Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

England and the Maori Wars

Chapter 11 — Governor v. General

page 250

Chapter 11
Governor v. General

With the bitterness of the struggle greatly accentuated by the rise of the Hauhau fanaticism, the sharp difference of opinion between Grey and Cameron, which developed into open controversy, was disastrous.

The Aborigines Protection Society published in its journal a letter dated February 4, 1865, written by an officer from Headquarters, New Zealand: “Here we are in the field again! Everyone is heartily sick of it, from the General downwards. How long are the people at home going to allow this to go on? If they depend on the Governor they are placing confidence in a broken reed, for it is apparent to every one here that he is seeking popularity among the colonists by retaining the troops, and will not allow a single man to go out of this island unless he is ordered unconditionally and unreservedly to do so. So long as he has ten regiments at his entire disposal he is a great man; but directly he allows them to go, he is shorn of all his splendour and greatness, and sinks down to the comparatively insignificant level of a constitutional Governor, with all power lodged in the hands of his responsible ministers.” The officer strongly criticized the attempt made to purchase the Waitotara block.

On February 7 General Cameron wrote to the War Office: “I find my health so much impaired by the arduous and harassing duties which have devolved upon me since the commencement of the war and particularly by the great heat of the last two summers, which I have passed under canvas in the field, that I consider myself no longer justified in retaining so important a command.”1 The campaign was strenuous, but Cameron's sickness was probably more than physical. It must have been galling for one who had commanded the 42nd Highlanders at the Battle of Alma and the Highland Brigade

1 W.O. 33/16.

page 251 at Balaclava to be forced by an uneasy conscience to win from the Maoris the title of the “Lame Seagull.” On January 28, in a private letter to Grey, he expressed the opinion that the war was being carried on for the profit and gratification of the colonists.

This led Grey to write the following memorandum to his ministers on March 4: “The Governor, hearing that an impression prevails in some quarters that the present war is carried on for the profit and gratification of the colonists, trusts that his responsible advisers will in all instances, whether in recommending measures for the Governor's adoption or acquiescing in those he may recommend, make such a full and explicit statement of the objects they have in view and of the reasons on which the proceedings they advocate are based, that no misunderstanding can take place in the minds of just and unprejudiced persons regarding the propriety and necessity of the course which may be adopted.”1 In their memorandum in reply, signed by F. A. Weld on March 20, ministers said they could not but admit “that it would have been for ‘the profit’ of the colonists if the Lieutenant-General Commanding had found it possible by vigorous action so to carry on war in the headquarters of fanaticism as to have ensured submission and thus put a stop to a rebellion which had incalculably retarded the progress of New Zealand.”1

Cameron wrote to Grey on May 3: “Sir, I was much surprised at seeing in one of the local newspapers a memorandum by Your Excellency to Ministers, dated 4th March, in which you thought proper to quote certain expressions contained in a private letter from me to Your Excellency of the 28th of January last. The memorandum of Ministers in reply, which is a personal attack upon myself, shows that they were fully aware of the person to whom your memorandum was intended to refer and that they fully understood the object you had in view in sending them that memorandum. I intend to forward copies of these memoranda for the information of Her Majesty's Government that they may know what Your Excellency, in concert with the Colonial Ministers, was doing behind my back, whilst I was engaged in operations in the field.”

1 W.O. 33/16.

1 W.O. 33/16.

page 252

In forwarding the memoranda to the War Office on May 7, Cameron wrote: “I am aware that, as Sir George Grey and myself are public officers, our private letters are so far public documents as that they are liable to be produced before the Government we are both serving; but I conceive that he made a most unfair and unauthorized use of my letter in quoting it in a memorandum addressed to the Colonial Ministers, apparently with the intention of prejudicing them against me, and exciting an ill-feeling against me in the colony generally, which, though it can be of little concern to me personally, yet, as I command the troops in the colony, cannot but be injurious to the public service. It appears to me very important that Her Majesty's Government should express their opinion upon the proceedings of Sir George Grey, as no British officer will willingly retain command for a single day in a colony, where his private letters to the Governor are liable to be used against him for the purpose for which they have been used against me by Sir George Grey.”1

In his reply to Sir George Grey's despatch of April 27, in which the Governor traversed the General's criticism of his (Grey's) actions, Cameron wrote: “Of the value of Sir George Grey's former services, to which he appeals, Her Majesty's Government must be fully cognizant. I have no doubt they must have been meritorious, and I only wish it was in my power to say that I had always received from him the cordial sympathy and straightforward support which an officer in command of Her Majesty's troops might have expected from a Governor in the circumstances of this colony.… I cannot conclude without observing that it was scarcely wise of Sir George Grey to undertake to depreciate my services, whatever may have been their real merit; for it should be remembered that all his political measures, from the first moment of his arrival in the Colony to the present day—namely, his native institutions, his cession of the Waitara block, his blockhouse on the Waikato, his native newspaper, his scheme of military settlements, his treatment of the Rangiriri prisoners, his proclamations, etc., etc., have signally failed; and I believe that the present distrust which the natives entertain towards

