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

No. 38. — Copy of a Despatch from the Right Hon. Earl Grey to Lieutenant-Governor Grey

No. 38.
Copy of a Despatch from the Right Hon. Earl Grey to Lieutenant-Governor Grey.

Auckland.Military Force requisite.


Downing-street, 24th; November 1846.

I have had the honour of receiving your despatches of the dates and numbers noted in the margin, and in which, after giving an account of the events which have recently taken place in New Zealand, you state that a military force considerably larger than that which is now stationed there will in your opinion for some years to come be required to guard against the recurrence of petty but expensive wars with the Native tribes, and that you consider not less than 2,500 men to be necessary for this purpose.

I have too much reliance upon your judgment to doubt that you have good grounds for your demand for this large increase of force, and therefore, though the no less urgent demands from various other quarters for the services of Her Majesty's troop render it a matter of some difficulty, measures will immediately be adopted for supplying, with no more delay than is inevitable, the additional troops you have called for. It will not, however, be in the powerof Her Majesty's Government to supply the whole of this reinforcement from the regular army. A part of it will consist of a force of a different description to be formed for the purpose, as to which in another despatch of this date you will find all necessary information. This force will be designated as the Royal New Zealand Fencibles, will consist of about 500 men, and will be sent direct from this country to Auckland. The additional regular troops to be employed in New Zealand will be 900 men from the regiments now serving in New South Wales. Orders will be sent at the same time with this, despatch to the Governor and page 44to the Lieutenant-General Commanding in that colony to forward to Wellington with the least practicable delay detachments of the above strength, for whose reception you will therefore lose no time in making the best preparations in your power by taking measures to provide them upon their arrival with the necessary supplies, and with such quarters as you can obtain at the different places at which you may consider it most advisable that they should be stationed. By the above arrangement, as detailed in the margin (now in New Zealand, according to the last returns. 1,100; from New South Wales 900; New Zealand Fencibles, 500: total, 2,500), the amount of force you have named as being required will for the present be provided; but you will not fail to recollect that it is impossible permanently to keep so many as 2,000 men of Her Majesty's regular army in New Zealand without very great inconvenience. I have therefore to instruct you to direct your most serious attention to the means which should be adopted to enable you as soon as possible to dispense with a portion or this force. With that view the formation of a well-organized Militia, and of a force composed of Natives in the service of Her Majesty would appear to be the measures most likely to be successfully adopted.

I have &c;

Lieutenant- Governor Grey, &c. Grey