Mr. Secretary Cardwell and the Right of Petition.page break
There is a community of British subjects—"our own flesh and blood"—"fellow-Christians with ourselves"—living in Her Majesty's Province of Auckland, in the northern part of New Zealand, who have for years been treated by the Queen's Colonial Minister as if they had no claim on the protection of the Sovereign to whom they owe allegiance. Between the year 1853 and the present date no less than eight petitions have been presented to the Throne, and six to each House of Parliament from that province, praying for relief from the tyranny to which they have been subjected under a form of government inconsistent with the rights and free customs of British colonists. But a deaf ear has been turned to all their petitions. Had their blood circulated under a negro skin, or ad they been Maori flesh and blood, even of the most compound quality, they would not have wanted advocates, Philanthropists would have rejoiced to labour in their behalf, and their wrongs would long since have commanded the attention of the Government and of the Parliament. Had they suffered the wrongs of which they complain at the banda of persons invested with authority under the Government of a foreign nation the Foreign-office would at once have been put in motion, and the public voice would have been loud in demanding redress. But being neither negroes nor Maories, they have been left to be "evil entreated through tyrants" and these tyrants not being foreigners, but their own countrymen, they have pleaded for redress in vain.
That these are not mere fanciful or theoretical complaints let the following farts, which are selected from a host of others of a similar character, testify:—
In Sir George Grey's former a [ministration of New Zealand it suited his "policy" to dispossess about a hundred of the pioneers of British settlement in the Auckland Province of certain lands which they had purchased from the native owners under the authority of his predecessor in the Government, who had also pledged the national faith by a proclamation under the seal of the colony to confirm the titles thus acquired by a grant from the Crown, Amongst the persona who were thus dispossessed of their property were three widows For two of these no redress could be obtained, either through the local Legislature or by appeal to the Secretary of State; but the third was a Maori woman who had been married to a white man, one of the interpreters in the service of the Government, Her case was peculiar. Had she lived with the white man as his concubine her land would have been held sacred, under the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi, But being a page 4 lawful wife her land became the property of her husband and it consequently fared no better than other land which had passed from the native owners into the possession of British colonists, and had been seized and sold by the Government, Her case, however was brought under the notice of the Aboriginal Protection Society, and, though she did not obtain restitution, she received compensation in some other form through the representations of that society.
If it should seem to anyone an incredible thing that a British Governor, acting as the representative of our gracious Queen, should rob a poor widow with five young daughters of her land, all doubt upon the subject can be set at rest by an examination of the published proceedings of the Legislature of New Zealand, and by the Government Gazette of that colony. The Government Gazette of the 10th August, 1847, contains a notification that the title to 9 acres, 3 roods, and 25 poles of land claimed by the widow Forbes had been investigated and found valid by the Commissioner, and that a grant in confirmation of the same was in preparation. But she soon after received a printed letter informing her that a grant had been made out in her favour, the blank being filled up with 1 acre, 1 rood, and 35 poles, instead of 9 acres, 3 roods, and 25 poles, as reported by the Commissioner appointed by Sir George Grey to investigate such titles; and she was further informed that unless the fees upon the grant were paid within one month "the claim would be disallowed, the grant cancelled, and the Surveyor-General directed to take possession of the property." The rest of the land was divided into allotments, and sold by the Colonial Treasurer by public auction. In her memorial to the Legislative Council this widow stated that in order to pay for this plot of land which she was authorised by Governor Fitzroy to purchase from the native owners as a provision for herself and her seven children she had sold her watch and her trinkets, and she stated before a Committee of the Legislature that she had offered all the resistance in her power to the surveyors who were sent to subdivide her land by pulling up their marks.
Again it will be asked what motive could have induced Sir George Grey to act the part of Ahab towards this poor widow's little plot of land. The true motives of Governors as well as of other men are only known to the Searcher of Hearts, Nevertheless, it may be stated that at this time the colonising doctrines of Mr. Gibbon Wakefield were very generally credited in England, and that there was in the colony a very general impression that, backed by the vast Parliamentary influence of the New Zealand Company, that gentleman had power sufficient to make or unmake a Governor. It was also stated in the Provincial Council that the only explanation of "a transaction so atrocious" was Sir G. Grey's wish to convince the New Zealand Company that he was entirely devoted page 5 to their service. The Blue-books show that the powerful influence of this company was exerted to prevent the recognition of the titles of the first pioneers of British settlement in the north, and to prevent them from being left in possession of their lands even after their titles had been duly investigated and found valid. The company represented that to maintain those rights was an injury to their own settlers; and in one of his despatches Sir George Grey stated—" I feel, further, a great reluctance to be in any way concerned in inflicting upon the southern settlements the injury which I see is likely to overtake them "—that is, by fulfilling the contract entered into by his predecessor to confirm by a Crown grant the purchases he ad sanctioned.
