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England and the Maori Wars

Chapter 17 — Overtures To The United States

page 377

Chapter 17
Overtures To The United States

Intense irritation with the Imperial Government was the primary cause of the desire of New Zealand ministers to secure a commercial agreement with the United States. The significance of this movement is more readily appreciated if we remember that the relations between England and the United States are throughout our period unfriendly, and that on more than one occasion the two countries had been on the verge of war. Moreover, all British negotiations with foreign countries had hitherto been conducted exclusively through the Foreign Office, and independent action by colonies was a new and, to many people, a disturbing departure. When the Canadian Government had negotiated directly with France through Baron Boilleau, French Consul at Quebec, for a reciprocal trade arrangement in 1862, the British Government had remonstrated with France and the Baron was removed from Canada.1

On May 9, 1870, Sir George Bowen transmitted a printed copy of correspondence which had appeared in the New Zealand newspapers between William Fox and the United States Consul in Dunedin concerning relations with that country. Sir F. Rogers wrote: “It will be evidently extremely and justly distasteful to the Foreign Office that the Colonial Government should carry on official correspondence otherwise than through the agency of our ministers with foreign Governments—especially perhaps with the U.S.2 But it is not very easy to see how it is to be prevented…. Perhaps the F.O., if desirous of stopping this kind of diplomatic disintegration (for of course the precedent tends to spread), may have the means of prevailing on the Government of the U.S. to repel these over-

1 J. G. Gray, Confederation of Canada, p. 352.

2 Relations between Britain and the United States continued to be very strained for several years. The Alabama question was not settled until 1872.

page 378 tures. But this I should suppose unlikely.” He added that he regarded the mode of proceeding as “rather premature than wrong in principle.” Monsell said he should be disposed to point out that “on the abandonment of the exclusive direction of the foreign relations of colonies would necessarily follow a weakening of our obligations to defend them against foreign aggression.” Lord Kimberley decided to do nothing but approve Sir G. Bowen's action in refusing to have anything to do with the negotiations.

On April 30, in a letter published on July 4, The Times Wellington correspondent wrote: “In the following letter an application has been made by the Premier to the United States Government for the free admission of New Zealand wool into American markets. This letters, taken in conjunction with a remarkable expression at the Dunedin public meeting, ‘doubting if New Zealand were still a colony,’ is sufficiently indicative that the head of the Government is not unprepared to accept the position of alienation from the Empire which, according to Mr. Fox's views, expressed in his memorandum on Lord Granville's despatch, is a necessary corollary to Lord Granville's theories as to Imperial responsibility.”

Fox, in his letter to Henry Driver, U.S. Consular agent at Dunedin, dated March 19, 1870, said: “As the first steamer which is to place in regular monthly communication New Zealand with the United States is to start on its voyage a few days hence, perhaps you will be good enough to communicate to your Government the high appreciation by the Government of New Zealand of this close intercourse with the great and powerful country of which you are the representative, and of their earnest desire for its continuance. The Government believe that the colonists of New Zealand welcome in this line not only a means of mail communication with Great Britain, but the commencement of what they hope will prove friendly relations, and, to both sides, profitable commercial connection with the people of the United States. The Government will be glad to learn that, under the circumstances, your Government will in future be willing to allow the Government of this country to communicate with them direct in matters affecting the relations between the two countries.

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“It has for some time been the intention of this Government, in concert with the Governments of some of the neighbouring colonies, to represent to your Government their earnest desire that a market should be opened in the United States to the wool which is one of the largest articles of production of the Australasian colonies. There are circumstances which, it is felt, should render the subject one which our Government may entertain irrespectively of the question whether or not it is deemed that immediate pecuniary profit will arise from it. The colonies are peopled by a race speaking the same language and acknowledging many of the same traditions and associations which belong to the people of the United States. For a long time to come the colonies will manufacture to a very limited extent even for home use. They will use a great many of the manufactures and products of the United States, but it is not probable they will be able to supply manufactures in exchange. They cannot therefore prejudice, but must benefit, the manufacturers of the United States. The wool the colonists are able to send will assist those manufacturers, and the wool ships will return laden with the wares and products of your country.… It may be argued that the wool might even now be sent direct, but a moment's consideration will show that, while there is a heavy duty on it, wool sent to America has not the opportunity of finding a world-wide market, which otherwise it would find if not burdened with charges of that kind, and if it were as available for sale for the use of other countries as it is in the market of Great Britain.”