1 W.O. 33/16.

page 253 him is now one of the chief obstacles in the establishment of a permanent peace in the country.”1

Cameron had written in a letter to Grey of March 30 (to “My dear Sir George”): “What is it to Mr. Mantell2 or to any other Colonial Minister how many British officers and soldiers we lose in any operation they recommend, so long as the policy they advocate is carried out? And I confess that this is a point which, it appears to me, has never sufficiently entered into your calculations, for I remember your wish that I should attack the pa at Paparata, and I have reason to believe that you were of opinion that I ought to have attacked the pa at Mere Mere and Paterangi, and that you and the Colonial Government were as much disappointed on those occasions as you appear to be in respect of the Weraroa Pa. For my own part, I have a great responsibility in this matter; and, having already lost a great many valuable officers and men in attacking pas, I think I may be excused if I am somewhat cautious in undertaking operations of that description without the most absolute necessity. At all events I consider it my duty whenever you propose to me an operation which I think likely to be attended with serious loss, to let you know my opinion, and leave it to you to decide whether the political object to be gained is worth the cost.” This letter brought a rejoinder of Sir George Grey, dated April 17, and beginning “Sir,” which expressed the view that he could not continue private correspondence with the General.3

The Wellington correspondent of The Times in a despatch dated March 14, published on May 16, 1865, referred to the Wanganui-Taranaki campaign: “General Cameron has a European reputation, but, however fitted for the style of warfare to which his long lifetime has been devoted, the stern logic of experience proves that he is not the man for such warfare

1 W.O. 33/16.

2 W. B. D. Mantell was Minister of Native Affairs. He resigned as a result of Cameron's comments. See below, p. 265. Cf. Rusden, History of New Zealand, II, 293: “The General was unhappy in singling out Mr. Mantell for reporbation. His voice and pen were often used more eloquently than the General's in demanding justice for the Maoris.”

3 W.O. 33/16. The whole of the correspondence between Grey and Cameron is in C.O. 209, 189.

page 254 as he is now engaged in. His advanced age, if it does not dull the power to conceive, prevents him from adopting movements that require the energy of a younger frame personally to carry out, and, if this wretched war is ever to be thoroughly crushed, if the British power is speedily to regain its prestige, the task of doing so will have to be entrusted to other guidance.”

The Times wrote on June 23: “For the first time for a long period we have offical information from that disturbed settlement of our cause being actively espoused by friendly natives, of debt adjusted, and troops recalled…. A more decisive success appears to have been achieved by a skilful employment of the friendly natives than by all our dearly-bought military achievements.”

In a letter from the camp at Te Awamutu on May 28, 1865, Brigadier-General G. J. Carey described the submission to him, on the previous day, of William Thompson. This event was of more significance than the taking of many abandoned pas. That it occurred at this early date confirms the belief that the great Maori leader's heart was never really in the war and that it was only tactless treatment which forced him to take up arms.

On June 7, 1865, Gamble wrote in his regular report to the War Office: “It will, of course, have been expected that the five regiments (65th, 70th, 68th, 43rd and 40th) ordered to return to England (in compliance with the expressed wishes of the Colonial Government), or some of them, are in course of embarkation by this time. The present Colonial Ministry, when initiating their policy, of which one of the leading features was to rely for the defence of the country on their own resources, spoke very confidently of their desire and ability to dispense with Her Majesty's troops, and they seemed to be so much in earnest that the delay necessary for communicating with England appeared to be the only obstacle to the immediate gratification of their wishes. It is now, however, a month since the Lieutenant-General received the instructions of Her Majesty's Government for the withdrawal of five regiments at his discretion, but a strong protest received from His Excellency the Governor against any immediate reduction of the force, has placed it out of the Lieutenant-General's power to page 255 carry out those instructions. There can be no doubt that if the duties of the Imperial troops happened to have been limited to the defence of the main European settlements, or if the Colonial Government, when deciding on an extensive plan of confiscation, had at the same time made preparations to relieve the Imperial troops in those posts of occupation where they are holding territory on which there are no settlers to place, considerable reduction of the force would have been practicable. At the time, however, when the Colonial Government were declaring their intentions to carry out their policy without the aid of Imperial troops, they were advisedly advocating operations in the south, which must, of necessity (if nothing worse), lead to the detention of the troops with whom they professed their desire to dispense; and there can be no resasonable doubt that but for these operations a part of the force would now have been on its way to, if not arrived in, England. Now His Excellency has formally protested against any reduction, which he considers would be ill-timed, when the natives appear disposed to submit, and the Lieutenant-General has been obliged under these circumstances, to postpone the embarkation of the 65th and 70th Regiments, which he had hoped to order.”1

On May 26 Cameron wrote to Grey: “I can see no reason to expect that the natives will ever make a formal submission; and I think that all we can hope for is that the punishment we have inflicted on some of the rebel natives will induce the others to remain quiet for the future.” On June 10 Cameron declined to supply Grey with copies of certain despatches he had sent to the Secretary of State for War. In reply to Grey's protest he wrote on June 12: “Looking at the spirit which has actuated your Excellency's proceedings towards me during the last three months, it is a matter of no surprise or concern to me what construction your Excellency is pleased to place on my actions.”2 On July 7, in consequence of a dispute as to the power of the Governor to give orders to Colonel Warre, O.C. at New Plymouth, who was acting as Government Agent, Cameron informed Grey that he could not allow Warre or any other officer under his command to act as a Government Agent.