These transactions are, indeed, of an old date, but they and transactions of a like nature are at the bottom of all the troubles which have afflicted New Zealand. But the same repudiation of the right of British colonists to the protection of their Sovereign has continued to the present day; while the claims of the Maories, even of those who had been engaged in the rebellion, but "whose guilt was of a less heinous character," have been fully admitted.
In a despatch to Sir George Grey, dated April 26th, 1864, Mr. Cardwell instructed him that no natives, not concerned in the rebellion, should be deprived of their land, unless "it is absolutely required for some purpose of defence or communication, or on similar grounds of necessity;" in which case he was to "retain to his own hands ample power of doing substantial justice to every class of [Maori] claimants for restitution or compensation." But he refused to interfere in behalf of colonists who had been dispossessed of their lands, even after those lands had been proved before a Legislative Commission to have been "acquired on equitable conditions"—on proof of which the faith of the Crown was pledged by a proclamation published in the name of Her Majesty to confirm the titles of the owners by "a grant to be made in Her Majesty's name and on her behalf."
The following correspondence has taken place between a Committee of Auckland Colonists now in London and the Colonial Secretary of State Some of these colonists are intimately acquainted with the transactions of the Government in New Zealand, and are qualified, by a residence of from twenty to more than thirty years in that country, to elucidate the questions which have made New Zealand "a puzzle" to the British public.
But in seeking for inquiry they labour under this disadvantage, that it is the prevailing idea in England that the colonists, being in possession of what is called self-government, have no need of the intervention of the Imperial Government and Legislature. Whereas, in fact, what they have most reason to complain of in the New Zealand Constitution Act is that, by page 6 its complicated provisions, self-government in any definite and intelligible meaning of the words is rendered impossible.
Let it be supposed, in illustration, that there existed in different parts of the British Islands six distinct municipalities, at distances from each other varying from 150 to 600 miles, each of which possessed the power or levying rates and taxes for local objects, and the other powers of self-government usually granted to municipalities; and let it be further supposed that the people constituting these municipalities had power to elect representatives who had authority to subject all the six municipalities to an equal rate of taxation (in addition to what each had power to levy for local objects) to be expended upon any purpose which the majority of these representatives might choose to designate general objects. Would such a preposterous institution be considered consistent with the self-government of any of the municipalities, or would it be tolerated for a single day? But such is the institution which has existed in New Zealand for thirteen years—where it is not only equally preposterous, but where it also enables the representatives of a majority to subject the minority to the dangers and losses of war, from which those who constitute that majority are themselves exempt.
The London Committee of the Auckland colonists are anxious to prove before a Committee of the British Parliament that their complaints are well grounded, and that the oppressions which they and their fellow-colonists in the Province of Auckland have suffered, and from which they have, almost to a man, petitioned to be delivered, are also the causes why so many precious lives have been sacrificed and so much British treasure wasted in New Zealand. In seeking redress for themselves they are also seeking to relieve the mother country from the recurrence of similar evils, and the national honour from being tarnished by an abuse of the functions of government disgraceful to a civilised community, They believe that a full investigation of the present system of colonial administration, as exemplified in New Zealand, might be the means of saving the British Empire from disruption, and of restoring the status of British colonists to what it was at no distant date, when the words "I am a British subject" were as sure a protection from oppression in all parts of the world as were the Civis Romanus sum in the best days of the old Roman Empire.
13th April, 1866.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you that the London Committee of the Northern Association of New Zealand have received from the Council of that association the enclosed memorandum and copy of Act of Assembly, which they desire page 7 the London Committee, therein referred to, to submit for your consideration,
In their correspondence with this Committee the Council of the association advert to the fact of the present Provincial Council of Auckland having been elected on the pledge of prosecuting their endeavours to obtain a separate Government for the province, independent of any interference or connection with the Southern colonies; and to the fact that the first action taken by the Provincial Council was the preparation of a petition to the Queen renewing their prayer for a measure which they consider essential to the peace and welfare of that province,
This Committee received a copy of the petition alluded to by the last mail; and by the present mail they have learned that on its meeting after adjournment the Provincial Council had agreed to a resolution that similar petitions should be prepared to both Houses of Parliament, to be forwarded respectively to Earl Russell and the Right Honourable W. E. Gladstone for presentation,
This Committee cannot refrain from renewing their solicitation that you would favour the appointment of a Parliamentary Committee to investigate the case of the colonists of Auckland, a precis of which is enclosed herewith. Looking at the extent of the business with which the House of Commons is occupied, this Committee propose, if possible, to obtain the consent of a member of the House of Lords to move for a Committee of that House, and they respectfully pray the consent of Her Majesty's Government to that proportion.
