee was appointed to report upon the steps which ought to be taken when questions arose as to seats of members. Mr. Mantell said it was “strange that as the page 242 Attorney-General was the first to discover that Taiaroa was disqualified he did not at once advise his Excellency to send a message to the Council setting forth that fact, and reappointing Mr. Taiaroa.” A special committee reported that Taiaroa was disqualified. Mr. Wilson moved (25th Aug.) that the report be affirmed, but that “Mr. Taiaroa at the time of being summoned was quite unaware of his disqualification for the office.” There was a debate in which Mr. Mantell said that he “had no reason to feel indebted to Taiaroa for support… Disagreeable he might be and inconvenient as an opponent from the tenacity with which he held his opinions… He had known him since he was a mere boy, and was quite certain that there was no honourable gentleman in the Council who was more desirous to be honourable, straightforward, and honest in his dealings than Mr. Taiaroa.” The more able, the more patriotic, and more spurred by sense of honour Taiaroa might be, the more desirable it was to silence him on the eve of forcing the West Coast Settlement Bill through the Council. The day after Mr. Mantell's encomium on the chief, Whitaker carried his bill, and Taiaroa was mentioned no more. At the close of the session Mr. Sheehan asked in the other House whether the government would as in all other cases (and as with regard to some of themselves, including Whitaker, in 1876) remove the technical consequences of the accident for which Taiaroa was blameless, but Mr. Hall was not prepared to make “any statement” upon a subject brought forward without notice. Within and without Parliament, the ministry was successful. Law, justice, and good faith had been placed under its feet by the Assembly. The voice of Taiaroa was silenced. The Governor had assented to a bill which enabled the Native Minister to imprison, without restraint from any safeguards of English liberty, the remnant of the tribes on the West Coast. The one bitter drop in the ministerial cup was that which Dillon Bell called “the merciful side” of the bill, and which contemplated fulfilment of promises: but even that might be neutralized by the craft of Whitaker, or the dissimulating candour of Hall.
The bills which Mr. Bryce proposed concerning native page 243 affairs were numerous. The Native Land Act Repeal, Native Land Court, Native Reserves, Native Lands Frauds Prevention, Native Succession, Native Lands Stamps Duties, Native Lands Sales, and Native Lands Contracts Validation, formed the subjects of several measures. Of these only a Native Land Court Bill was passed, although Mr. Whitaker introduced several of them in the Council. The Act of 1865 had given to Land Court judges a tenure of office during good behaviour, and Donald McLean's Act of 1873 degraded them to a tenure at pleasure. The Act of 1880 repeated the dangerous enactment of 1873. On a Native Land Sales Bill, of which Mr. Bryce moved the second reading on 15th June, there was much contention. He admitted that the policy of the colony had “been a very crooked one;” that the system of government purchases in competition with speculators, commenced in 1871, had “done more to demoralize and degrade the Maori race than all efforts at colonization could redeem;” that he “despaired of being able to make the House understand the terrible iniquity of the system which had been in vogue during the last few years;” that the “government had committed iniquity, but had not got the desired reward for it; that the natives, as a rule, did not get the goods charged against them;” that “in innumerable instances moneys charged as paid to natives were paid in fact to storekeepers for goods supplied” to Europeans, and “in some cases large sums were charged to natives who never had goods at all; and he hoped his bill would “relieve the government from the miserable necessity of becoming hucksters, and being always ready as it were to take advantage of the necessities of Maoris” in the iniquitous manner he had described.
Te Wheoro carefully scrutinized the bill, which seemed “to tie the hands and feet of the Maoris, so that the Pakehas might take their lands from them.” No evils were guarded against. Again, the Maoris were to be tampered with by odious sharpers, who would beguile the tipsy to sign away their birthright. Again, when an auction took place, the Maori would see with dismay the dissipation of the normal purchase-money.
“Part will be taken to pay the surveyors; fees of court and costs ordered by the court will have to be paid; also expenses of advertising, page 244 and duties payable to Her Majesty; also an amount to the receiver of land revenue, and five acres in every hundred; also the sum due for the Crown grant, and an amount for roads; also fees of lawyers and interpreters. I believe that these amounts, when added together, would amount to more than the £100 from which they have to be deducted. What would fifty owners of a patch of land, sold for £100, get in return for their land? This reminds me of an ancient Maori proverb—‘He with the dishevelled hair shall have nothing; while he with the fine head-dress will take all,’ which I interpret thus: The host who is at home gets nothing; he fasts while the guest has all the food. Observe that the land taken for road purposes is not taken to make roads through native lands, but through lands which have been sold and appropriated by Europeans. These deductions are made to form roads on land in the hands of Europeans. Now, do you believe that Europeans would submit to a law of this sort? I think not. I believe that if you were to pass a bill affecting thus the lands of Europeans, that would be the day when a host would come into the House as Oliver Cromwell did into the Parliament of England… If you really have any friendly feeling to the Maoris, why not give them some power of dealing with their own lands? If you do this, when the lands are sold you will have no further trouble about them. You would not have to spend thousands of pounds in appeasing them, and bribing them to sell their land; because the sales I speak of would be made in broad daylight. In speaking thus I ask no favour, no fresh laws on behalf of the Maoris. If you look at the treaty of Waitangi you will see certain words of our Queen. ‘In consideration of the native chiefs acknowledging the authority of the Queen, Her Majesty will protect all the natives of New Zealand, and she confers on them equal privileges with all British subjects.”'
He complimented Mr. Bryce for disclosing admitted iniquities, which, when alluded to in a former session by Te Wheoro, had elicited no condemnation in the House. Those iniquities were the cause of previous trouble, but who had suffered? The offending officers pocketed the money. “Those who had done no wrong suffered. They who committed crimes are now free.” Tawhai replied to Captain Russell's statement that Maori members always objected to Native Bills:—“Yes; and I will tell you why. Because they were bad bills, and feelings of caution made Maori members oppose them… Think not that the Maoris are ignorant of the load about to be placed on their shoulders.” Let Mr. Bryce allow a breathing-time, and stop all sales for two years.
“But I fear that in urging him to do this I only waste my words, for I am almost certain that the hearts of the government are steeled against anything of the kind, and that this bill is intended to heap grievous injustice upon the Maoris… One member had promised to oppose portions of the bill. I say to that honourable gentleman, Be firm to your word. Do not depart from it, but carry it through, lest you be page 245 like one of the honourable members for the Thames,64 who promised to support an amendment in a bill we have discussed and which has been passed. But it was only a promise. When it came to a point he was seen on the other side. My opinion of this bill is, that it will be our deathknell. It will hasten our departure from this world. If there be any opposition to it, I will form one. Even if all other members support it, my vote shall be given against it.”65
These words from the son of one of the earliest friends of the English, extorted tribute from Sir W. Fox. “I must congratulate the House upon the able manner in which the native members have upon this occasion addressed us. It is very gratifying to hear so much intelligence exhibited and so much study and reading displayed…” Nevertheless Fox supported the bill. Tomoana pleaded that Maoris should have a voice in administering their lands. “The only treasure a Maori has is his land; and if that be taken from him he dies. If this bill be carried, no land will be retained by the Maoris, nor will they receive any benefit from the measure. Through the Land Court already they had lost most of their land.” Like Tawhai he would utterly oppose the bill. Mr. Reader Wood subsequently moved a resolution to empower the natives, without government interference, to deal with lands for which they had obtained certificates of title. “I ask … whether a native of New Zealand is not, in every attribute that becomes a man, equal to the European who has come into these islands, with the single exception, of course, of acquired knowledge, and of that wretched varnish which has been called civilization? Taking man for man, I ask whether the native is not equal to the European?” The government defeated Mr. Reader Wood, but the bill never emerged from the committee. To a Native Lands Frauds Prevention Bill Mr. Bryce expected no opposition when he received it from the Council. To Tomoana's question whether it was to be retrospective, Bryce replied “it would page 246 apply to the past as well as the future.” It lapsed on the 19th August with five other native bills.
There was some acrimony about the conduct of the ministry in regard to land at Patetere in the Waikato district. A company had in 1872 entered into negotiations with Maoris for a block of land there, supposed to contain 250,000 acres. They took the precaution to ask Donald McLean whether the government would interfere, and were told that they would not unless trouble should be likely to arise. In 1873 they procured a lease by the usual arts, and were surveying blocks when the murder of Sullivan on lands within Tawhiao's territory checked their operations. Their certainty of collision in case of their perseverance may be inferred from the fact that the alleged area of their leasehold was found to exceed by about 85,000 acres the quantity to which they had a presumptive claim. They applied for relief, and the government bought their interest. The rent due under the leases was £907, and Mr. Bryce stolidly told the House (15th June, 1880): “It is a curious feature in connection with those leases, to which we attach so much importance now, that they have been altogether disregarded as far as payment is concerned. We have not paid any of that rent, although we have held the leases for a considerable number of years.” They who remember the Maori reserve at Dunedin will not think it curious that the Patetere rents were neither paid nor lodged to the credit of the proprietors.66 Mr. Bryce affected to sympathize with them, and asked “whether it is any wonder that the Maoris grew into a state of extreme irritation and anger on account of the hold which page 247 the government kept over the block, because of the lease which had been bought, and upon which no rent had been paid.” A deputation had visited Bryce, and “the chief of that deputation made one of the most business-like speeches I ever heard from either a white man or a Maori. It lasted over half-an-hour.”67
The general legislation of the session was comparatively unimportant. Incongruously with their own measures the government passed bills to prevent cruelty to, and for the protection of animals. Mr. Hall succeeded in passing a bill which, following recent English legislation, transferred the trial of election petitions from Parliament to the Supreme Court. By retaining in an Act which consolidated the juries law, the jury of presentment or grand jury, New Zealand could still boast a connection with the safeguards of British law, which the Australian colonies had, without an exception, failed to obtain, or had discarded. The grand jury was drawn from the special jury book.68 The treaty of Waitangi entitled the Maoris to “all the rights and privileges of British subjects.” Whitaker cramped them thus: “Any Maori whose capability” was certified under regulations issued by the Governor-in-Council was qualified and liable to serve “on any Maori jury or mixed jury on any case affecting” the person or property “of any Maori.”