The Foreign Office, since July under the control of Lord Granville, who was succeeded at the Colonial Office by Lord Kimberley, referred, in a letter to the Colonial Office of August 3, to the correspondence between the New Zealand Premier and the United States Consul-General at Dunedin. The Foreign Office pointed out “the inconvenience of departing from the rule that Colonial matters should be negotiated with foreign powers by the Home Government, except when the latter consent that the Colony should undertake negotiations on subjects of purely local interest.” “If, however, Lord Kimberley is of opinion that the present is an exceptional case arising out of the feeling of discontent in New Zealand, which, it is hoped, page 380 will pass away, Lord Granville is ready to concur in His Lordship's proposal not to take any further notice of the correspondence beyond approving Sir G. Bowen's refusal to be a party to it.” Lord Kimberley's minute was: “Say that I concur in Lord Granville's view as to the inconvenience of departing from the rule as to communications with foreign powers, but in the exceptional circumstances of this case, I think it better to do nothing beyond approving Sir G. Bowen.” The Foreign Office retained the printed copy of the correspondence between Fox and the Consular Agent. This tactful handling of a delicate situation by Granville and Kimberley averted trouble threatened as a result of Granville's earlier and less conciliatory manner.

In a leading article on April 19, 1870, The Times referred to the Wellington correspondent's statement that H.M.S. Virago had sailed from Wellington Harbour with the last detachment of the 18th regiment. This news, “which would have fallen like a thunderbolt six months ago,” was, said The Times, “the actual consummation of that terrible policy which was to be the destruction of the colony and the ruin of the British Empire.”

A debate took place in the House of Commons on April 26, 1870, on a motion by Robert Torrens that a Select Committee should be set up “to inquire into the political relations and modes of official intercommunication between the self-governing colonies and this country and to report whether any or what modifications are desirable, with a view to the maintenance for common nationality, amended by cordial good understanding.”1 The motion was defeated after a long debate by 110 votes to 67. The Times on April 27 said of the debate: “Men spoke as if it were incumbent on them to occupy a certain number of minutes in the utterance of articulate words, without any obligation to connect sound with meaning. The existence of discontent is not unimportant, even when those who are discontented do not quite know what they desire, and we should be heartily glad if the self-constituted mouth-pieces of Colonial feeling would endeavour to know their own minds. Ever since the publication of the circular,

1 See Cambridge History of the British Empire, vol. vi, part II, pp. 216–17,

page 381 issued by Messrs. Youl, Sewell, and Wilson in August last,1 we have asked for definite articles of indictment against the Colonial Office but they have never been forthcoming.… The real question at issue between those who regard the tendencies of our Colonial policy with suspicion, and those who on the whole approve its course, turns upon their conception of the growth of nations. We have in our dealings with the colonies released them step by step from the control of the Home Government, and the foremost of them now enjoy complete independence. There can be no doubt that the next stage in their natural development would be that of formal emancipation, and it would seem to be recommended by precisely the same considerations which have led to their present degree of self-government.… Our colonies have outgrown dependence, but want the self-reliance of independence. They have ceased to be children, but they shrink from the isolation of manhood. It is for their interest and glory that they should look forward to the time when they shall assume their proper position in the world's history; and it is for the glory and renown, and for the safety and dignity, of the United Kingdom that we should recognize a confraternity of English-speaking nations as a better ideal than the maintenance of a nominal dominion which would fall to pieces under any serious agitation through the mere weight of its separate parts.”
Referring again to the debate, The Times on April 28 said: “Lord Granville is not the author of any new-fangled revolutionary conception of the relations that subsist at present, or ought by degrees to be established, between the Mother Country and the Colonies; he has done no more than to follow up the principles that have been laid down and practically affirmed by his predecessors. Sir Charles Adderley bore emphatic testimony to this fact in the acute argument with which he opposed Mr. Torrens' vague and illusory proposition, and he did an eminent service by so clearly divesting the question of all party colour and by showing that the experience of all responsible advisers of the Crown in matters of Colonial