—I have, &c.,(Signed)
Wm. S. Grahame,Chairman, London Committee, The Right Honourable Edward Cardwell, M.P., &c.
Memorandum of the Council of the Northern Association, Auckland, New Zealand, transmitted to the London Committee for the purpose of being laid before Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The Council of the Northern Association of New Zealand request the attention of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to two Acts recently passed by the General Assembly of that colony, which it believes to have an important bearing on the subject of the separation of the islands into mutually independent colonies. The Acts referred to are the "Representtition Act, 1865," and the "Outlying Districts Police Act, 1865," of which latter a copy accompanies this.
By the former Act a majority of votes in the House of Representatives is given to the Southern Island. The latter page 8 Act, having been Introduced and passed through the Assembly by a Ministry representing Southern interests, may be taken to indicate the policy likely to be adopted by a Southern Government in relation to native affairs.
So far as the Council understands the provisions of the "Outlying Districts Police Act," it empowers the Government to confiscate land in any district where the natives fail to arrest any native suspected of being guilty of murder, &c, who shall be supposed to be harboured within such district. This Act was passed in opposition to the views of the Northern members, and, in the opinion of those who are likely to be well informed on the subject, it cannot be brought into operation in the Province of Auckland except at great risk to the widely-scattered settlers of that province.
The policy is now advocated in the South that war may at any time be carried on against the natives without cost to the Southern Island, and that the expense of native wars can be met by the confiscation of native land This Council believes such a policy to be most delusive and dangerous. The mere cost of military operations is no measure of the ruinous consequences to the Northern settlers of a protracted Maori war.
The objections made by his Grace the late Duke of Newcastle and by the Eight Hon. Mr. Cardwell to the "New Zealand Settlements Act, 1863," appear to the Council to be more cogently applicable to the" Outlying Districts Police Act, 1865."' Without pronouncing any opinion at present as to the necessity and suitableness of the former Act, this Council is convinced that the application of the policy now advocated in the South will by the natives be regarded "not as a punishment for rebellion and murder, but as a new and flagrant proof of the determination of the colonists to possess themselves of land at all risk to themselves, and at any cost."* And "as rendering permanently insecure the tenure of native property throughout the islands."†
The confidence of the natives has yet to be gained before a lasting peace can be established in the country. It is possible that by wise government the natives may be brought to see that they have a common interest with the settlers in the progress of the colony, and that their true wisdom is to make common cause with Europeans in developing the resources of the country, and, instead of relying on their own strength, to trust to the protection of the law. But no hope of a secure establishment of peace can be entertained so long as the natives regard the intentions of the Government with suspicion and distrust.
The Southern Island has now a majority of votes in both Houses of the General Assembly, It will be in the power of a Southern Ministry, notwithstanding the opposition of the repre- page 9 sentatives of the North, to force through the Assembly measures calculated to keep alive the suspicion of the natives, and thereby to render the restoration of mutual confidence between the two races impossible.
If Her Majesty's Government is not prepared to undertake the responsibility of establishing peace, order, and good government in the northern districts of New Zealand, the Northern settlers not unreasonably claim to be left to govern themselves, and to determine the policy of which they have to bear the cost and to reap the fruits. They are content to be left to rely upon themselves, and to live with their Maori neighbours as best they may; but they are not content to be at any moment embroiled with the natives by the people of another island, who are secure from personal danger, who avow their ignorance of native affairs, and who have comparatively little interest in the maintenance of peace.
That this Council may not be thought intrusive in submitting to the Secretary of State a question relating to the internal Policy of New Zealand, it begs to state that the members of the northern Association whom it represents have a very large stake in the country, and that they are especially interested in the successful colonisation of the Northern Island.
6th February, 1866.
26th April, 1866.