The question of paying members of Parliament, which had convulsed the colony of Victoria so long, was discussed in New Zealand in July, 1880. Mr. Hall asked the House to make a reduction of 20 per cent. His motion was lost by four votes, but a reduction of 10 per cent. was carried.
The Hall ministry deserved commendation for the prudence with which they recognized the legislative rights page 248 of the Upper Chamber. They drew a separate bill to give effect to resolutions reducing permanent salaries by 10 per cent. They had intended to insert the necessary clause in the Appropriation Bill, but (Major Atkinson said) “it was considered doubtful whether that might not be looked upon by the Council as a tack, and therefore the government brought down a separate bill.”69 Both Houses passed it. They were prorogued on the 1st Sept.
Armed with his double-edged Settlement Act, Mr. Bryce proceeded to the west coast. The penalty of imprisonment for two years with hard labour was explained at Parihaka on the 2nd Sept., and, on the 4th, 83 Maoris presented themselves to be arrested.70 The puzzled but obstinate page 249 Bryce took 59 able-bodied young men, but rejected 23 boys. On the 5th, the children returned with an old man, but again failed to induce Bryce to arrest them. One of the men arrested had gone cheerfully to gaol, although he knew (he said) that “it might be his coffin.” An Auckland newspaper declared that at his September meeting Te Whiti had “again spoken, and, as usual, Pakehas and Maoris wondered what his utterance meant, and were devoutly puzzling over it.” It was hoped that hard labour, under the offence-creating clauses of the new Act, would at least bring that conviction to the minds of the victims which it seemed impossible to bring to Te Whiti's. In the end of September about 60 prisoners were tried at Taranaki under the Act. They were accused of unlawfully obstructing a thoroughfare in the district described in the West Coast Act. Their counsel asked that the indictment might be quashed on the ground of uncertainty of definition of the district within which the alleged offence was committed. Three sides were named in the Act but no fourth. Who could say where it ought to be? The judge (Shaw) sentenced the prisoners to two years’ imprisonment, and to find securities of £50 each at the end of the term; and added the astounding warning that the duration of their punishment would depend upon the manner in which their countrymen might behave. In October Matakatea was released with a few followers.
Sir Hercules Robinson had quitted New Zealand (8th Sept.), and his successor, Sir Arthur Gordon, had not arrived. The Chief Justice, Prendergast, was Administrator. Sir F. D. Bell had been appointed Agent-General in London in room of Vogel, who, by claims for remuneration and by candidature for a seat in the House of Commons, had at last persuaded the colonists that he cared more for his own interests than for theirs. Sir W. Fox became sole commissioner to carry out the recommendations of the West Coast Commission. A sale of portions of the Waimate Plains was held early in November, and the average price was page 250 about £6 an acre. Great satisfaction was expressed in a newspaper at “this first experiment of selling a part of the confiscated land,” and “vindication of the policy of the government.” Another sale was resolved upon. Still Te Whiti preached peace. In the end of November some survey-pegs were pulled up; and Bryce declared that he would postpone all other business in order to apprehend any culprit. This order, said an Auckland newspaper, “unquestionably means a march to Parihaka… The crisis has arrived, and the government are bound to send a force to the head-quarters of resistance.” The duty which was so clear to the editor after the fact, had without doubt been planned when the offence-creating clauses were framed. It was observed, however, that no one could detect a native in the act of removing survey-pegs, that Te Whiti still preached peace, and that his followers pointed to the release of Matakatea and others as a confirmation of Te Whiti's prophecies. Some of the ministers felt that “a march on Parihaka” would seem unjustifiable, and it was not made. Much of the under-plotting at the time is unknown, and is not worthy of research. But something may be gathered from the Native Minister's statements. Prendergast's bold contempt for the treaty of Waitangi and of the rights of Maoris as British subjects had been elaborately recorded by himself with regard to rewards offered for Maoris dead or alive. It was natural to expect his sanction for acts of violence. The Native Minister publicly stated (March, 1881) that in Sept., 1880, he recommended active measures, with which a majority of his colleagues did not agree. “In Sept., I sent in my resignation on the ground of divergence between myself and the Cabinet, but I withdrew that resignation because I thought I saw good grounds for hoping that by giving up certain points to that portion of the ministry who differed from me I should get my own way on the essential point.”71 It devolved upon Mr. Prendergast, in 1880, to transmit to the Secretary of State a synopsis of the Acts of the past session. The Maori Prisoners Act and the Maori Prisoners Detention Act were lightly passed over as page 251 temporary, and “in sequel” of other Acts. The West Coast Settlement Act was described as empowering “the Governor to carry out certain recommendations made by the West Coast Commission, and providing special powers during a temporary period for the maintenance of law and order in the said district whilst the above recommendations are being carried into effect.” At the time when Mr. Bryce issued his order that “every other duty was to be made subordinate to apprehension of culprits,” Sir Arthur Gordon, the new Governor, arrived (in November), and was met at Auckland by Hall and Whitaker.
Lord Kimberley (22nd Oct., 1880) instructed the Governor to “prepare a full report of the native disturbances of 1879 and 1880, and the measures taken by the government of New Zealand in consequence of them,” with a view to its being laid before Parliament, if necessary. Simultaneously with the explanations furnished to the Governor, a new course was resolved upon with regard to Te Whiti. Mr. Rolleston (24th Dec.), on behalf of Mr. Hall, supplied a narrative, and enclosed various Acts and documents, amongst which was a memorandum from the Native Minister to “justify the detention” of the prisoners. Mr. Bryce said that he almost despaired of “conveying a sufficient idea of the case.” Te Whiti's “pretensions to supernatural powers were enormous.”72 It was “probable that he occasionally, at least, believed in his own pretensions.” His tribe had formerly “engaged in hostilities, but so far from Te Whiti joining in such acts himself, he has always preached peace.” Mr. Bryce considered that to have tried the prisoners for “the comparatively trivial offences with which they were charged—forcible entry and malicious destruction of property—would have been ridiculous.” Te Whiti, the preacher of peace, had an “overwhelming influence over the minds of the Maoris attached to him.” They feared “to meet what we should call the ‘evil eye’ of their chief.” This “blight on the minds of the natives” Mr. Bryce desired to remove. “Much had been said about the rights of the British subject under Magna Charta and the writ of Habeas Corpus,” but Mr. Bryce would disregard them. page 252 Sir Arthur Gordon (29th Dec.) transmitted the explanations furnished to him, adding that he did not consider himself thereby relieved from the duty imposed on him of preparing a full report, which he would make as soon as he could procure the “requisite data, in some cases not … easy to obtain.” Mr. Hall (22nd Dec.) laid before the Governor a draft of a letter which the ministry advised him to send to Te Whiti to open up negotiations with him, as recommended by Fox and Bell on the ground that the “West Coast question would never be settled without some arrangement with Te Whiti.” Mr. Hall submitted Mr. Parris’ report of his failure to obtain a hearing from Te Whiti. Parris heard Te Whiti address a crowd of about 1200 persons, mostly women. The speech was oracular, positive, but occasionally sad. All things were ordained at the beginning of the world. All events great or small,
“whether for good or evil, all were ordained which were to happen on earth. Also those evils which were to happen in our days—namely, wars and dissensions. These are all, however, now at an end. This also was ordained of old… The wars of our time were prophesied… We could not have altered anything, however we might strive… War shall cease and shall no longer divide the world. Adam's race has fallen over many cliffs, but the cliffs have disappeared by numerous landslips, and none shall fall over those cliffs again. It was ordained in the beginning that I should address you as I do to-day on this matter… The one cliff still left, which has not been levelled, is death. All that has been foretold has come to pass. Nothing has been omitted, nothing added, and nothing taken away. This is the day for you all to abide in peace; and remember that the nearer you are to death, the nearer also you will be to life… One cliff is left as an enemy and a snare to us. All that I say will come to pass—not because I say it, but because it was ordained from the beginning…”
When Te Whiti had spoken, Parris rose, but Te Whiti said: “Speak not now; speak to-morrow.” Parris replied that none could answer for the morrow. Life was uncertain; to-morrow might never come. “Good,” answered Te Whiti, “speak on the day that never comes. If a dog flies at a pig it is at the bidding of his master; not of his own accord. What you have to say will not be real; it will not be your own word.” Parris turned to the Maoris and said that Te Whiti led them astray. “Your address,” retorted Te Whiti, “will be your superior's, not your own. Where is he? let him come.” “Are you so great,” replied Parris, “that my chief should visit you?”page 253
After a few more words, Te Whiti said to his people: “Me pakaru te hui” (“Let the meeting be broken up”), whereupon “they all rose as one man and left the meeting-place.”