1 W.O. 33/16.

2 Ibid., p. 418.

page 256 The “grave displeasure” of H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, at Warre's action in taking orders from Grey to the subversion of Cameron's authority, was expressed in a letter to Cameron from the Military Secretary to the Horse Guards on September 26. Warre was directed to apologize.

Military expenditure in New Zealand for the month of June 1865, was estimated roughly by Commissary-General Jones at £80,539, regimental pay accounted for £22,298, general staff pay £639, commissariat staff pay £1,701, provisions £23,226, forage £12,663, and transport £4,989.

Major von Tempsky, leader of the Forest Rangers, writing from “opposite Weraroa” on June 24, protested against the interference of Imperial officers with the plan to attack Weraroa with colonial troops and friendly natives, and tendered his resignation of his command.1

Cameron, in a report to the Secretary of State for War, dated July 5, wrote: “The unpleasant relations existing between the Governor and myself rendered it advisable that all occasion of unnecessary correspondence between us should be avoided.”2 On July 6 Grey wrote concerning Cameron's allegation that Grey was responsible for the loss of the three best months of the year in the operations contemplated in the Wanganui district, “for the confiscation and occupation of territory.” He dealt also with Cameron's failure to attack Weraroa Pa. “The plea,” he wrote, “of not attacking an entrenchment occupied by only about 250 natives, without artillery and badly armed, within a few miles of a British settlement, upon account of the winter season, is in a climate such as this difficult to understand.… The natives themselves do not ever think of going into winter quarters. As you will find from other letters, the fanatics are using this interval of absolute inactivity on our part to attack our allies on the East Coast, and will, I have reason to fear, involve us in another war.”

On July 13 Grey reported that his advisers had decided to resign as soon as the Assembly met owing to “the line of proceeding followed by the General in Command of the Forces.” The resignation was later withdrawn. Ministers in a memorandum stated that “it is clear that so long as the Im-

1 C.O. 209, 191.

2 Ibid., 194.

page 256a
Tauranga In 1864 A sketch by Brigadier-General Carey, showing the camps of the 43rd and 68th Regiments, published in the Illustrated London News

Tauranga In 1864
A sketch by Brigadier-General Carey, showing the camps of the 43rd and 68th Regiments, published in
the Illustrated London News

page 257 perial Forces remain in New Zealand the colony is and will be precluded from exercising that control over measures essential to its defence and safety, the attainment of which was one of their main objects in assuming office. The Imperial Government issues instructions to the Lieut.-General investing him with an absolute discretion to retain or withdraw the Imperial Forces. The Lieut.-General influences, if he does not guide, the mind of the Imperial Government, by secret communications conveying hostile criticisms of the policy and imputations of the motives of the Colonial Government, and when called upon for explanations or for information, refuses to afford either.… In the actual conduct of the operations in the field, not merely have the instructions given by His Excellency to the General been disregarded, but the efforts of the colony to bring the war to a close by the capture of the Weraroa Pa, the centre and focus of disaffection (as admitted by high military authority), have been frustrated by military interference.”1
On July 26 Lord de Grey and Ripon wrote to Sir D. Cameron from the War Office expressing regret at the differences which had arisen between the General and Sir George Grey. “It is with great pain,” he wrote, “that I have learnt that you consider you have grounds for complaining that Sir George Grey has made a use of your letters to him which you did not intend to authorize, and which you regard as having been unfair towards you and calculated to prejudice the Colonial ministers against you. Irrespectively of the scrupulous care which ought always to be observed when public documents are founded upon private communications, it is evident that the publication of such minutes as those of Sir George Grey and his ministers in the Colonial newspapers could not but impair the influence of the officer commanding Her Majesty's troops in the Colony of New Zealand, and that nothing short of absolute necessity could therefore justify such a publication. Sir George Grey appears to have concluded from your expressions that your private letter to him had been sent home officially, but this impression, if it existed in his mind, was erroneous.” As Cameron had applied for leave to return home, the Secretary of State did not pursue “this painful subject,” merely forward-

1 C.O. 209, 191.

page 258 ing a copy of the despatch which Mr. Cardwell had transmitted to Sir George Grey by the same mail.1