Sir,—I am directed by Mr. Secretary Cardwell to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant covering papers received by the London Committee of the Northern Association of New Zealand from the Council of that association, and proposing that a Committee of the House of Lords should he appointed to consider the petitions from the Province of Auckland to be erected into a separate Government.
Mr. Cardwell desires me to request that you will inform the Committee that their memorial has been transmitted to the Governor for his consideration, with the assistance of his advisers in the colony; but in the meantime Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to express an opinion favourable to any proceedings which might appear to indicate an intention of making organic changes in the Constitution of New Zealand not sanctioned by any expression of opinion on the part of the Government or of the Legislature of that colony.
—I am, &c,(Signed)
P.S.—Mr, Cardwell would he glad to be furnished with another copy of the pamphlet entitled "Precis of the Case of the Colonists of Auckland."
The Secretary to the London Committee of the Northern Association of New Zealand.
3d May. 1866.
Sir,—The London Committee of the Northern Association of New Zealand have read with much disappointment, and concern the letter which, by your directions, Sir Frederick Rogers has addressed to them, in reply to their letter of the 13th April last, in reference to the petitions from the Province of Auckland, praying for a separate Government for that province as essential to the peace and welfare of its inhabitants, and renewing the prayer of this Committee that Her Majesty's Government would favour the appointment of a Parliamentary Committee to investigate the grievances of which the colonists of Auckland have for so many years complained in their petitions to the Queen and Parliament; and they have observed with equal concern the reply which you are reported to have made in the House of Commons to a question put by Mr. Adderley in relation to the same subject.
Sir Frederic Rogers is "desired to inform this Committee that their memorial has been transmitted to the Governor for his consideration, with the assistance of his advisers in the colony, but that in the meantime Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to express an opinion favourable to any proceedings which might appear to indicate an intention of making organic changes in the Constitution of New Zealand, not sanctioned by any expression of opinion on the part of the Government or of the Legislature of that colony."
With all the respect which is due to your high office as Her Majesty's Minister for Colonial Affairs, this Committee on their own behalf, and in the name and on the behalf of their fellow-colonists of the Province of Auckland, most emphatically protest against such a mode of dealing with their petitions. One of the petitions which this Committee were requested to support was signed by no less than 9182 persons, comprising nearly every male adult of the British population of the province, which numbers less than 40,000 persons; another petition is from the Auckland Provincial Council, the local Legislature of that province; and a third is from the Auckland members of the General Assembly of the colony. This Committee respectfully insist upon the indefeasible right of all these petitioners to have their petitions considered by Her Majesty's supreme Government, on their own merits, and not upon the representations of persons who are avowedly "responsible Ministers"—not of the Crown—but of a majority of a House of Assembly who are not representatives of the petitioners or of their province, but of the colonists of other provinces who have interests separate from—not to say anta-gonistic to—theirs.
This Committee entirely repudiate the claim of such persons to interfere with the petitions of Her Majesty's subjects of the page 11 Province of Auckland in any shape, much less to dictate whether they shall be governed according to the Constitutional rights and free customs of British colonists, or in such form as may serve the ambitious aspirations of men from whose misgovernment the petitioners have already been made to suffer the most grievous injuries. To these men the colonists of Auckland owe no allegiance, and they are to a man determined no longer to submit to the dominion which they have been allowed to assume.