The letter which the ministry advised the Governor to write was courteous. Sir Arthur Gordon would either receive Te Whiti at Wellington or see him on the west coast at some convenient place in the course of an intended journey. It was entrusted to Captain Knollys, C.M.G. (26th Cameronians), the aide-de-camp, whose observations are notable as those of an impartial observer. Accompanied by an interpreter (who unfortunately was engineer for the road in course of construction through the Maori fields), and by Hone Pihama, he reached Parihaka on Christmas day, and wrote:—
“Three or four miles from Parihaka we passed through some large and good fields of potatoes, maize, and tobacco… These fields, I am informed, are in the land proposed to be put up for sale by the government, but whether the particular spots now under cultivation are reserved to the natives I am not in a position to say. Beyond these fields, and at a distance of about a mile and a-half from Parihaka, we crossed the road now in the course of being made, which is to be the boundary between the land marked out to be sold and that reserved for the Maoris. Here also were fine fields well cultivated and well fenced. In crossing the road we passed close to one of the barriers recently erected by the Maoris. The country being full of cattle, horses, and pigs, running at grass, all the fields are of necessity well fenced. If nothing were placed across the road each spot where the road passed through a field would leave a gap for the convenience of intruding animals. The Maoris accordingly continued the fences across the road, thus completing the enclosure. As this, however, impeded the road, it was naturally objected to by the government; and many arrests took place, I believe, before the present compromise was come to, viz., that the fences on each side of the road should be joined by slip-rails, thus not blocking the road and effectually fencing the field. It seems to me that the erection of such fences is not only reasonable, but most necessary, as certainly little wheat or other grain would stand a chance in a country so thickly grazed without some such effectual fencing. These slip-rails now cross the road at intervals, and are not interfered with; indeed they are most carefully replaced by passers-by, European or Maori, after being removed to give passage. At Pungarehu itself, however, at the entrance to the armed constabulary camp, where the greatest number of arrests and the most determined attempt to make a continuous fence took place, no slip-rails have been put up, and the gap into the Maori wheat-field is watched day and night by natives.”
The creation of offenders under the West Coast Act was as simple as it was wanton. A man's field was invaded. He strove to protect his crops. He was declared an page 254 offender. He was seized with the hope that he would resist. He obeyed Te Whiti, submitted to arrest, disappointed the ministry, and astonished all who had known the resentful disposition of Maoris of old time. The absence of exasperation on their part exasperated their persecutors the more. Captain Knollys, after some delay, saw Te Whiti, who would not touch the Governor's letter, and Hone Pihama placed it by his side. A Maori opened and read it aloud. At the words, “discuss these matters,” Te Whiti interjected: “The cooked potato cannot discuss,”73 and prevented further reading. Captain Knollys told his engineer-interpreter that he was ready to converse if Te Whiti would do so, as desired by the Governor. Te Whiti declined discussion. To Hone Pihama he said: “Be not deceived. The government are pushing forward towards strife.” Captain Knollys saw Te Whiti, who said that if the Governor wished to know the truth he could visit the spot where the mischief was done. “When a man's face was burnt, the doctor visited him.” When asked to “show his burnt face to the doctor,” he replied: “No. If a dog is chasing a pig, the pig does not cry out to the man. The man calls off the dog.” Wisely or unwisely the preacher of peace could not separate the mission of Captain Knollys from the general persecution of his people. Captain Knollys reported that Te Whiti was resolutely peaceful—that vile spirits and beer were sold to Maoris in parts of the district—and that Te Whiti prohibited their introduction to his settlement. “If the chiefs struggle to suppress the evil among their people, cannot some assistance be given them in their good object?”
Idle words! The haters of the Maori were daily slandering Parihaka as an Alsatia which must be destroyed root and branch; and a Taranaki journal sneered at Captain Knollys’ mission. By such a “foolish act the government page 255 destroyed their reputation for sagacity in native administration.”
Some persons insinuated that Sir A. Gordon had intervened too much; but the ministry announced that his letter was written at their recommendation. Suddenly it was announced that Mr. Bryce had resigned. The wilier friends who aided him to pass the offence-creating clauses of the West Coast Act could hardly have suspected that his eagerness to use them would compel his colleagues to part from him. It was said that, wearied by the prophecies of Te Whiti, he proposed to march forward to “wipe out” Parihaka, and seize Te Whiti and Tohu. The blow was to be struck at Te Whiti's monthly meeting in January. His colleagues shrunk from an act incompatible with the sanctioned recommendations of the West Coast Commission. Some persons who had previously supported Bryce questioned his wisdom. Had he resigned (the “Taranaki Herald” said) when his colleagues advised the Governor to write to Te Whiti, he would have been applauded, but to do so because he was not permitted to “take active measures against Te Whiti, was a mistake of the first magnitude.” The same paper admitted that it would be “the height of absurdity to attack Te Whiti, who is actually doing no wrong in the eye of the law.” At Te Whiti's January meeting, he made no allusion to the government, but descanted on the blessings which would flow from patience under suffering. There ought to be no more fighting. A moral war was being waged in which the superior numbers and force of the Pakeha would be worsted by the calm endurance of the persecuted Maoris.
Mr. Bryce told his constituents in March that he had previously resigned74 (Sept., 1880) because his colleagues would not agree to his proposals with regard to Te Whiti; and he knew while he spoke that his colleagues were in possession of a formal memorandum furnished by him page 256 (20th Dec., 1880) in which he stated, “Te Whiti himself has always preached peace.” At the same period Major Atkinson told his constituents that “in almost all native matters Mr. Bryce and himself held identical opinions, but Mr. Bryce differed from the Cabinet as to the way in which they ought to immediately proceed in dealing with Te Whiti.”75
When Sir F. D. Bell and Sir W. Fox undertook the duty of commissioners on the west coast, they stipulated that the status quo should be maintained pending their inquiry, and Sir H. Robinson was assured76 by the ministry that the operations at Waimate would be confined to the repairing of old roads which could cause no offence. Mr. Bryce thus explained the result to his constituents:, “I, acting of course for the government, moved the constabulary across the river. I made roads, and I made them without the consent of the Maoris. I completed the telegraph lines which Te Whiti had resisted. I caused the lighthouse to be begun to which Te Whiti had refused his consent. I falsified all his predictions, and put the camp within two miles of Parihaka.” … Every such act was a breach of faith towards Sir Hercules, and calculated to provoke violence.
Mr. Rolleston became Native Minister. Sir W. Fox, as sole commissioner, dealt first with claims on the south of the Waingongoro river. Te Whiti, alluding to Bryce's resignation, said (Feb.) that if the government should invade Parihaka, the Maoris would offer “no resistance; but, if such violence were perpetrated, the government would be acting like cannibals in destroying their people.” Sir Arthur Gordon (26th Feb.) furnished Lord Kirnberley with the full report asked for on the “native disturbances of 1879 and 1880,” and if Lord Kimberley read it he must have known that there was no disturbance at Parihaka except that which the ministry created. When they perused the despatch they took exception to it; and, after a month's gestation, Mr. Hall produced a long memorandum in reply. It is right to show the value of his assertions with regard to the root of the Parihaka troubles. page 257 The West Coast commissioners (Fox and Bell) dwelt in their second report on the fact that Donald McLean formally, and not by “accident or a mere slip of the pen,” approved a minute made by an Under-Secretary describing the confiscation of the country “north of the Waingongoro as far as Stoney river” as “having been abandoned by the government so long as the Maoris behave themselves, and keep the compact about not crossing Waingongoro.”
Parihaka was at the north of Waingongoro, and as far as Te Whiti was concerned, he having always been recognized as friendly, had suffered no loss of his rights in the eyes of the government, and was therefore not dependent merely upon the toleration formally accorded by McLean to those who had been treated as rebels. The commissioners quoted (App. A) McLean's written instructions (1872) to Parris, to the effect that the lands north of the Waingongoro, though “nominally confiscated, are, with the exception of 1400 acres at Opunake, quite unavailable for settlement until arrangements are made with the natives for lands sufficient for their own requirements.” Parris was to buy (compensating “native owners for all lands they may relinquish”), and the government through him and others did buy, land from natives whether they had been in arms or not. Sir A. Gordon's report (26th Feb.) quoted the report of the commissioners, who said: “We venture to ask your Excellency if McLean's proceedings did not justify a belief on the part of all the Ngatiruanui people that the government had really sanctioned and encouraged their peaceable return to the tribal land.” Sir A. Gordon said it was “generally understood, and indeed officially recorded by Sir D. McLean, that the confiscation of lands between the Waingongoro and Stoney rivers had been abandoned,” but “still the confiscation was never formally removed, and the natives were informed by Major Brown, in 1876, that ‘the government possessed a right to do what they pleased with the confiscated boundaries'—an announcement which the terms of the proclamation of 1866 would hardly appear to justify.”
Mr. Hall's memorandum declared that McLean's approval of the Under-Secretary's minute “only applied to certain action recommended in the memorandum, and not to the page 258 opinion as to the confiscated lands expressed in it.” Mr. Hall showed truly that McLean opposed a motion to declare formally that the confiscated lands should be restored, but Mr. Hall did not, and could not, show that McLean's instructions did not extend to the land between the Stoney river and Waingongoro. Neither could Hall deny that McLean, throughout his subsequent career, recognized the title of the Maoris by purchasing lands from them throughout the territory in question. Ministers could not contradict the statement of the West Coast commissioners that “it would be hard for any impartial observer to deny that the whole course of events during the year 1872, the debates in Parliament, and the declarations of the leaders of both parties, united to justify the natives, who had returned to the country north of the Waingongoro, in believing that they would not again be dispossessed.” The Hall ministry had appointed Fox and Bell to give effect to their report, and could hardly repudiate it. But they strove to cloud the subject by reference to details, with which the Secretary of State might be supposed to be unfamiliar. They had forgotten facts while prying for excuses. McLean had in 1872 sent his plans to England through the Governor soon after forming them, and Lord Kimberley himself had sanctioned them.77 One Governor had transmitted to Lord Kimberley a formal statement that land was only to be acquired by purchase with the good will of the natives, and Mr. Hall asked another to forward to Lord Kimberley a laborious denial of the compact made by McLean and lauded by Lord Kimberley! Mr. Hall's memorandum deserves no further comment.
