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Notes on Sir William Martin's Pamphlet Entitled the Taranaki Question

Page 28

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Page 28.

"The Natives also have understood."…………

The Natives have understood this because they have been told so by Europeans. It is one of the most serious embarassments against which the Government has to contend, that publications such as those which the Bishop of New Zealand, the Bishop of Wellington, Archdeacon Hadfield, and now Sir William Martin have put forth, lend the Natives to believe that the Governor has initiated a new course of policy which will end in wresting their lands from them and subverting the rights they possess under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Governor has made many declarations to the Natives that their lands would not be interfered with. He published a circular letter to the Southern Chiefs in April, 1860, which was extensively circulated. He wrote to Waikato to the same effect. He specially renewed to all the Chiefs, in a message to the Conference at Kohimarama, the solemn assurances so often given in the Queen's name, that the Treaty of Waitangi should be faithfully maintained. More recently he conveyed to the Bishop of New Zealand the assurance, that the Government does recognise to the fullest extent all lawful rights of Chief and Tribe which have been recognised by former Governments, or have ever been understood to exist.

If these repeated declarations are disbelieved by the Natives, if they "regard the Governor's words as involving a declaration of war (sooner or later) against all the Chiefs and all the tribes who may not be willing to submit to this sudden and sweeping revolution in their social state," it is because the course taken by the Governor in resisting at Taranaki the dictation of a Land League to destroy rights which have existed for sixteen years, has been misrepresented as being a new system of land purchase, aiming at the spoliation of Native lands.

It is always an embarassment to a Government that such misrepresentations should exist, even when circulated by persons whom it may not be worth while to notice. Sanctioned by the-high authority of Sir W. Martin, they really become a public danger.