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An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

No. 32. — Copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Grey to Lord Stanley

No. 32.
Copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Grey to Lord Stanley.

Auckland.Regulation of Arms Ordinance.

My Lord,—

Government House, Auckland, 13th December 1845.

I have the honour to transmit, in order that Her Majesty's pleasure may be taken thereon, an ordinance, which I have enacted with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council of this colony (No. 1, Session VI.), entitled "An Ordinance to empower the Governor to regulate the Importation and Sale of Arms, Ammunition, and Gunpowder.

This ordinance confers, upon the Governor of New Zealand the power of regulating by Proclamation everything relating to importation and sale of warlike stores. I have yet only exercised this power to the extent of directing that no gunpowder or munitions of war should be imported at Auckland; but I am now, with the advice of my legal adviser, preparing a Proclamation winch will, for the present, prevent both the importation and sale of gunpowder and other warlike stores, except under those regulations which the circumstances of the colony appear to me absolutely to require. I will not fail to forward to your Lordship a copy of this Proclamation as soon as it is issued, and your Lordship may rely that I will promulgate it and enforce its provisions in such a manner as to give the least offence, and to create the least possible apprehension in the minds of the Natives; whilst they shall 'at the same time clearly see that I am both able and willing, if any necessity should arise; to enforce their observance of it.

In proof of the necessity of the immediate adoption of some such measure as that which I have the honour to enclose, I beg to state that the Natives are at this moment carrying on a war amongst themselves within twenty miles of Auckland, regarding a dispute relating to a piece of land j and that a report has just been sent to me that three have been killed upon one side and one upon the other, besides a large number who have been severely wounded. Your Lordship may, moreover, depend that, from the system which has been here adopted of allowing the Natives to sell their lands to Europeans upon the payment; to the Government of 1 d. per acre, their cupidity and love of immediate gain have beenso strongly excited that numerous and bloody disputes will take place amongst themselves regarding their lands, until it is thoroughly understood that this system will not for the future be permitted by the Government. I beg further to state that our own forces have necessarily been disheartened by seeing that the rebels purchased through their friends openly in the shops of Auckland, and throughout the colony, whenever they pleased, the arms and ammunition which were immediately afterwards employed against our troops in the field. I understand that such large supplies of ammunition have been procured by the. Natives within the last six months in exchange for kauri gum that a long period of time must elapse before the effect of the measures I am adopting will be perceptible; but I trust that their ultimate result will be a gradual disarming of a large portion of the Native race and the permanent establishment of peace and tranquillity throughout the country.

Some of the members of the late Government stated in their place in Council that the reason why some restrictions were not at an earlier period placed upon the sale of gunpowder and warlike stores, by which so large a loss of life as has already taken place and will probably yet take place amongst our own forces might have been prevented was the knowledge they possessed that such measures mighthave excited, evil-disposed Natives to acts of violence and outrage, which the Government had no means its disposal of controlling or preventing; and which might have been more disastrous than the events which have resulted from permitting the sale of gunpowder and warlike stores.

I have, &c.,

G. Grey.

The Right Hon, Lord Stanley, &c.