Apprehensive lest public opinion should be directed to their doings, the ministry entreated the Governor (12th July) to telegraph to the Secretary of State to prevent the publication of the despatch. They (13th July) requested “that the despatch may not be published at present,” and they hoped that “any intended publication will be so made known to them that their opinion as to such publication may reach and be considered by the Imperial government.” Lord Kimberley telegraphed that he would obey, “if possible; but that as the papers had been promised, they page 259 must be published if pressed for.”78 It does not appear to have occurred to Lord Kimberley that Englishmen were entitled to know in what manner the representative of Her Majesty had complied with the demand for an official report.
In March, the colonists became aware of the inquiries instituted as to the treatment of the Maori prisoners, and there were mutterings in the press against any attempts on the part of the Imperial government to “protect the natives from fancied wrongs.” An Auckland newspaper declared that the time would soon come when Tawhiao would be summarily dealt with, and the colonists would “refuse to tolerate the offensive attitude of Te Whiti,” and would offer “strenuous resistance” to interference by the “Home government.” The “Lyttelton Times,” however, denounced those who, under false pleas, were really striving to exterminate the Maoris. In April, Te Whiti was reported to have spoken mournfully about the darkness of the times, but still he preached patience. In May he urged submission. “The Almighty, not ourselves, decreed all that should happen to us.” To the released prisoners who had returned to Parihaka, he said that “only by peaceable means could God be reached. My heart is glad to welcome you. Though you be halt or blind, or sucking-babes, you have conquered. You were not imprisoned for heinous page 260 crime, or theft, but for upholding the words of Te Whiti. In such a case prison-houses lose their disgrace and become houses of joy…”
On the 9th June (1881) the Houses met.79 The Governor told them that effect was being given to the recommendations of the West Coast Commission; that almost all the prisoners had been released, and that his advisers did not apprehend that it would be “necessary again to have recourse to extraordinary measures for the preservation of peace and good order.” Bills were passed which dealt with Native Succession and Native Land frauds, but one weapon pointed at the Maoris was turned aside because it became, on general grounds, a question of confidence in the ministry. A Crown and Native Lands Rating Bill defined as native lands those “held under their own customs and usages, or otherwise howsoever.” Native borough lands were to be rated under an existing Act of 1876. Native town lands were assessed under the bill at £30 an acre, native agricultural lands at £1, and native pastoral lands at 6s. 3d. an acre. The rateable value was to be computed at the rate of 6 per cent, on the amounts fixed. The Governor-in-Council was to exercise certain powers by proclamation, and (to avoid immediate levy upon Tawhiao and others) it was provided that the local bodies should make rates, send certificates to the Treasurer, and that the Treasurer should, “out of moneys to be appropriated for the purpose,” pay to the local body the amount of the rates on Crown or native lands. Thus a cumulative debt was to be created; and whenever such native land might be “sold or exchanged for the first time, and whenever it is leased, after the passing of this Act, to other than aboriginal natives, then the amount of all rates paid by the Colonial Treasurer shall be repaid to (him), and shall be deemed to be a duty payable on such sale, exchange, or lease, and shall be payable as such.” There were many discussions on the bill. Mr. Ormond averred that the proposed rate in remote districts would “in a short time amount to more than the fee-simple.” Colonel Trimble, true to the rapacity of page 261 Taranaki whence he came, declared that “the native race were particularly favoured” in the bill. Te Wheoro said the bill was the monster which he had anticipated. It gave control to the Native Minister over the heritage of the Maoris. Payment of rates by the government merely meant—
“a system of mortgage to be exercised over native lands.” How could remote mountainous country sustain the proposed rate? “If these lands were offered for sale to the government, would they give the price equal to the value at which they were rated—6s. 8d. an acre? No, they would not. Only now do I learn that the government give such a high price for land.” … “The lands will lie idle while, as time goes on, the rates will increase, giving the government a greater hold upon them, and it will ultimately end in the confiscation of the native lands. Last year the natives went so far as to ask whether all this borrowed money was to be a charge upon native lands. The government replied, ‘No, the Crown lands will pay it back.’ Yet the apprehension then entertained by the Maoris, that their lands were to be a security for paying back this borrowed money, is coming true. What benefits have the native districts ever received from this borrowed money? All the rates that are collected, all the taxes, go to make improvements in European districts—to make European roads and build European bridges. No part has ever been expended in the native districts. (A member had said that) roads were made through native lands. That may be true enough in his part of the country, but the House is perfectly aware why roads were made throughout the lands at Taranaki. There was a sum specially voted for the purpose. Roads were made through native districts at Taranaki to grasp the native land… Did they benefit the natives?” … Three great wrongs there were: unjust confiscation; the Native Land Court which warred against the “mana” of the chiefs; and the attempts by such a bill as the one before the House to confiscate the remainder of the Maori lands. “The Maoris will not be able to sell their land with all these rates upon it, which will accumulate until ultimately the land will be taken to pay for the rates imposed upon it. Who knows then whether the government may not bring in another bill to take all the Maoris prisoners, to arrest them on their own properties for unpaid rates? Why do you not at once call the bill the Mortgage and Confiscation of Native Lands Bill? This bill is altogether opposed to the provisions of the treaty of Waitangi.” That treaty made the Queen the guardian of Maori rights. But the very people who ought to be the protectors were those who became the persecutors of the Maoris. The Maoris wanted the same “power as Europeans in local bodies, such as Road Boards, County Councils, and other bodies for the working of their own affairs… But the House has been too selfish altogether with regard to the Maoris It has never given what they have justly asked for, and therefore the Maoris look with a certain amount of aversion upon anything proposed in or emanating from this House. I know what influences many members. They think these powers should not be conferred on Maoris, lest they should decline to sell their lands. But that is not a just feeling to entertan, It is not what would be expected from an English race—from the people of England—who have a world-wide fame for being gentlemanly, just, and straightforward. But perhaps all these good qualities,—perhaps this uprightness, is left behind in England. It reaches page 262 not to Maori land. It is not brought here by those who come from England… I object to the bill altogether. The idea of taxing Crown lands as well as native lands is a mere farce. It is simply to give the Maoris the idea that the government like themselves pay taxes for their lands. The only lands that will suffer will be the lands of the Maori. They will be swallowed up by this monster of a bill. I appeal to those European members who befriended the native members last session to extend a like friendship now and help to destroy this monster. I look to friends who joined with me when the West Coast Bill, affecting the prisoners, was brought down. Let us join together in looking to one place for justice—in looking back to England.”
Tawhai followed in the same strain:—
“I know the Treasurer (Atkinson) has already tasted how sweet is the Maori land which has been confiscated at Taranaki, and he longs to swallow another morsel. His conduct reminds me of that of Ahab, when he coveted Naboth's vineyard. I will on behalf. of the Maori return the same answer that Naboth made to Ahab. He said, ‘I will not agree to give up the inheritance of my forefathers.’ Neither will I agree to see the land of my forefathers, our own native lands, given up to be devoured by this bill.”
Taiaroa vigorously opposed the bill. It became a crucial test of the position of the government on financial and municipal grounds, and was abandoned after the second reading.
It was during the debates on the bill that an event occurred which created surprise both amongst the friends and opponents of the government. It arose in no manner from the conduct of the ministry. Tawhiao visited the European settlements in Waikato, and in token of friendship laid down about 80 guns before Major Mair, the resident officer in the district. To Major Mair, whom Mr. Sheehan had slighted, was due the token of reconciliation which ministry after ministry had laboured so long and vainly to obtain. With the aged Manuhiri (formerly Tamati Ngapora), Wahanui, and several hundred followers, Tawhiao met Mair at Alexandra, divided by the Waipa river from the mountain mass of Pirongia, and close to Matakitaki, where the fire-arms of Hongi laid low the flower of Waikato when the father of Tawhiao was young. Desiring Mair to stand back, Tawhiao laid his own gun in the street, while at his gesture 80 of his people followed his example. “Do you know what this means?” he said to Mair. “It is the fruit of what I told you,—that there should be no more trouble. It means peace.” The telegraph flashed information to all parts of New Zealand.page 263
The title of king was accorded to Tawhiao throughout his journey by the reporters. The course chosen indicated that all thought of hostility was abandoned. It skirted the lines of Te Rore and Paterangi. At Awamutu, the Queen's health having been drunk, that of “the King Tawhiao and the Royal Family” was proposed, and he informed the company that he would “not consent to any deceitful work, neither was there anything hidden.” Wahanui, so hostile to Sir G. Grey in 1879, responded at Awamutu to the toast of “The Unity of the two Races,” and greeted “the good day shining upon us. I knew not that I should live to see it.” The symbolic word which the Maoris adopted for their journey was Tarahou—or the fresh gleaming of day, and Wahanui was said to have selected it. At a banquet at Cambridge Major Mair thought the event “one of the most important in New Zealand history.” The townspeople celebrated it with fireworks. One Maori usage may be mentioned. Before receiving an address in the public street at Cambridge the whole of Tawhiao's party were halted for prayer. The same practice was adhered to elsewhere. Tawhiao spoke as if the journey was originated by himself. His pilgrimage had been such as to excite strange memories. He was about to approach the spot where peace might have been made after the capture of Rangiriri, but for the protervity of Whitaker and Fox, and the equivocal conduct of Sir G. Grey, who had striven to persuade the Secretary of State that there was no danger of iniquitous practices against the Maoris by his advisers. At the tomb of his father, at Ngaruawahia, Tawhiao halted with his followers, while the Maori “tangi” held sway and profuse tears came bidden. It was hoped that Tawhiao would visit Auckland, but he paused at Mercer, where the limit of European government had once been fixed by the tribes. Tawhiao seemed much affected there; and recollections of the trampled boundary might touch his feelings, even though the sight of Rangiriri, Meremere, and Koheroa had not awakened bitter memories of the past. He made no terms, and asked for no favours. In bidding farewell to Major Mair, he said: “That which is uttered by the mouth returns not to it. The word goes straight forward. It is in earnest. My word is true.”page 264
The ministry, satisfied with the effect produced upon the public mind, did not boast of their success in entering upon amicable relations with Tawhiao. There was little discussion respecting Maori affairs after the Crown and Native Land Rating Bill lapsed. Mr. Rolleston passed a Thermal Springs Districts Bill to give effect to an arrangement entered into with the Arawa tribe, the owners of the marvellous terraces in the district of Rotorua. It had long been desired to obtain what Mr. Rolleston called a “foothold in this native district,” in order to “throw open to the world at large what was the greatest specialty in New Zealand.” The Arawa were, with reason, jealous of the ownership. There were colonists who wished to build hideous houses by the margin of Rotomahana,7979 which tempted travellers from afar. At Rotorua itself, where hot springs of various medicinal qualities abounded, there had long been accommodation for sojourners, but the Maoris had not accorded freeholds. Mr. Fenton, chief judge of the Native Land Court, under agreement with them, made an order setting apart the district as a great recreationground, and they consented to an enactment which placed land at Rotorua in the hands of the government in order that leases for ninety-nine years might be granted. Mr. Rolleston thought that, besides making “Rotorua the sanatorium of the world,” the Act would be useful in showing the Maoris how “the valuable properties they held might be turned to the best account.”