1 After a meeting of New Zealand colonists in London at the Palace Hotel, Westminster, had decided to call a conference of representatives of the self-governing colonies.

page 382 policy has brought them to the same practical conclusions. While some Colonists are declaiming against the ‘parsimonious Radicalism’ of Mr. Gladstone's administration, and seem to transfigure Lord Granville into a hideous incarnation of all the heresies of Manchester, it is worth while to remark that a Conservative statesman well tried in the business of the Colonial Office should so firmly sustain the principles assailed by Mr. Torrens and his supporters. Nor, if we may judge by appearances, was Sir Charles Adderley alone in his dissent from the flimsy pretence that the colonial policy of Lord Granville is revolutionary or traitorous to the Empire. The other leaders of the Tory party equally abstained from pledging themselves to a censure of the Liberal Minister, nor did either Mr. Disraeli or Mr. Hardy vote with Mr. Torrens. The official Conservatism on which the deserted Colonists are solicited to rely was presented only by Lord Robert Montague and Mr. Mowbray.… The tone of Mr. Gladstone's speech was incapable of doubtful interpretation, and the Colonies who have attached excessive importance to declarations of less responsible statesmen, may be fairly asked to read and to appreciate the meaning of this authoritative announcement. It is in plain language a pledge that of her own free will the Mother Country will never attempt to break the connection, so long as the Colonies are content to retain their allegiance to the Crown. But it is a very different question that arises when the Colonies, or some too demonstrative Colonists on their behalf, threaten that unless England continues to pay for the military defence of communities practically independent and enjoying a degree of prosperity unknown to the mass of English taxpayers, they will regard the withdrawal of Imperial aid as a dissolution of the bond of allegiance. In that case, should we find any considerable party among the Colonists so unreasonable, we shall certainly attempt no coercive measures; we shall oppose a dignified forbearance to a petulant resentment, and shall prove to the world that we have learnt a lesson of wisdom since our angry endeavours ‘to maintain the integrity of the empire’ permanently alienated the affections of the American colonists.”

Adderley, in a letter published in The Times, wrote: “I see that men are still harping on the old argument that we are page 383 asking our New Zealand fellow-subjects to carry out a war which we inflicted on them. Can they not see the fallacy involved in the word ‘we’? Was it not the Government of New Zealand just as much as ourselves at home that inaugurated the policy, and with the best intentions, which has issued in these wars? Now that New Zealand has complete self-government, can it throw the expenses incurred by its former Crown Government upon the taxpayers of England, merely because they are under the same Crown; or will these claimants propose to revive the exploded form of government, and for the sake of the cost give back the freedom?…Surely what has already occurred in New Zealand has been enough to show, what has invariably been shown by experience, that the best surety for peace is the burden of war.”

R. Torrens, in a reply to this letter, stated that the colonists did not ask the mother-country to bear the expenses of their defence, but only that the single regiment should be left in the colony at the expense of the colonists. “Can Sir C.Adderley assist Her Majesty's present advisers by producing any reasonable plea upon which to justify the present policy in affording to Canada, while not under any serious pressure or difficulty, that military aid and financial guarantee which they deny to New Zealand under the pressure of a life or death necessity?”

The Melbourne correspondent of The Times in a letter of March 28 written after a visit to Auckland and published on May 17, 1870, found a “strange indifference” where he had been led to expect to see all the symptoms of a dangerous crisis. He expressed the view that the withdrawal of the troops would expedite the return of peace. On the same day The Times said: “The proposal that Parliament shall guarantee a New Zealand loan of a million sterling is not one that can be received with unmixed satisfaction.… The Government has undertaken to recommend a guarantee of a required amount not… for purposes of war, but, on the contrary, for the construction of roads and other public works by friendly natives, as well as for the promotion of immigration. It is not to be disguised that, even thus limited, the sacrifice of principle is considerable.… Whatever irritation may have been felt in page 384 New Zealand at the peremptory recall of the last British regiment, the colonists may rest assured that the English people in approving it, was not indifferent to their fate. Had Englishmen believed that a single European life in New Zealand would be imperilled by Lord Granville's adherence to a policy, of which the colony had received many years' notice, it would probably have been impossible to carry it out. It was because Englishmen believed the very reverse that colonial remonstrances against it met with so feeble a response. The result, we are convinced, will prove that Englishmen are not wrong, and it will not be surprising if the prosperity of New Zealand should date from the year in which the duty of self-defence was forced upon her.”