In this despatch, also dated July 26, the Secretary of State for the Colonies wrote: “It is impossible to read without profound regret that which has passed between yourself and General Cameron and to see that in the midst of difficulties and dangers like those by which you have been surrounded, it has not been possible for two very able and distinguished men filling positions of great responsibility and importance to maintain unbroken those friendly and confidential relations with each other which, in such circumstances, are so essential for the public good. It now appears that the real origin of that difference has been an opinion on the part of yourself and your ministers that after the Waikato Tribes had been reduced the safety of the Southern Settlements required that the tribes between Taranaki and Whanganui, who were amongst the most guilty of all the tribes and that in a great measure without cause, should also be reduced to submission, while, on the contrary, General Cameron has considered it undesirable to recommence hostilities, has thought it inexpedient to enter upon any further aggressive operations—has regarded it as necessary to consolidate what we had got, and especially has objected to your employing the troops in aggressive operations in the manner you have desired in the neighbourhood of Taranaki. It is painfully evident that two campaigns have been more than enough of a contest in which ten thousand of the Queen's troops, aided by a Colonial force sometimes nearly equal in number, have been engaged in war against a body of natives, never exceeding, as you have led me to understand, more than 2,000 in number at one time.”

On July 21 The Times wrote: “Our own correspondent tells us much of discord believed to exist between the Governor and Commander of the Forces, of a precipitate retreat of Sir George Grey to the island of Kawau, in order to avoid an interview with the General who shares his cares and responsibilities, and of a total change of opinion and feeling on the part of Sir Duncan Cameron, who, having begun the war with the determination to bring the natives to reason by the most

1 W.O. 33/16.

page 259 stringent military measures, has now, we are told, changed his opinion, and become a convert to the policy of inaction.” The Times refused to credit Grey's desire to avoid an interview and Cameron's belief that inaction was justified because he considered the war unrighteous.

Referring to the dispute between the two on August 17, The Times said: “It is sufficiently provoking that this quarrel should be added to all our other difficulties.” In the same article the surrender of William Thompson was welcomed as that of “a man who is always on the winning side.” “William Thompson,” the article stated, “has always appeared to us somewhat of a trimmer.” To call him a realist would perhaps be more fair. The King-maker had a shrewd idea of the limitations of Maori power.

The Times published on August 16 Weld's memorandum of April 8, which, according to its Wellington correspondent, was “nothing more or less than a dismissal of the General so far as the Ministry is concerned.”

In his journal of July 7, 1865, Gamble expressed the view that the natives would quietly give up Weraroa Pa, “for the surrender of which they have negotiated more than once.” On August 2 he wrote: “The pa is now in our possession; but the circumstances attending its fall are unique in the annals even of New Zealand warfare, with all its peculiar characteristics, military and political.… The natives in the pa were informed by a native messenger of the submission of William Thompson, and that several Ngatiruanui and Te Ua (the ‘Pai Marire’ priest) had had an interview with Mr. Parris and were inclined for peace. The native who communicated this to them was well received, and reported that the Weraroa natives were disposed for peace, but they wrote back: ‘Come and take away your soldiers from the coast, and then we shall know you mean it to be a true peace. We will then come and talk with you.’ On June 23 Brigadier-General Waddy informed them by letter that the troops would not be withdrawn. That if they (the rebels) wished for peace, as they said, the chiefs must come and see him and the pa must be given up. Soon after the letter was received, a white flag was hoisted on the pa, and they were talking over the matter when the native contingent and page 260 some other friendly natives came in sight of the place. The rebels called out ‘Here is a war party coming on us,’ and the white flag was taken down. The native messenger, Kereti, was in the pa at the time. On the 24th the rebels and friendlies had a long talk, which, however, resulted in nothing. When Lieutenant-Colonel Logan, 57th Regiment, who was then acting as Government Agent at Wanganui, heard that the surrender of the pa was un fait accompli (as reported by Major Rooke of the Militia), he sent out, but only to find that it was still in the enemy's hands.”

Logan had thereupon ordered the native contingent and Forest Rangers to retire, as they had gone there without the sanction or knowledge of the Brigadier-General Commanding. On June 20 the principal chief, Pehimana, had come to see General Waddy and declared that he desired peace. Waddy said he must prove his sincerity by giving up the pa. A meeting of the chiefs and Waddy was held at Nukumaru on July 3 but was without result. On July 16 the Governor arrived at Wanganui from Wellington and went to the camp of the Colonial forces with General Waddy. They approached the pa and Grey rode up to within some thirty yards of the palisades. He was urged not to enter, as the people inside were under the fanatical influence of the new faith and there might be treachery. He therefore returned to Nukumaru.