A Representation Bill incidentally attracted attention. It could not be denied that the Maori population of the North Island entitled it to larger representation than was left to it by Mr. Hall's bill, which increased the number of the House on the principle of single and equal electoral districts as regarded Europeans, but left the Maori members as before, although by the principle of the bill they were entitled to an increase. In the struggle for representation of the North and Middle Islands, it suited some members to claim that the Maori population should be estimated in calculating the number of members due to each island. Thus the settlers, like the quondam slave-owners of the page 265 United States, would derive importance from the number of a race on whom the bill was to confer no privilege. There were other members who, like Captain Russell, of Napier, thought that the Maoris should be admitted to the general franchise, and abandon their special representation. By computing the Maori people, Captain Russell found that the North Island would gain nine members, and he professed a wish to frame the districts in such a manner as to give influence to Maori votes. He struck an unusual chord by remarking that there were, in 1881, “44,099 natives in the North Island, being a large increase on the census of 1878.” Either their numbers had increased, or their former numbers had been underrated. There were extra-cameral negotiations on the subject. The Maori members were urged to abandon their existing rights. They replied: “If we can get an assurance from the government that we shall have a right to vote at the election of European members for the North Island, then we will give up the special representation.” “But (Mr. Sheehan informed the House) when we met the Premier, and he heard the views of the Maori members, he said he would not be able to give effect to those views.” Mr. Sheehan's unchallenged words showed the object with which some members sought to abrogate the special Maori representation, and justified the apprehensions which deterred Maori members from consenting to abandon it. Taiaroa declared that the existing law, coupled with the restriction of votes to property held in severalty, was humiliating. “Take the case of a native who is possessed of a Crown grant. That is, a grant to himself. But suppose he has six adult children. He is entitled to a vote because he has a grant in his own name; but his children who are of age are not entitled to a vote even under the residential qualification. Now, a European who comes to the colony and remains six months in it immediately becomes entitled to a vote, and yet you deny that vote to these natives who are born in the country and live all their lives in it. I can only characterize that as a very unfair proceeding on the part of this House which passed such an Act.” The bill was incompatible with the treaty of Waitangi, which “clearly laid down that the natives should enjoy the same page 266 rights and privileges as those enjoyed by other subjects of Her Majesty.” Mr. Swanson,80 in the course of the debate, denounced the ignorance of Maori affairs displayed by members from the Middle Island. They, in 1860, supported the robbery of Te Rangitake—“one of the most unjust things ever done… A great majority of the representatives from Auckland were for peace … but they were hounded down as traitors … and I say it is unjust and untrue to say that the Northern people got up that war… I appeal to every member of the Public Petitions Committee if we had not a case before us this week in which a man was given a bribe to rob and swindle the Maoris, and we actually recommended that it should be paid… And the Maoris are not taxed forsooth! … I am ashamed at the grasping desire shown to get possession of the land which still belongs to the natives. Talk about equal rights! The Maoris are taxed enough, fleeced enough, and robbed enough!”
Mr. Swanson quoted cases to prove his statements, and Mr. Hall in reply admitted that there was “no man better entitled to speak upon the Maori representation question than his honourable friend” Mr. Swanson.
Mr. Mantell exposed in the Upper House (in 1880 and 1881) the manner in which claims for justice were slighted. When the Rangitikei-Manawatu block was purchased it was found that natives were receiving rents from persons illegally occupying certain lands. The commissioner for the Crown, Dr. Featherston, impounded the rents, and guaranteed that when “the purchase was complete the rents would be repaid to the natives together with 10 per cent, interest.” When the Native Land Court gave judgment in the Rangitikei-Manawatu case, in 1869, the owners of a block called Himatangi proved that they had not been parties to the sale, and that Himatangi was not included in it. Though (said Mr. Mantell) the block was held “to be ceded to the Crown under the decision of the court, the government were not prepared to take so unjust a course as to keep their land from them on that account, and therefore, in 1877, a (Himatangi Crown Grants) bill was introduced enabling page 267 the government to grant to those natives 11,000 acres of which they had been deprived. The bill was passed.” It had contained a provision to sweep away claims for the rents, &c., and a sum of £500 paid to the province of Wellington, but the Council—“becoming aware that these rents were impounded before the purchase of the Manawatu block, that the land never had been purchased by the Crown at all, that the rents had been impounded by the representative of the government, under a guarantee that they should be paid over to the natives”—struck out the repudiating portion of the clause. That the government were conscious of liability was proved by their framing a clause to sweep it away. “That was only four years ago, but in the interval they had apparently taken a different view of the matter, and the natives had not yet been paid.” Mr. Mantell obtained papers which disclosed the fact that Dr. Featherston distributed the impounded rents (with the exception of about £60) to the wrong persons, and that no money was paid to the owners of the Himatangi block. Mr. Mantell asked the Council to express its opinion that payment “to the recognized owners should no longer be delayed.” The Attorney-General replied that “Mr. Mantell had stated the facts of the case pretty well as they occurred … but it was a tribal business entirely… If such matters were to be rooted out and brought up again under circumstances such as these they could have no finality to transactions between government and natives.” Thus, if a Maori like Teira could be cajoled into a transaction like that at the Waitara, payment to him would, according to Mr. Whitaker, deprive the real owner of any claim. Mr. Mantell replied that “There was not that confusion which the Attorney-General would represent.” The three hapus found to be entitled “were quite distinct, and there were no tribal questions connected” with the matter. Whitaker had complained that there would be no finality if such claims were allowed.
“Well, I intend that there shall be none. I am determined while I have a seat in this Council that there shall be no finality so long as this dishonest action on the part of the government continues… If a lawyer should act with his client's money as the government have acted with the money they collected on behalf of these natives, the chances are that he would cease to be a lawyer.”page 268
Whitaker piloted a significant (West Coast Settlements Reserve) bill through the Upper House in 1881, and adroitly procured the adoption of amendments made in the Lower, in haste, and almost on the last day of the session. In the Lower House, Sir W. Fox said there had been a difference of opinion between himself and the law officers as to the quality of the grants. He had recommended that there should be non-alienation clauses so as to protect the natives, who were to have no power of disposal except by lease or in way of exchange, the approval of the Governorin-Council being requisite in either case. The condition of affairs at Parihaka was alluded to. Taiaroa declared that all the troubles on the west coast sprung from the “unfulfilled promises and the confiscation of land.” Let the House make no more promises. “If you wish to give, give at once; or if you make promises, put them in writing so that there may be no mistake about them afterwards.” If “you give the trustee absolute power over these lands we do not know how he will deal with them… If the government has at heart the settlement of the west coast, and also the welfare of the Maoris, I will assist them as far as I can in committee to amend the bill.” … Te Wheoro vainly moved that there should be two trustees. Mr. De Lautour, who had supported Te Wheoro, moved (on a clause as to confirmation of leases) that the “consent of the natives entitled” should be requisite, but he was defeated by 20 votes against 8, Hall and his friends being again victorious. The bill was promptly read a third time, but not without alteration. The Representatives converted the resident trustee into the public trustee appointed under the Public Trustee Act of 1872. That officer resided at Wellington. How true a prophet Taiaroa had been was shown when it was arranged afterwards that the Waimate Plains reserve of 25,000 acres should, with the exception of a few patches, be leased without allowing the Maoris any voice as to what they wished to lease or to retain. It was decided that the land should be leased at once, “as otherwise the natives might occupy the most valuable parts of the block, and would have necessarily to be removed (from their own reserved land) when it was wanted for settlement.”page 269
Mr. Hall frequently contended that the Maoris were treated with benevolence. Before the close of the session he hastily obtained (on the proposition of Mr. Rolleston, the Native Minister) a vote for £100,000 to enable him to display at Parihaka the worth of his contention. So much is in the power of a government, in wresting Parliamentary forms to their use in regard to orders of the day, that in the closing hours of a session an adroit or sinister purpose can speedily be accomplished. As to this vote, Tawhai said in the following session: “It is stated that that sum was voted by this House; I therefore presume that I have a right to refer to it. But I think that a great many of the members were not aware that that sum was being voted. It was brought up suddenly before the House, after most of the members had gone on board the steamers to-depart for their homes at the end of the session. Perhaps it was voted in that way for fear the Maori members would oppose it. It was therefore brought forward after we had gone because the government must have been aware that this money was voted for the destruction of the natives.” The ministry are entitled to the credit or discredit of their reply, through Mr. Dick, that Tawhai was mistaken, and that the vote was sanctioned after “calm and quiet consideration.” The truth was that the Governor, Sir A. Gordon, who was also High Commissioner in the Pacific, sailed to Fiji on the 13th Sept. Mr. Rolleston asked for the special grant on the 21st Sept.; the Houses did no business after the 22nd, and the Parliament was prorogued on the 24th Sept.