On May 20 Lord Granville informed Sir G. Bowen that the Government had agreed to guarantee a loan of £1,000,000 for immigration and public works. The negotiation had been undertaken by Sir F. D. Bell and Dr. Featherston, the New Zealand Commissioners, who had telegraphed to New Zealand on May 14: “We have accepted this offer on behalf of New Zealand Commissioners, who had telegraphed to New Zealand as a measure of conciliation which will be taken throughout New Zealand as a proof of the continued good will of the Imperial Government.”

Acknowledging Lord Granville's notification in a letter dated May 19, the Commissioners wrote from their head-quarters, the Charing Cross Hotel: “A long series of discussions arising out of a war in which the Imperial and Colonial Governments had been jointly concerned for ten years had unhappily caused misunderstanding between them, and much bitterness of feeling among the settlers. The General Assembly believed this would be set right by personal communication in a kindly and conciliatory spirit; and they desired nothing so much as that all grounds of complaint on both sides should be forgotten, and the relations between the two Governments secured on the footing of the most hearty friendship and co-operation. If we have not been able to induce your lordship to regard in the same light as the Assembly did the question of military assistance, still the chief object of our mission has been gained. It is not a mere matter of money that has been arranged. A lasting tie has been made between the two Governments, by page 384a
Colonel (Aftewards Major-General Sir) G. S. Whitmore

Colonel (Aftewards Major-General
Sir) G. S. Whitmore

Major Ropata

Major Ropata

page 385 their engaging together in objects in which the nation has a common interest with her dependency, in the peopling of a new country which is one of her great offshoots in the opening up of that country by roads, in the reward, by steady and permanent employment, of those native allies who have so faithfully served the Crown, above all in the weaning of the turbulent and disaffected tribes from warlike habits to peaceful industry…. If we might add another word for ourselves it would be to say how very much we have felt the personal kindness which Your Lordship has shown us, and your patience and courtesy in the many interviews by which long written communications have happily been avoided.”

W. Dealtry wrote: “This letter should be inserted in the Parliamentary papers in New Zealand now in Mr. Joseph's hands. It will make a very good finish.”

Bowen, in a despatch of August 1, 1870, reported that the news of the concession respecting the Imperial guarantee of a loan had had a conciliatory effect and that the House of Representatives had refused even to receive a petition praying that steps might be taken to withhold payment of the Governor's salary. “This looks like the end of the misunderstandings,” was Dealtry's comment. In his despatch in reply, dated October 24, Lord Kimberley wrote: “I have much pleasure in anticipating from these communications that nothing will occur to disturb the good understanding between the Imperial and Colonial Governments, and that the connection between New Zealand and the United Kingdom will be maintained and strengthened to the mutual advantage of both countries.”

A ministerial memorandum of August 1, forwarded by Bowen, set out: “So much has been said lately about New Zealand separating from the Empire that Ministers deem it to be their duty to ask His Excellency to convey to the Secretary for the Colonies their views on the subject. In their instructions to the Commissioners and the various memoranda which have been published Ministers have not disguised their impression that the Imperial Government adopted a line of action which was tantamount to inviting the Colony to withdraw from the Empire. It matters not what reasons may have dictated a change, page 386 it is sufficient to know that, lately, the Imperial Government have disavowed that they still entertain the policy referred to. Ministers think it right to state that they have received this disavowal with much gratification, and that, as already intimated in previous memoranda, their wish is that the communication of both Governments should be of so conciliatory and cordial a character that the ties between the two countries may be strengthened and not relaxed.”1

In his financial statement of June 28, 1870, Julius Vogel, the Colonial Treasurer, said: “Speaking broadly I contend that during the next ten years the Colony will run no risk if it commits itself to an expenditure, or a proportionate liability for guarantee of interest, of ten millions for railways and for the other purposes expressed in these proposals. After three years, supposing that extraordinary sums are required, will it be a great hardship to increase the Stamp-duties, or to have a House-tax, or an Income-tax, or some tax that will touch that lucky class, the absentees, who enjoy all the advantages, whilst they share not the burden of the hard colonizing labours without which the most favoured country on the globe's surface could not attain permanent prosperity?