|1.||That by having become British colonists, Her Majesty's subjects of the Province of Auckland have not forfeited any of the Constitutional rights or privileges which are their birth right as members of the British Empire.|
|2.||That the colonists of Auckland have never been surpassed by any other portion of British subjects in loyalty to the Crown. They have not only been willing to provide a revenue, but have always in their petitions expressed themselves desirous of providing a revenue to maintain the Queen's Government in that province, if administered according to the ancient and approved precedents of colonial administration in settlements of British freemen, satisfied that such a government is alone consistent with the maintenance of their allegiance to the Crown, together with all such rights of self-government as are compatible with a due and necessary subordination to the supreme Government of the Empire; and also that such a government, if faithfully administered, is best calculated to maintain peace between them and their Maori fellow-subjects and to promote the well-being of both races.|
|3.||That, on the other hand, this Committee consider that the causes of complaint which have called forth from the Province of Auckland so many petitions for redress during the last thirteen years were of a character far more grave than those which drove the early American Provinces to rebellion. The latter rebelled against being taxed by a power to which they owed allegiance, and from which they received protection, The former have been subjected to taxation by persons not their representatives, to whom they could not owe allegiance and who were incapable of affording them protection.|
These and other grievances were partly the result of the anomalous Constitution of Government which was provided for the provinces of New Zealand by the Act of 15th and 16th Vict., Chap., and partly the result of the abdication by the Queen's Governor of the functions of government, undee the system which is called "Responsible Government."page 12
In illustration of these propositions, this Committee submit:—
|1.||That it was by an abuse of language that the Provinces of New Zealand have come to be designated as one colony, seeing that no colony of ancient or modern times was ever more distinct in all essential particulars from all other colonies than is each of the six colonies planted in the New Zealand Islands from all the rest.|
|2.||That the colony of Auckland, with which alone this Committee are concerned, was settled under the sanction of Her Majesty's Government, which could have no other object than the welfare of the colonists; while all the colonies to the south of the Province of Auckland were settled by a company of speculators whose object it was to make the welfare of the colonists subservient to their own personal ambition and self-aggrandisement.|
|3.||That such a Constitution of Government as was provided for the New Zealand Settlements, confederating six separate and distinct provinces, each with its own local Legislature, under what is called a General Government and General Legislature, with powers to override the legislation and government of the provincial authorities, is absolutely without precedent in the history of ancient or modern dependencies. Such a Government is, in fact, an imperium in imperio, having no legitimate functions, and being scarcely capable of action unless by usurping the functions of sovereignty on the one hand, or, on the other hand, by encroaching upon the right of the provincial authorities to deal with questions affecting the separate interests of their constituents.|
|4.||It is also worthy of consideration that the New Zealand Constitution Act was avowedly (see Hansard's Debates) a hurried and imperfect measure, passed when "Parliament was in a state of dissolution," and more or less unsatisfactory to every statesman who took part in the discussion. The following words may be cited from the speech of the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone :—" Concurrent jurisdictions, I must confess, are to me subjects of apprehension and alarm. A concurrent jurisdiction in the business of legislation means uncertainty, conflict, and confusion. The overriding of arrangements already made, under authority deemed competent, by extraneous power must ever lead to annoyance and angry feeling." But these and other obvious objections were overruled on the ground, artfully represented by the leaders of the New Zealand Company's Settlements, that those provisions of the Constitution which were deemed objectionable were in accordance with the wishes of the colonists; whereas the colonists of Auckland, page 13 who were equal in number to one-third of the whole British population ox the sis settlements, were never consulted in the matter, and their Provincial Council has consistently protested and petitioned against it from their first meeting to the present day.|
|5.||That the subsequent conduct and language of the leaders of the New Zealand Company's Settlements have made it plain that their object in obtaining such a Constitution was to create the most extensive possible machinery of government, in order to provide sufficient scope for their statesmanship as the founders and rulers of an infant nation, if not to make a profitable speculation of the offices and transactions of government—of which aspirations and speculations the miseries of war, of which the colonists of Auckland have been the victims, and the load of taxation and debt which threatens to overwhelm them, are the frnits.|
Secondly, with regard to the abuses of administration under which the colonists of Auckland have suffered, resulting from the system called "Responsible Government." This Committee will refer to no other example than what has occurred in relation to the petitions which form the subject of this communication. The Governor, in a public despatch addressed to your predecessor, and dated Auckland, January 5, 1865, stated his opinion, "that unless some such arrangement as is prayed for by the Provincial Council of Auckland is carried out, it will be impossible to bring to a satisfactory termination the difficulties prevailing in this country," But his "responsible advisers" having intervened with a minute couched in the following words :—"Ministers are of opinion that the division of New Zealand into two or three separate colonies would dwarf the political intellect of the colony, confining it to the consideration of narrow and personal interests," Sir George Grey chose to withhold or to suppress the full report which he had promised to forward by the next mail "upon the important question raised in the petition" (of the Provincial Council), Such a report might in all probability have relieved the colonists of Auckland from the burden of any longer affording the means of expanding the political intellect of the politicians of the New Zealand Company's Settlements, and from being made subservient to their ambition, at the expense of their own peace and prosperity. If, in withholding information upon a subject which involved the possibility of bringing to a satisfactory termination the difficulties prevailing in New Zealand, Sir George Grey may be considered to have betrayed the trust committed to him by the Queen's Commission, he only, in this as in other matters, fulfilled the requirements of what is called "Responsible Government," under which the Queen's Governor is made to disregard the obligations imposed upon him by his Commission and Instructions under the Queen's sign manual and signet, in order to become the tool of subordinate function page 14 aries whom it is his duty to make "aiding and obedient" to himself in the administration of the Queen's government.