“There were said to be some 200 men in the pa, but some of these were expected to come out to join Pehimana and the other chiefs who had now surrendered. Mr. Parris, who is most experienced in the feelings and habits of the natives, as well as Captain McDonnell, who also knows them well, firmly believed the pa would be given up to the Governor. At all events the submission of the leading chiefs and the divided counsels of the defenders, showed a wavering and undecided state of mind utterly different from the spirit which animated them at the time of the action of the 25th January last at Nukumaru. His Excellency the Governor now, however, addressed to General Waddy, commanding the Wanganui district, the letter of the 19th July, marked ‘Enclosure No. 1’ in the attached printed paper, in which is published in detail His Excellency's despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, page 261 reporting the operations which he conducted against the pa. His Excellency the Governor was aware that the Lieutenant-General was not in favour of commencing siege operations at the most inclement season of the year. Although the Lieutenant-General had communicated the opinion to His Excellency, he had also stated his readiness to undertake any operation the political necessity of which the Governor might consider paramount to such objections. The instructions of May 19 to Brigadier-General Waddy were never intended to interfere with any operations which the Governor might order. They cannot be construed as precluding even siege operations, much less as interdicting the active employment of Her Majesty's troops in operations of any other kind which might have appeared to His Excellency necessary for ‘the suppression of rebellion, and the preservation of peace in Her Majesty's Possessions.’

“It will be seen by the correspondence between the Governor and General Waddy, which followed His Excellency's letter of July 19 (Enclosure No. 1), that General Waddy stated his inability to undertake the particular service of the immediate reduction of the pa by regular operations without the orders of the Lieutenant-General, to whom he would refer. This reply expresses an unwillingness to undertake such a responsibility. It does not appear that General Waddy was called on for the active employment of Her Majesty's troops in any other way, or that he was requested to conduct the operations which ensued. The partial aid in the way of ‘moral support’ would, however, render the services of the colonial troops, if successful, the more conspicuous. It may be inferred from the correspondence between the Governor and General Waddy, and from the Governor's own despatch, that, in default of the regular troops to carry on siege operations, the small colonial force available was to undertake them, though with what means and appliances is not explained, for none had been yet collected at Nukumaru for the regular troops.… The story of the capture of the pa is fully told in the Governor's despatch. It is no detraction from the merits of the plan or from the services of the colonial troops to express a deep regret that the operations should afford ground for the further and more notable page 262 exemplification of the spirit which has of late manifested itself in depreciating the services, and acting independently of the opinion, counsel, and authority of the Officer Commanding Her Majesty's Troops. It would not be right in this place to trace to its cause the existence of a spirit so indefensible in itself and so injurious to the public service.

“It happened as an unfortunate coincidence that at the time when this lamentable spirit was most strongly betraying itself—when, moreover, the leading Weraroa chiefs had surrendered—when the union of the others seemed to be breaking, and when the most experienced in the traits of native character believed that the pa would be surrendered, or at least evacuated—that at that particular time His Excellency should have felt constrained to undertake operations against the pa, and that Her Majesty's troops, and their immediate commander, should have been allotted the part of ‘moral support’ on the presumption of a forced inactivity. The instructions to General Waddy which do not appear to have been called for, are on record, and give no ground whatever for the presumption, but the idea of ‘forced inaction’ suited the circumstances of the time and the occasion. Howbeit it is a matter of great satisfaction that the pa has fallen, and of congratulation that it fell in the happy way it did, without a man being wounded on either side—a result very different from what might have been expected had Her Majesty's troops attacked it immediately after the action of Nukumaru, when the enemy were in full force, thoroughly united, and animated by the highest spirit. The manner in which the pa fell (however objectionable may have been some of the preceding and attendant circumstances) proves the wisdom of not attacking it immediately after the action of Nukumaru, under circumstances which might have entailed a heavy loss without compensating advantages. The result also illustrated the benefits arising from the establishment of the post at Nukumaru, which evidently unsettled the natives, and made many of them anxious for peace.”

On July 31 Cameron addressed a letter to Grey with reference to his address at the opening of the General Assembly on July 26. He denied having given any orders to any officers page 263 which precluded them from taking an active part in the operations against Weraroa Pa.

“Lieutenant-General Sir Duncan Cameron,” reported Gamble in his journal, “who, on account of his health, had sent home his resignation several months ago, left New Zealand on August 1, to the inexpressible regret of the army, and with every demonstration of gratitude and respect on the part of the colonists in the province of Auckland, who were the most interested in the now really important operations of the war, and who had the best opportunity of appreciating the services of the Lieutenant-General and troops. A valedictory address (including the request that he would accept a sword and belt, to be presented in England) was presented to him by the inhabitants at a public assemblage in Albert Barrack Square, at which all the public bodies attended; and every manifestation was made of the high esteem in which the Lieutenant-General was held, and of the regret experienced at his departure. It redounds to the honour of the colonists in this part of New Zealand that, uninfluenced by political partisanship which has, for the attainment of its own ends, arrayed itself against the name and fame of Sir Duncan Cameron, they testified their admiration of his public services and private worth by an ovation which, for good feeling and good taste, would have done credit to any community, and must have been most gratifying to the Lieutenant-General.”1

On Sir George Grey's despatch reporting the capture of Weraroa Pa without the help of the Imperial forces, except two detachments furnished by Brigadier-General Waddy after he had first declined to assist, Sir F. Rogers wrote: “Everything seems to have been extremely well planned by Sir G. G. and extremely well executed by the colonial forces.… There pears to have been great alacrity in facing risk, among others want of food, which is creditable to the spirit of the colonial troops.… It is a curious mode, however, of carrying on war. As the Queen's officers will not move effectively, the Governor comes on the spot in command of the colonial troops. This is not a state of things which should be allowed to form a precedent.”2

1 W.O. 33/16.

2 C.O. 209, 191.

page 264

When opening the fifth session of the General Assembly on July 26 Grey stated that he would at once issue orders for the return to England of five regiments. The recent discoveries of gold on the West Coast of the Middle Island had offered new fields for colonization and given a fresh impetus to the development of the natural resources of the colony.