“Although objecting to a Customs Union we highly value reciprocal arrangements between the colonies. The Colonies should have the power to make such reciprocal arrangements for the interchange of Colonial produce and manufactures as is desirable. So strongly are we impressed with this conviction, and so much do we feel the injustice of the Australian colonies being placed at a disadvantage as compared with the British-American colonies that we intend to submit to you a proposal which will, to all intents and purposes, give us the power, without waiting for the tardy assistance of the Imperial Government. Although we cannot legally impose differential duties, there is nothing to prevent our voting money, by way of bonus, to importers of particular produce or manufactures; and the bonus may amount to a part or the whole of the duty. We propose to take power to enter into agreements with the neighbouring colonies to pay sums, in the shape of bonus, on the importation of certain goods. We mean still to urge the

1 C.O. 209, 217.

page 387 Imperial Government to remove the obstructions in the way of direct arrangements; and we can scarcely doubt that a nation which has shown us in so many ways how highly she values commercial considerations, will welcome and aid the development of a commercial spirit in her colonies. Be this as it may, we propose, with the approbation of the Assembly, to give effect to the principle of reciprocity by allowing a bonus on the importation of Australian wines.”

Vogel stated that the Government had entered into direct correspondence with the United States Government on the question of relaxing the restrictions upon the admission of colonial wools. “We want to raise,” he went on, “a certain amount of revenue, and it is highly expedient that the revenue should be derived in the manner best calculated to stimulate local production. If imports must be taxed, let those escape lightly which cannot be produced here, and let those which need not be imported but which wealthy persons choose to consume, be made to yield a revenue…. We shall be told that these proposals will entail a tremendous burden. Granted—but they will give to posterity enormous means out of which to meet it. Every member has constituents whom he represents; and he will be justified in assuring them that the measures we propose will benefit every person in the community, from the highest to the lowest, from the richest to the poorest. They will lead the colony to prosperity, and enable it to do justice to its splendid resources.”

Colonial Office minute: “The evasion of the rule against differential duties … is one which I suppose the Imperial Government cannot contend against.” Sir F. Rogers: “I should think not. But it is unpleasant.” Lord Kimberley wrote on September 7: “What is the course which has been pursued as to differential duties in colonies? Would not this bonus hocus pocus be a violation of our treaties with foreign nations, and if it is, are we not bound to take notice of it?—though, if it can be avoided, I would rather enter into no controversy, as it is undesirable to give the New Zealanders opportunities for shewing their disregard of us.”

Sir F. Rogers stated that the British treaties with Belgium and Italy contained the following clause: “Goods of every kind page 388 which are or may be legally importable into the ports of the United Kingdom… its colonies, and possessions in British vessels may likewise be imported into such ports in Belgian (Italian) vessels without being liable to other or higher duties, of whatever denomination, than if such goods were imported in national vessels.”1

Vogel withdrew his Bill to provide for differential duties, but he was not convinced by the arguments against them and returned later to the charge.

In a letter of August 4, published on September 29, the Wellington correspondent of The Times wrote: “I am at a loss to convey any adequate idea of the marvellous change which has come over the spirit of the deliberations in the Assembly during the present session of the Colonial Parliament. It is, moreover, a change which is the clear reflex of public feeling throughout the colony, and which I can only compare to the sudden waking from a hideous nightmare to full consciousness of power, security, companionship and light. For the last ten years the colony has been spell-bound by the too-substantial phantom of Maori war, with its attendant horrors. Now the spell is broken, and, reassured by the bright dawn of peace, it rises to the hopeful anticipations of a day of earnest endeavour and great accomplishment. The appeal made by the present ministry to renew the great work of colonization has been everywhere responded to. The scheme proposed by the Colonial Treasurer has been made the subject of the fullest possible discussion in every corner of both islands during the past month. Hardly a hamlet but has held its public meeting to consider the subject, and the verdict has been almost universal in its favour.… The general tone of the debate on the financial proposals was marked rather by an excess of caution than that recklessness which too often prevails in dealing with large sums of borrowed money.