A few words may be said with regard to the session generally. Mr. Ormond's opposition (on the Crown and Native Lands Rating Bill) to the financial schemes of the government was at one time deemed so formidable that it was rumoured that his amendment. would be carried, although the ministry made it a question of confidence. They had ministerial offices at their disposal, however, and angled adroitly for votes. Some who objected to the bill were soothed by the assurance that if the government were permitted to carry the second reading they would not persevere with the measure, and by 41 votes against 37 Mr. Ormond was defeated on the 28th July.page 270
History finds in all countries a class of men who call themselves conservative, but are. indicted for carrying measures which are demanded by their opponents. Such a class always implores its supporters to sustain it in power as the only safeguard against the irruption of Goths into office, and meanwhile it works for the Goths who are about to reap the harvest of its toil. It is but their factor. To benefit itself for an hour it sows the seeds of disorder for an epoch. It pleads that the fault is in the times, wilfully blind to the fact that when politicians are without principles the fault is not in principles, but in politicians. Creatures of this class are never without excuses to show that the evil they have done was by “a Divine thrusting on,” and that they were only “villains by necessity” in carrying measures of which they disapproved.
By his Triennial Parliaments Bill, Mr. Hall ensured a general election at the close of the session of 1881. He had found the North Island members hostile in the main, and he reduced their relative power by a Representation Bill. Personally in favour of Mr. Hare's system of election, which would make the House the fair reflex of public opinion, he trusted he might live to see it adopted, but the colonists did “not appreciate or even understand” it. He proposed a system utterly antagonistic to it. He had formerly stated that “population should not be the only consideration” in apportioning members. He had in June, 1880, proposed to give “reasonable facility for minorities to be represented” by a provision that “in all cases in which three members were to be elected by one constituency no elector should give more than two votes.” His new bill contemplated single electorates based upon population, but he excluded the 44,000 Maoris in the North Island from his computations. The number of members for the Middle Island was to be increased from 50 to 55; but the increase was wholly for the gain of Mr. Hall's district (Canterbury) and for Otago. Canterbury was raised from 21 to 24 members. Otago was raised from 14 to 21. To enable him to effect these objects and secure the aid of Otago members, Mr. Hall reduced the representation of the Nelson and west coast districts. A phalanx of 35 members for the two favoured page 271 districts, with the aid of friendly members from other places, was deemed sufficient to force the bill through the’ House. Mr. Hall professed grief for the fate of Nelson; and its members, without whose aid he could not have defeated Mr. Ormond, felt a real sorrow. The debates were too lengthy for analysis in these pages, but the main facts may be stated. By the proposed scheme Canterbury and Otago were to have 45 members in a House of 91 European members, and would exercise overwhelming control. Hall hoped to govern through their means. The provincialism which was supposed to have been killed by the abolition of the provinces was alive in the provincial districts. The very lists of members, officially made, separated them in sections denoting the provincial districts which elected them.
Mr. Gisborne, a west coast member, moved amendments condemnatory of the adoption of population as the sole basis, and of equal electoral districts. He argued that seven English cities had a population of about 6,000,000, and that to give them such a representation would raise their members from 37 to 121 and “create a heptarchy worse than had ever been heard of.” Sir G. Grey would welcome the prospect of giving control to such a population, though he characterized it as steeped in “degradation, misery, appalling state of vice, intemperance, and want of virtue.”81 Sir W. Fox replied that the saying that the people were always right was the maxim of “the great demon of the French revolution, Robespierre.” Mr. Sheehan declared that in introducing the bill the ministry were being “dragged at the chariot-wheels” of Sir G. Grey, as had been foretold. Mr. Collins, a Nelson member, who had been staunch to the ministry even when he thought them wrong, deplored the injustice of the bill, which the ministry would probably carry “by the assistance of their great political enemy.”page 272
There was vehement contest in committee. The Chairman refused to accept a motion made by Mr. Gisborne, and reported Mr. Gisborne's conduct to the Speaker, Mr. Hall moved in the House that Mr. Gisborne be declared guilty of contempt and be fined £20. After debate, constrained by the Speaker within limits prescribed by himself, the motion was carried. Mr. Gisborne was admonished, and the fine was paid by sympathizing friends.82
The press of the colony was divided, as the House had been divided, on the strangling of constitutional forms. There were writers who complained that thenceforth “a minority would be at the mercy of the two leading officials of the House.” There were others who triumphed in an injustice which secured additional representation for their districts.
The session closed on the 24th September.
1 Vide supra, p. 111.
2 Mr. Travers piteously complained that he (who had moved the appointment of the Privilege Committee) had been used as a red-herring “dragged across the trail” to divert the House. It was “contemptible.” Mr. Barff asked the Speaker if Travers was justified in calling himself a “redherring,” Travers replied: “I am justified in calling myself what I like, but I do not know what I should call the honourable gentleman if I spoke my mind.”
3 1894. The points of order appealed to were mentioned in the first edition of this work, but need not be repeated.
4 The Governor's despatch to the Secretary of State was published (June, 1878) in the colony with the reply of the Earl of Carnarvon unhesitatingly approving the Governor's construction of the duties constitutionally imposed upon him.
5 The Marquis of Normanby's conduct is dwelt upon at some length, because it furnishes proof that the allegation that Governors in colonies have not such duties to perform as demand political sagacity, is a shallow one.
6 See Vol. II, p, 409.
7 In accordance with “arrangements” made by McLean, lauded by the Governor, and sanctioned by the Secretary of State. Vide supra, p. 39.
8 Reports of eye-witnesses.
9 “When I speak of the land, the survey, the ploughmen, and such small matters” (Te Whiti said), “the pencils of the reporters fly with the speed of the wind, but when I speak of the words of the Spirit, they say this is the dream of a madman! They are so greedy for gain that nothing seems to concern them except it be in some way connected with accumulation of wealth. The dealer who gains wealth by short weights and vile goods, and by the numerous modes of picking and stealing known to the initiated—the men who steal the land of the Maori, and acquire flocks of sheep and herds of cattle—the men who would snatch the bread out of the mouths of the widows and the fatherless, and become rich by so doing, are all looked upon as respectable persons of property, while the humble seeker after truth is passed by unknown and unheeded. The time is at hand when their goods will rot in their stores, their ships will rot in their harbours for lack of sailors, their merchants will wring their hands in despair when they shall see their ill-gotten gains melt away like the mists of the morn at the rising of the sun.”
10 Maori scholars aver that no other language can express in one word the force and subtlety of the word “mãrâmâ,” which implies clearness, transparency, brightness, the force of truth, and a plainness to the understanding.
11 The reader may find an instance in a work written by Mr. Kennedy, a member of a Scotch family, which travelled from colony to colony in Australasia, singing the songs of “Auld Lang Syne” to gratified audiences.
12 N.Z. P.P. 1877; I. 15.
13 Supra, pp. 52, 54, 55.
14 West Coast Commission, second report, 14th July, 1880.—N. Z. P. P., 1880; G. 2. A. A return (N.Z. P.P. 1879: A. 8, A.) showed that on the 10th July, 1879, “sums of money paid to natives within the confiscated block on deeds of conveyance to the Crown” were £54,412, on 434,702 acres.
15 Supra, p. 39.
16 West Coast Commission Report.—The Commissioners, Sir W. Fox and Sir F. D. Bell, remarked on this statement: “As described by the Civil Commissioner in his evidence it was nothing but secret bribery.” The Commissioners extracted from Brown the manner in which he paid public money to Titokowaru. They also ascertained it from the Under-Secretary for Native Affairs, who told them that but for the discoveries of the Commission it would not have been known that £2000, represented to the Audit Office as paid to certain natives by Major Brown, had not been paid to them, but devoted to purposes “not disclosed to the audit.”
22 Answer 659.
23 Answer 671.
24 Answer 677.
25 After the stoppage of the surveys Major Brown went to Wellington and marked on a plan some proposed reserves, but neither the surveyor nor the Commissioner of Crown Lands of the district heard anything about them until they were made known to them by the West Coast Commission in 1880.
26 There was a side-issue about land between those rivers, with which it is not necessary to encumber the narrative.
28 Official and other reports.
29 Crowds assembled to see the old warrior, who had not been in Auckland for 20 years. The mayor welcomed him with a speech, and the citizens awaited his reply. It was not on a railway platform, or to such an audience, that the old man poured out his words. He said: “My reply will be brief—a descendant of Motai will yet journey on the sands of Hakerekere.” It was supposed that this ancient proverb implied confidence that Rewi would accomplish his task. He was feasted, and visited public places. At the gaol he saw some Maori prisoners, and gravely told them that their own faults had justly brought them there, but that as the law of the Pakeha enabled them to shorten their imprisonment, he advised them to behave well so that they might return to their homes, where he told them “to sin no more.” He made longer speeches at banquets. The Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, visited Auckland, and Rewi returned to Waikato in his company.