A further stage of the Grey-Cameron controversy was reached when Cameron handed to the Australasian (Melbourne) correspondence in which he stated that Grey's allegation that Waddy had been ordered not to attack Weraroa had no foundation in truth. The Colonial Office concluded that Waddy had been at liberty to attack Weraroa in his own way (by breaching and surprise) but not in Sir G. Grey's way “by investment and regular operations.” The Office therefore concluded that Cameron was correct and that it was difficult to avoid telling Grey that on his own showing he was wrong.1

In a letter written on the P. and O. steamer Jeddo on September 4, 1865, with reference to the capture of Weraroa Pa, Cameron said that the chief delay in attacking the pa had been the postponement of hostilities until January—“for which Sir G. Grey alone is responsible.” “Looking at the result,” Cameron continued, “I think there is no reason to regret that the pa was not attacked at an earlier period. Had I done so I have no doubt that I should have lost many officers and men without gaining any greater advantage than has been obtained by its evacuation. Nothing had occurred when I left the colony to warrant the Governor's statement that the delay had involved consequences fraught with disaster, and led to fresh outbreaks in other parts of the colony. The fact is that on the East Coast the natives had for many months remained on the defensive, and all the hostilities that had taken place in or near any of our settlements had been provoked by our invasion or occupation of their territory.”2 Grey replied to this letter

1 C.O. 209, 192.

2 W.O. 33/16. For a strong criticism of Grey for interference with Cameron, see Some Home Truths re the Maori War, 1863 to 1869, by Lieut.-Col. Edward Gorton (New Zealand Militia, late Captain 29th and 57th Regiments), London, 1901. He gives correspondence with Cameron in 1886 in which Cameron wrote: “I was very unfortunate in serving under a Governor who was constantly interfering with my plans.”

page 265 in a despatch of January 1, 1866. “It was my belief,” he remarked, “that an altogether faulty system of warfare had been pursued in this country, which had unnecessarily entailed a great loss of life, a vast amount of human suffering, an enormous and useless expenditure and waste of materials upon Great Britain and this colony. I thought it was my duty under such circumstances to give a practical proof that more important results than had ever hitherto been attained could be gained with a much smaller sacrifice of life, with a much smaller force, and at a very trifling cost. I think I succeeded in doing so, and all that has taken place in this country has shewn the soundness of my conclusions. No other principle has since been acted on.… I know that I have done my duty, and that knowledge will sustain me under any attacks that may be made upon me, or under any censures or inconveniences which Her Majesty's Government may from want of information subject me to.”

In a despatch of August 14, published on October 17, 1865, The Times correspondent described the capture of the Weraroa Pa in detail and added: “The colonies are not insensible to what they owe to England for the generous manner in which troops were poured into the colony in time of need. Nor are they ungrateful for what those troops have done, and while they consider that more ought to have been done, they know that what has been left undone is mainly the fault of the system.”

The correspondent reported that he understood that J. E. FitzGerald had accepted the ministership of Native Affairs which W. B. D. Mantell had resigned “because General Cameron had used language in writing of him to the Governor which no gentleman could brook.” “FitzGerald,” the correspondent said, “is extreme in his views on native matters, extreme in the sense of treating them precisely as if they were Europeans in everything. It was generally thought that the views expressed in his letter in The Times (to Adderley) would have rendered it incompatible for him to work with Governor Grey. It is, however, more than whispered that Governor Grey will not remain long in New Zealand, having applied by last mail, in a very earnest manner, that he might be relieved from the governorship.” On October 31 the Otago Daily Times page 266 thus referred to recent despatches from the Colonial Office reproving Grey: “The surprise is that the Governor is not recalled, and a man of more decision sent in his room. The events of the last twelve months have been sufficient to prove his incapacity, and nothing that has occurred has tended in the slightest degree to give confidence that his future administration will redeem the faults and follies of the past.”