Finally, in appealing to their rightful Sovereign against a Constitution ana administration of government which virtually makes them the subjects of a dominion incompatible with the dominion of Her Majesty, this Committee consider that the colonista of Auckland have sought to vindicate the sovereign rights of their Queen, as well as to procure the restoration of the Constitutional rights and privileges of which they themselves have been deprived. But to them it is more than a question of Constitutional rights—it is a question of life and death; for as matters now stand they may at any time be involved in a fresh war with their Maori fellow-subjects through the conduct of colonial politicians who are themselves removed by hundreds of miles from the consequences of such a misfortune, All which is very respectfully submitted by your most obedient humble servants, the London Committee of the Northern Association of New Zealand,
John C. Blackett.
W. K. Graham.
Wm. S. Grahame.
The Right Honourable Edward Card well, M.P., Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies.
15th May, 1866.
Received 24th May.
Sir,—I am directed by Mr, Secretary Cardwell to acknowledge the receipt of the letter signed by yourself and other members of the London Committee of the Northern Association of Auckland, and dated the 3d instant, with reference to the creation of the province of Auckland into a separate Government.
It is with regret that Mr. Cardwell has read the language which you have used respecting the Government and Legislature of New Zealand, whose authority you appear to repudiate; and he cannot but express his surprise that you should write as though you had forgotten that this Government and Legislature exist under the provisions of Acts of the Imperial Parliament.
I am to add that Mr. Cardwell has seen no reason to change the opinion which has already been conveyed to you by his desire.
—I am, &c.,
W. E. Forster.To James Busby, Esq.
29th May, 1866.
Sir,—The London Committee of the Northern Association of New Zealand have the honour to acknowledge the receipt (on the 24th instant) of Mr. Forster's letter of the 15th instant, in which they are informed, by your direction, that "it is with regret you have read the language this Committee have used respecting the Government and Legislature of New Zealand, whose authority we appear to repudiate;" and that you "cannot but express your surprise that we should write as though we had forgotten that the Government and Legislature exist under the provisions of Acts of the Imperial Parliament:" and further, "that you can see no reason to change the opinions which have already been conveyed to us by your desire.
While expressing their extreme regret that you should have arrived at such conclusions, this Committee think it necessary, in justification of what they have written, to submit that they had no intention to repudiate the lawful authority of the Government and Legislature of New Zealand; and that they were not unmindful that that Government and Legislature exist under the provisions of Acts of the Imperial Parliament. But they hope to be excused for doubting whether the action of that Government, of which they complain, can be justified by any provision contained in any Act of the Imperial Parliament relating to New Zealand, or in any other Imperial statute.
They have been unable to find any provision authorising Sir George Grey to delegate his functions as Governor to any junto of the Queen's subjects who may have influence enough to sway the votes of a majority of the House of Representatives. They consider that such a delegation (even subject to the limitation that it shall not include what are loosely called "Imperial interests,") whether under the pretext of making the subordinate functionaries of the Local Government responsible to a majority of the House of Representatives, or under any other pretext, is a violation of the trust committed to the Governor by the Queen' Commission and Instructions under her Royal sign manual and signet, and equally incompatible with his duty to the Crown, and to such of Her Majesty's subjects as live under his government, and are entitled to the Queen's protection. They accordingly considered that in protesting against being subject to such an abuse of government, they were manifesting their loyalty to the Crown, and their regard for the law.
This Committee believe that every Act of Parliament is intended for the benefit and protection of such of Her Majesty's subjects as are affected by it; and they also believe in the page 16 disposition of the Legislature to amend any statute which may have failed in its object and may have become a source of injury and oppression to any class of the Queen's subjects, instead of a provision for their benefit and protection. In this belief the colonists of Auckland have, during the last thirteen years, continued to petition the Imperial Legislature for such on alteration in the Constitution as would accomplish in their behalf the true objects of government; and this Committee, considering that their petitions have been overlooked for so long a period, think they may be excused if they have urged, even with vehemence, an inquiry into the causes of the disorganisation and rebellion under which the petitioners have suffered.
John C. Blackett.
W. K. Graham.
Wm. S. Grahame.
The Right Honourable Edward Cardwell, M.P., Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies.
* Despatch of Duke of Newcastle, November 26, 1863.
† Despatch of Mr. Cardwell, April 26, 1864.