30 West Coast Commission (1880), second report, section viii. It was admitted by the Commissioners that Te Whiti's object was to test the “legality of the confiscation.” “We, of course, knew from the first (3rd report, p. 3) that it would be contested before us by the adherents of Te Whiti… We therefore refused to hear counsel who wished to question it.”
31 Among them was Matakatea. He was known to have saved the lives of European men, women, and children wrecked on the coast during the Taranaki war. He was afterwards ill-treated by General Chute. Sir G. Grey testified that none of his or of Arama Karaka's land was confiscated, and that a solemn promise was given to them that none of their land should be taken. Several members, Sir W. Fox, Mr. Rolleston, & c., visited Matakatea in prison. Mr. Rolleston declared in the House (18th July) that “the world would declare it a terrible thing that the blundering of any ministry should have brought about such a result, that a man who deserved so well of the British people should now be in gaol.”
32 Stubbs, “Constitutional History,” Vol. ii., p. 166.
33 “Hayter's Victorian Year Book,” 1879–80. Australasian Statistics.
34 It was probably because they agreed with this opinion that Atkinson and some others thought the bill “necessary.”
35 Manifesto to the Maori tribes interested in the lands confiscated by the government in consequence of the wars between the Maori and the European peoples.
We, the committee appointed to inquire into and to take proceedings for testing the validity of the laws under which the said lands have been confiscated, and are now claimed by the government, and to inquire into and test the validity of the acts done by the government under the provisions of those laws, send greeting:
Know ye, that we have consulted lawyers at Port Nicholson touching these matters, and we are informed as follows:—
That, in the month of December, 1863, the General Assembly of New Zealand passed a law authorizing the Governor, whenever he was satisfied that any Maori tribe or hapu had been engaged in war against the government since the first day of January, 1863, to declare and fix the boundaries of districts within which the lands of such tribe or hapu were situated, and then to set apart any of such lands as sites for settlement; and, by the said law, every site so set apart was to become the property of the government, freed from the title of the native owners of the same.
But it was by that law provided that compensation should be made for the taking of such lands to any of the native owners who had not been engaged or concerned in the war for which the same had been confiscated.
Now, we find that the government, purporting to act under the provisions of that law, and of other laws passed by the General Assembly in connection therewith, have created districts in various parts of the North Island of New Zealand, and claim to hold the lands of the Maori people within those districts, on the alleged ground that the said lands have been lawfully confiscated by reason that the owners thereof had been engaged in wars against the government since the first day of January, 1863.
We know that the right of the government to confiscate those lands, and to retain the same, has long been disputed by the Maori owners thereof, but that no proceedings have ever been taken in any court of law to test the validity of the Acts of the General Assembly under which they have been taken, or of the proceedings of the government under those Acts, or the right of the government to retain any portions of the lands, so taken, which have not been set apart as sites of settlement.
We therefore, having been appointed to inquire into these things, have been advised that the proper course for the Maori people who object to them is to commence proceedings in the Supreme Court of New Zealand, in order that the following questions may be heard and determined by law:—
Whether the Acts of the General Assembly authorizing the confiscation of the Maori lands are valid Acts or not?
Whether those Acts, if valid, authorized the government to confiscate any of the Maori lands by reason of wars which happened after the third day of December, 1863?
Whether those Acts, if valid, authorized the government to retain any of the lands within the proclaimed districts which had not been specifically set apart as sites for settlement before the third day of December, 1867?
Whether the proceedings of the government under those Acts have been regular and proper, so as to bind the native owners of the lands taken?
Whether, if those Acts be valid, proper compensation has been made to those who had not been engaged or concerned in the wars?
These are the principal questions which we have been advised by our lawyers to bring before the Supreme Court, but there are many others in connection therewith which will also have to be decided, and all such questions will be duly raised in the interests of the Maori people.
We have also been advised that if we are not satisfied with the decision of the Supreme Court upon any of these questions we shall be entitled to appeal to the great court of the Queen of England, by which the case will then be fully heard and decided.
Now, in order that these things may be properly done, we, the committee, call upon you to assure the government that you will not commit any deed of violence or attempt to assert your claims to those lands by force, and that you will leave your rights to be settled by the law, and not by the sword. And we will urge upon the government, on the other hand, not to proceed with the surveys or to deal with the disputed lands until the law has decided the questions we raise in respect of the same.
And we further make known to you that, acting in the belief that it is your wish that these things should be peaceably done, we intend at once to take steps for bringing all questions touching your claims to the confiscated lands before the Supreme Court.
From the committee,
Hori Kerei Taiaroa, M.L.C., President.
Wi Parata Te Kakakura, Secretary.
Wi Tako Ngatata, M.L.C.
Mokena Kohere, M.L.C.
Henare Tomoana, M.H.R.
Hori Karaka Tawiti, M.H.R.
Ihaia Tainui, M.H.R.
Keepa Te Rangihiwinui, Major, N.Z. Militia.
Peeti Te Aweawe.
38 An eye-witness wrote: “I have seen two ministers leave the ministerial bench for the purpose of opposing them; one was a European, the other was a Maori, and it must be admitted that the Maori acted his part in by far the more dignified manner…”
40 Speech of Wood. Auckland, 7th May, 1880.
41 In Aug., 1892, a member having referred to the transaction, Hall said “certain Auckland members approached my government”—“ it was the best arrangement ever made”—“ it is one of those transactions of my life which I can look back upon with perfect satisfaction.”—N.Z. “Hansard,” Vol. 76, p. 426.
42 Vide supra, pp. 44–45. Te Wheoro said:—“Purukutu did not act rightly in killing the man, but the land was Purukutu's, and the officers of the Native Department had no right to give the land to the other Maori.” Europeans who subsequently rented the land from “the other Maori” sent poor Sullivan and others thither.
43 Constantly against officers, ministers, governors, and even Secretaries of State, such as Earl Grey, there was confidence that the Queen herself, in whose name the treaty of Waitangi was made, would do justice to Maoris if they could make known to her their wrongs. A member (Oct., 1879) held a very different view. He said: “An honourable member referred to the treaty of Waitangi. I thought we had heard the last of that long ago. We have nothing to do with the treaty of Waitangi. We have to do with our business, and not what was done 30 or 40 years ago.”
44 Sir F. D. Bell's argument was peculiar. When the Maori members were first chosen there were, he said (21st Nov., 1879), only four, although the Maori population was 60,000 and the European 250,000. “There are now only 40,000 natives in the country, while there are nearly 500,000 English people. Therefore, by all parity of reasoning, instead of the number of Maori members being increased it ought to be reduced.” In other words, a man who commits an injustice is entitled to found his subsequent conduct upon it as if it had been an act of justice.
45 Important Judgments … published under direction of Chief Judge, 1879.
46 Sir Dillon Bell said:—” It was untrue to say that the whole of the land between the Waitotara and the White Cliffs had been confiscated. It never had been confiscated. The only instrument by which the claim of confiscation was ever set up was the Proclamation bearing the signatures of Sir G. Grey as Governor, and of Mr. Fitzgerald as Native Minister in Mr. Weld's government. What did that say? It confiscated the land of those in rebellion, but it not only did not confiscate the land of those who remained loyal, it conserved their rights, and made the express promise to them that their land should not be taken. That was an undeniable fact. He could not conceive how any one acquainted with the history of the country could deny that these promises existed from the very inception of the confiscation. And it was equally true that none of the promises had been kept.“—(N.Z. “Hansard,” 1879, Vol. 34, p. 864).
47 Supra, pp. 199, 200.
48 The Auckland “New Zealand Herald” said (27th Dec., 1879) with regard to these protestations: “Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect ministers to tell the truth in ‘Hansard,’ or to make known their intentions. They might indeed just as well … be frank, for they need not hope to take the Maoris by surprise.”
49 Vide p. 256.
51 In 1880, Tawhai justified his resignation in the House: “The manner in which Native Ministers (Fox and others) conducted affairs at Taranaki I can liken only to the conduct of an animal called the ‘fox,’ which proceeds stealthily to the hen-roost and steals the occupants thereof. The habits of that creature are so peculiar that in wreaking its purpose it will lie and feign death; and when the hen-roost is visited by one who knoweth not what is inside, immediately on the opening of the door the fox takes the opportunity of stealing out. That was what was done at Taranaki. The owners of the hen-roost are the Maoris and the poultry the land.”
52 “Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad.”—Ecclesiastes vii. 7.
54 He was no more the cause of the war than a man is the cause of his own death when another slays him. Te Rangitake was alive to be robbed just as a man is alive to be killed.
55 No tribute was paid to the bravery and strategy of Rangihiwinui in achieving this result. Rangihiwinui was under a cloud in 1880. There was a dispute about land at Murimotu, in the Wanganui district, and his conduct was said to be turbulent towards other Maoris. He was dismissed from the public service as Native Assessor and Land Purchase Agent. It was rumoured that he was about to join Te Whiti, and a newspaper remarked: “If this be true the position is extremely serious,” as it would lead to other defections and give Te Whiti “the best fighting Maori chief in the island.” It was not true, but the currency of such rumours indicated, the state of public feeling.