The War Office in a letter to the Colonial Office of September 20, 1865, referred to Grey's despatch of May 23 (No. 73): “In that despatch Sir George Grey appears to question the right of a general officer in the position of Sir D. Cameron to furnish the Secretary of State for War with any information that he thinks may be useful to Her Majesty's Government regarding the management of affairs in a colony as far as they relate to the manner in which the troops are employed, unless the despatches containing such information are forwarded through the Governor of the Colony. I am to request that you will inform Mr. Cardwell that, after a careful consideration of the subject, Lord de Grey is unable to acquiesce in the views entertained by Sir George Grey.”1

On October 25 H.R.H. the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief (the Duke of Cambridge) wrote from the Horse Guards to the War Office: “I think that the time has now arrived when it becomes my duty to bring to Your Lordship's very serious notice the utter confusion into which military proceedings in New Zealand have been thrown by the lamentable differences which for a considerable time have been going on between the Governor of that Colony, Sir George Grey, and Lieutenant-General Sir Duncan Cameron, who has been in command of Her Majesty's Forces. The painful position in which the Brigadiers in that country find themselves placed, and the truly humiliating attitude which was assumed by the troops at the recent taking of the Weraroa Pa, when they had to look on and give their so-called ‘moral support,’ whilst the colonial forces were detailed for active operation of assaulting the pa in question, under the immediate direction of the Governor, as represented in the New Zealand Herald of July 31, 1865 (herewith transmitted), containing extracts from Sir

1 W.O. 33/16, p. 483.

page 267 George Grey's despatches, … demonstrate the necessity for some immediate decision being at once come to by Her Majesty's Government as to the relative positions of the Governor and the officer commanding the troops, in this as in all other colonies in which active operations are being conducted.

“The views I have always understood as guiding the conduct of the civil and military authorities under such circumstances are these: that whereas the Governor is supreme in all matters affecting the government of Her Majesty's colonial possessions, and as such is in a position to indicate the line of conduct to be adopted by the military, the commander of the forces is bound to carry out, to the best of his ability, the instructions he may receive from the Governor; and that though no doubt perfect concert ought to exist between these two high functionaries, still the Commander of the forces is in duty bound, without reference to his personal views or feelings, to obey such instructions as may be conveyed to him in the proper channels. Had this line of conduct been adopted, we should not now have to deplore a state of things which I believe to have no parallel in our colonial or general history. Without in the slightest degree entering into the question as to who has been in the wrong in producing this lamentable want of accord between such high functionaries, I deem it to be essential to the public service, and to be only just to the officers and troops employed in New Zealand, that a very clear and defined line of conduct should be laid down by the Government as to the mode in which it is thought right that the service of the Crown should be conducted; and I therefore trust that such instructions may be sent out, as well to the Governor as to the officer commanding the troops in New Zealand, by the next mail, as may restore harmony, when the confusion and discord at the present moment are so great, and may prevent a recurrence of complications which are alike detrimental to Imperial and Colonial interests as also to the discipline, I might also say the honour of Her Majesty's forces.

“The early return of Lietuenant-General Sir Duncan Cameron to England can have no bearing on the absolute necessity for the decision which I earnestly press upon your notice.”1

1 C.O. 209, 196.

page 268

Lord de Grey replied on November 22 that he had given the subject his careful consideration and was in communication with the Secretary of State for the Colonies with regard to it. In a letter to the Colonial Office of November 20 Lord de Grey expressed the view that “as the supreme authority in each colony is entrusted to the Governor, it is for him to determine the general nature of the operations to be undertaken by Her Majesty's troops for the suppression of the rebellion. … But it does not appear to Lord de Grey to form any part of the functions of a civil Governor of a colony to take the personal direction of military operations in the field, or to issue any orders to Her Majesty's troops engaged in such operations other than those conveyed in the instructions given by him to the officer in chief command.”1

In a leading article of February 23, 1866, The Times discussed the papers on New Zealand affairs presented to Parliament. After referring to the provision in the instructions for the withdrawal of the troops which gave Cameron discretionary power to retain them, The Times said: “Sir George Grey would put such a stress on the Commander-in-Chief as would compel him to retain the troops; but the Commander-in-Chief could keep the troops so inactive that, for all the good they did, they might as well be on the high seas. The upshot was a quarrel between these two authorities, degenerating into a bitter and even violent correspondence, which both parties by this time must sufficiently regret. It is plain from the papers before us that more is to be said for the ‘forced inaction’ ascribed by Sir George Grey to the British Army under General Cameron's command than was at one time imagined; or, perhaps, we should rather put the case this way—that General Cameron had, for what he did, or left undone, more authority than was supposed. The great and very laudable object of the Home Government was to withdraw the army from New Zealand altogether, and to leave the colony to its own military resources. But this could obviously be done only at a period of peace; and, therefore, the Commander-in-Chief was instructed to discourage all operations which might have the effect of extending or protracting the war. Sir George Grey and his Ministers thought

1 C.O. 209, 196.

page 269 the time was come for a decisive advance and a final blow, but it was excusable in the Commander-in-Chief to be incredulous about any finality in New Zealand wars.” The Times concluded by saying that the military and political deadlock had at least the happy effect of inducing the colony to organize its volunteers, who were taking pa after pa and “making short work of the war.”

