Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The War in New Zealand.

Note B

Note B.

"Further papers on the affairs of New Zealand" have recently been laid on the tables of the Houses of Parliament. They contain the correspondence between Governor Grey and General Cameron, which had reached me in the papers of the Colonial Parliament, and several despatches from Mr. Cardwell to Sir George Grey, and other documents later than those I had seen when these pages went to press. There is nothing, however, in them to alter anything which I have written. Mr. Cardwell still continues to regard the "bitter personal controversy" between the "two able and distinguished men" from the same point of view—that is, simply in reference to its bearings on the "public service," and the great official scandal which it involves. The idea has not yet presented itself to his mind that the colony of New Zealand has been nearly ruined by it; that the vast expenditure going on while page 265these gentlemen were quarrelling, has been utterly thrown away; and that in consequence the colony has as strong a claim as ever was raised to consideration, not to say actual compensation, at the hands of the Home Government, for the injury inflicted on it by the acts of the Governor and General. Mr. Cardwell thinks that the "time has arrived for putting an end to this painful chapter" and to the "painful disputes" between Sir George Grey and the General; but I cannot believe that the colony will submit, at least without remonstrance, to have the subject disposed of in this summary manner, without the smallest regard being paid to its interests in the question.

In reference to the financial question, Mr. Cardwell gives prominence in one of his despatches, to the fact that the colony refused the guarantee offered by him for a million of the loan which the Colonial Parliament authorized in 1863. It is necessary to offer a word in explanation. The colony having estimated its probable requirements at 3,000,000l., to enable it to co-operate with her Majesty's Government in suppressing the rebellion, asked the Home Government to guarantee a loan to that amount; without which it was certain it could not be raised, or at all events only on ruinous terms. Mr. Cardwell agreed to guarantee 1,000,000l., "on conditions," the first of which was, that upwards of 560,000l. of it should be immediately paid over to the Home Government, in satisfaction of an existing, and in part disputed, debt to the Imperial Government. The result would have been, that the colony would have received the guarantee to a little over 400,000l., or about page 266one-seventh part of what it required towards suppressing the rebellion! To have accepted such an offer would have been as derogatory to the colony as it was to the Home Government to make it. And setting aside any idea of that sort, it would have been practically of no perceptible value. That is simply why it was refused; but we do feel that it was an act of extreme hardness to attempt to screw this 560,000l. out of the colony at such a crisis in its fate, and such a day of its necessities. The colony, however, though declining the guarantee on those terms, has sent to the Home Government 500,000l. of debentures, expressing a hope that they would be accepted at par; a value which could at any time be given them in the market by the guarantee of the Imperial Government. That Government, however, refuses to receive them, except at their value depreciated by existing circumstances, and as a collateral security, which they hold with power to sacrifice at any discount, at their pleasure. This explanation will, I think, make it apparent that the offer of a guarantee of one million was not capriciously refused; and that such refusal ought not to be any bar to the favourable consideration of the colony's claims to such reasonable aid as may enable it to carry into effect its bonâ fide intention of relieving the Home Government from contributing any further military assistance towards the termination of the present struggle, so long protracted in consequence of the inefficiency and the quarrels of officers of the Imperial Government.