56 West Coast Commission, second report. Colonists were so accustomed to such occurrences that the commissioners were able to narrate these facts as if they were speaking of a dispute between a customer and a shopkeeper about a pound of tea.
57 McLean's speech in the House.
58 Of these negotiations the West Coast Commissioners said nothing in their report, though they mentioned that Parata informed his friends on the West Coast that it was “quite decided that all the land from Waingongoro to Taranaki was to be restored.”
59 There was a leaven of old malice. Mr. Scotland quoted (17th June, 1880) in the Council the following passage from a west coast newspaper (1879): “Perhaps, all things considered, the present difficulty will be one of the greatest blessings ever New Zealand experienced, for without doubt it will be a war of extermination… The time has come in our minds when New Zealand must strike for freedom, and this means the deathblow to the Maori race.” “Good heavens (cried Mr. Scotland, himself a Taranaki resident), a war of extermination a blessing! … That is only a specimen of the Taranaki press.”
60 The prisoners were arrested under a Malicious Injuries to Property Act. Their object had been to promote inquiry as to title to property. Many members admitted that to try them under the commitment was idle. Mr. Bowen (who had been Minister of Justice in the ministries of Vogel, Pollen, and Atkinson) said: “We all know perfectly well that they would have to be dismissed if they were brought to trial, (did anybody believe) that they were really arrested for the technical offence that could be charged against them?” (Mr. Bowen voted for Bryce's bill.) Dr. Pollen said in the Council: “Nobody pretends there has been any crime… I think it is a fraud of language to call them criminals at all.” Sir F. D. Bell said: “No one imagined for a single moment that a judge of the Supreme Court would have given any punishment under the provisions of the Malicious Injuries to Property Act.”—New Zealand “Hansard,” 1880.
61 Forty members paired. The fourteen present in the minority were Tawhai, Te Wheoro, Tomoana, Messrs, de Lautour, J. T. Fisher, Seymour George, Sir G. Grey, Messrs. Lundon, Montgomery, Seddon, Tole, Turnbull, Harris, and Hutchison. Mr. Macandrew, Mr. Pyke, Tainui, and seventeen others had paired with a like number of supporters of the bill.
63 Unconsciously he gave a picture of Parihaka. He had always said that the Maoris “did not intend to provoke hostilities”—but if they “induced armed men with guns in their hands, and those guns in many instances at full cock, to drive them off by violence, those acts would lead to hostilities, whether they were so intended or not.” Abroad it was studiously represented that the Maoris were turbulent and aggressive under Te Whiti. On the spot it was scarcely possible, and perhaps not thought worth while, to foster such a delusion. Mr. Bryce said, also: “I have always taken up the position that these Maoris do not intend to provoke hostilities.”
64 Mr. Sheehan, who voted for the third reading of the Prisoners Bill, after failing to incorporate in it an amendment to guarantee trial for the prisoners.
65 Subsequently Tawhai described the bill as a machine to place the land of the Maoris in the hands of others, and depriving the owners of a voice in the disposal. “Is there one member in this House, having daughters, who would place them in the hands of a company to provide husbands for them? That is what this bill does with regard to lands. It places them in the hands of a company—of a body of persons—to sell for us.”
66 Account was kept of payments made by the government. The Land Company received £3600. A sum of £3631 19s. 7d. was recorded as having been paid to Maoris—but Bryce said that the Maoris “declared they had never received” it. Survey, coach fares, travelling expenses, and various items swelled the total to more than £11,000. “I may say that many objectionable things seem to have been put down to Patetere… The rule seems to have been, when any payment was very doubtful to charge it to Patetere.” (Bryce's speech, New Zealand “Hansard,” 16th June, 1880.) “I despair of being able to make the House understand the terrible iniquity of the system which has been in vogue… Is it to be supposed that the Maori will not dispute the account, his signature to the contrary notwithstanding, seeing that he had not the goods charged against him.”
68 The “special jury” book was formed by taking from the general jury lists all men described as “esquires, gentlemen, merchants, managers of banks, civil engineers and architects, and also such other persons whose names appear on such lists (known to the sheriff) to be of the best condition, so as to make up such a number of special jurymen as (the Sheriff) shall consider to be necessary.”—N.Z. 44 Vict., No. 16, 1880.
69 The student of Victorian affairs must sigh to think that if Messrs. Higinbotham and Michie (the law officers) had not, with the assistance of M'Culloch, Francis, Verdon, and Grant, forced on a tack which was monstrous in comparison with the one avoided in New Zealand, long disputes between the two Houses in Victoria might have been avoided.
70 Some official telegrams from Colonel Roberts to Mr. Bryce showed that the so-called disturbances at this period were attempts to protect crops. The government, to the provocation of the Maoris, made roads through fields, breaking down fences in the way. On 9th June, 1880, Roberts telegraphed that they had “repaired one of the fences broken down when the road line was carried through the Parihaka clearings.” 11th June: “(They have) erected another fence, but I do not think it is in any way connected with blocking up the road, but simply as a divisional fence.” 16th June: “Gaps will be made through the fences to-day.” (The fences were pulled down and re-erected several times.) 28th June: “Te Whetu, Te Whiti's secretary, and another native, sent word that they wished to speak to me. I met them where the road is made through the fence. They asked me to put up a gate. I pointed out that a gate would not save the crops—suggested they should fence the road off. They said it was too much work and they could not do it… I agreed not to let the pigs into the sown paddock to-night and to report to you. I am of opinion they would be willing to fence the road off if we assisted. The men seem to be in a very reasonable and talkative mood, and if carefully treated would be willing to come to reasonable terms.” 15th July: “… Fence pulled down. Two natives came to put it up, stating that they did not want to stop the road, only to protect their crops. After a great deal of talk they asked if I would allow the fence to be put up high enough to keep out the pigs, and consented to have the fence in that state for the night. They are willing to put up a swing-gate… Please let me know if you will authorize such being done.” (Bryce telegraphed to Roberts, who told the Maoris that Bryce) “would only approve of a gate as a temporary measure until they had fenced the road off. Te Whetu said it was for us to fence, that he would not.” The Maori Prisoners Detention Act, 1880, being hurriedly passed (30th July) in the Lower House, Roberts, under Bryce's orders, arrested more than 200 Maoris without resistance. At last (12th Nov.) the harassed cultivators found out a middle way. They put up slip-rails, movable by travellers. Roberts having telegraphed for instructions was permitted to let the slip-rails remain. There was no more fencing, and the road-makers went on with their work. (House of Commons Paper, C. 3382, 1882).
72 N.Z. P.P. 1881; G. 7. Mr. Bryce's memorandum is dated 20th Dec., 1880.
73 There was much discussion as to Te Whiti's meaning. One learned commentator interpreted the phrase thus: “The hard tawa fruit is fast ripening.” Whatever the particular words might imply, Te Whiti's meaning might easily be gathered from his answer. What would he gain by discussing with invaders the morality of his conduct? They brought evil to his door. Why talk about it? Similarly he had said to Mr. Graham: “It is too late.”
74 The Governor in a brief despatch informed the Secretary of State that Mr. Bryce having “been unable to induce his colleagues to share his views has consequently retired from the Cabinet” A newspaper commenting on the resignation was transmitted with the dispatch. Mr. Bryce, unable to find fault with the despatch itself, grumbled in the House (17th June, 1881) at the enclosure.
76 See p. 215.
77 See them at p. 39 of this volume.
78 N. Z. P. P. 1882; A. 8. Whether Lord Kimberley was an accomplice or only a slave to the New Zealand plotters his friends may guess. He kept back the despatch till Te Whiti had been robbed, imprisoned, denied trial, and subjected to a Bill of Attainder in 1882. It was then laid before the New Zealand Assembly, copies were sent to England, and Lord Kimberley allowed it to go before Parliament. It is significant that the telegram quoted above from the New Zealand Parliamentary papers was excluded from those laid before the English Parliament. It is perhaps worthy of notice, also, that the English Blue-book [C. 3382], though marked as presented by command “Aug., 1882,” was not really issued to the members or the public until 2nd Nov., 1882. In fact, when asked by Sir M. Hicks-Beach for the papers in July, 1882, the ministry replied that they awaited papers to “complete the history of the transactions, and especially the bill for disposing of the trial of the chief Te Whiti.” Whether because they feared that the bill, if produced, would shock the House, or from some tortuous habit, the ministry did not include the bill in the Blue-book, although copies of it had been in England nearly three months. When men walk crookedly they leave a notable track behind them. What reason could be put forward to justify Kimberley's concealing from Parliament Hall's desire for concealment, and Kimberley's surreptitious acquiescence?
79 1894.—The Tarawera eruption of 1886 demolished the coveted sites and the weird and fairy-like charms of the Lake.
80 Vide Vol. II., p. 77 n.
81 Distrust of Sir G. Grey was Mr. Hall's protection. The former was ever setting class against class. During the session of 1881 he, Mr. Sheehan, and other members attended a public meeting to express sympathy with the Irish Land League, and with the efforts (murders, intimidations, houghing cattle, &c.) made by the Irish people “to obtain the right of occupying on just conditions the land on which they were born…
82 1894. In the first edition of this work this Parliamentary struggle was described in detail. In 1892 the ruling of the Chairman of 1881 was virtually cancelled. It was soon discovered to have been “erroneous,” but the record remained in the journals until 1891. In that year Mr. J. Bryce incurred some censure. His friends strove in 1892 to rescind the censure, and, after much discussion, all votes of “regret or censure” upon members—on Curtis in 1856, on Pyke in 1876, on Ormond in 1877, on Gisborne in 1881, on Vogel in 1887, and on Bryce in 1891—were “expunged from the journals” (9th Aug., 1892).