A Colonial Office memorandum of April 26, 1870, thus summarized the quarrels between Sir George Grey and General Cameron: “In the later stages of the New Zealand war, the Civil and Military authorities quarrelled bitterly and openly. ‘The campaign between Sir George Grey and General Cameron,’ Mr. Fox says (The War in New Zealand), ‘seems to have been by far the most “vigorously prosecuted” of any which was ever carried on in New Zealand. If these “two very able and distinguished persons” had exhibited as much energy and determination in fighting the rebels, as they did in fighting each other, the war might perhaps have been brought to a much earlier termination.’

“During the campaign of 1863 and 1864 the relations between General Cameron and Sir George Grey were harmonious. The General had been a party to the plan of invading the Waikato, and neither he nor those under his command ever alleged that they were being engaged in a service which was not entirely just and proper. But when the General was ordered in the end of 1864 to reduce the Wanganui country, he and his army became possessed of a feeling that the colonists were making use of them for selfish purposes—in fact that they were needlessly and wickedly prolonging the war, partly for the sake of commissariat expenditure and partly for the sake of acquiring land gratis by confiscation. The army made no secret of its suspicions and resentment. The first outbreak of ill-feeling was a controversy between the General and the Governor as to the character of the war. The General pronounced it an aggressive war. The Governor declared it to be a defensive war. The General said the motive of it was the confiscation and occupation of land. The Governor said its motive was the punishment of tribes guilty of great crimes, the security of the lives of Her Majesty's loyal subjects by the planting of military page 270 settlements, and the restoration of Her Majesty's authority. The General wrote to the Governor saying that since he had been in the Wanganui country he had heard that a purchase of land called the Waitotara block was a more iniquitous job than the purchase of the Waitara block, and that the old Waitara dodge was being played ‘for getting up a war and the consequent military expenditure at Wanganui.’ The Governor demanded the General's authority for the statement. The General refused to give it, or as he expressed it refused to collect information for the Governor. The Governor laid his private correspondence with the General before the Colonial Parliament. The General wrote home to the War Office detailing his views as to the policy of the Governor and his Ministers—refusing to show them the drafts of his letters, at which they were naturally enraged. The whole colony took part in the quarrel. The General declared that the reduction of Wanganui would take 20 years, and that instead of sending troops home as Mr. Cardwell and Lord de Grey wished, he must ask for a reinforcement of 2,000 men. The Governor on the other hand maintained that no reinforcements were necessary, and that the troops under the General's command, if properly handled, could reduce the country in one campaign. The colonists became loud in their complaints of the General's advance. They wondered how he contrived to do so little. And slow as his progress was, he was leaving on his flank unattacked, a strong place the enemy called the Weraroa Pa, which, as long as they held it, placed the whole of that country, not actually held by troops, at their mercy. Sir George Grey called on the General to attack it. The General declined, pronouncing it too strong. Sir George Grey asked if he might take it himself. The General assented. Sir George got together a scratch force of friendly natives and colonial levies, and carried the place with a rush in a few hours. This was proof positive to the colonists that the army was not doing its best. This may or may not have been so. The Army was certainly without the stimulus, which an army usually has, of desiring the applause of the people for whom it is fighting. It despised and disliked the colonists, and its hostility to the natives may have been tempered by a sentiment of sympathy and commiseration.”

page 271

Reference was made to allegations by Colonel Weare.1 “It is of no importance whether the charges were true. The important thing is that what Colonel Weare wrote was nothing but the new's current in the camp.”

“It was a quarrel, not only between Sir George Grey and General Cameron, but between the whole army and the whole colony. In such a war the interests of the Imperial and Colonial Governments cannot be identical and the army will naturally take the Imperial side, and its service to the colony will be given grudgingly and inefficiently. Both the civil and military authorities in New Zealand were in an entirely false position. Neither trusted the other and each felt themselves constrained to intrude on the province of the other. The result was disaster.”2

A letter from FitzGerald to Adderley, written on October 13, 1865, and published in The Times on December 20, paid tribute to the fairness with which Grey had treated him when he was in charge of native affairs before the resignation of Weld. He held that Grey was right in his disputes with the Whitaker Cabinet and with Cameron, and maintained that it was monstrous to accuse the Governor of violating the confidence of a private correspondence, when that correspondence included all the public business of his station.” This is true, but for some of his other complaints Cameron had more substantial grounds. In the great Governor v. General controversy neither party emerges with complete credit. The situation in which they found themselves was in some respect unprecedented and it cannot be said that either showed great tact in meeting it. The General, by asking for recall on the grounds of ill health, perhaps did all in his power to end an intolerable position, damaging to the British cause in more ways than one. “If we have to send out another General,” wrote the Army and Navy Gazette, “we can only assure Mr. Weld and our New Zealand friends that we can find no man with a higher reputation than General Cameron when he was selected to do battle for them.” The General might have spread fire and destruction throughout the land of the hostile Maoris. That his conscience made his sword less keen should not diminish his reputation to-day.

1 See Chapter 13.

2 C.O. 209, 212.