“Next to the budget the conduct of the Imperial Government towards the colony has occupied the time of the Assembly.

1 C.O. 209, 217. For discussion of the demand of the Australian Colonies and New Zealand for power to impose differential duties—ultimately granted in 1873—see Knaplund, Gladstone and Imperial Policy, pp. 103–21. For a contemporary discussion, see J. G. Gray, Confederation of Canada (1872), pp. 331–60.

page 389 In the Legislative Council the debate on the subject was long and animated, but the discussion was equally without result in both Houses; the pithy motion in the Lower House that ‘the Imperial Government has failed in its duty to the colony,’ being disposed of by the carrying of the previous question. In the Upper House, after a long debate, the following resolution was carried by a majority of three:
  • 1. In the opinion of this Council, the best interests of New Zealand will be consulted by remaining an integral part of the British Empire.
  • 2. That there are not sufficient grounds for believing that the people of England desire the disintegration of the empire.
  • 3. That this Council regrets the course adopted by the Home Government towards the colony; but, as the causes of the dispute have been satisfactorily discussed by the Colonial Government, and as an indication of a desire to preserve a friendly feeling towards the colony has been made by the Home Government, it is undesirable to make any further reference to past misunderstandings.

“The Parliament and the country both feel the difficulty of their position. They do not wish to re-open a useless and acrimonious discussion; they are quite satisfied that the sympathies of the people of England are with New Zealand; they are not sorry, as events have turned out, that the Imperial regiment has been removed, in spite of their earnest entreaties that it should be allowed to remain; they have no wish to assert their right to protection, except in cases of extreme danger; and they have no desire to sever their connection with the Empire; and, last, but certainly not least, they are much too busily engaged in the work of reconstruction to devote much time to raking up the ashes of the past. But though the debates have been practically without result, it cannot be said that the colony at all acquiesces in the action of the Imperial Government.”

Commenting on October 4, 1870, on the resolutions passed in the Upper House, The Timessaid: “So entirely do we approve the last Resolution that we shall adopt it ourselves, and say nothing of ‘past misunderstandings’ except this—that the expression conveys the exact truth of the whole case. It was in a misunderstanding that the whole unpleasantness arose, page 390 and nothing, indeed, but a misunderstanding of the most extraordinary kind could ever have suggested the belief that any considerable or appreciable number of Englishmen desired to see a separation between Great Britain and her Colonies. No such wish was ever entertained.”

The peaceful atmosphere attained at long last was disturbed by the Franco-Prussian War, which caused considerable alarm in New Zealand. A ministerial memorandum of September 19, 1870, set out: “Ministers would be glad if Her Majesty's Government would send out 10,000 stand of medium and short Snider rifles with a corresponding supply of ammunition. The Colonial Government would be prepared to abide by the decision of the Home Government in respect of the cost, if payment should be required.… Ministers would also respectfully beg your Excellency to obtain from Her Majesty's Government explicit information as to what protection will be afforded to the Colony in case of Great Britain becoming involved in war with any power capable of attacking the colony; and also to what extent the colony would be expected to co-operate.”

Sir F. Rogers wrote: “It might be said with truth, though it would not perhaps be wise to say—that the Government could no more pledge itself to take any specific measures for the defence of Auckland or Wellington which do not contribute to the support of the British fleet than in the defence of Liver-pool or Brighton which do so contribute. But we want to be on good terms.” Lord Kimberley: “I agree.”1

On a despatch of Bowen, dated September 25, enclosing a memorandum of ministers requesting that at least two vessels of war might be stationed in New Zealand waters, Sir F. Rogers wrote: “Here we have a fresh attempt to fasten on us part of the responsibility of defending the colony against native troubles. You will observe that they request that marines should be landed and general instructions given as to co-operation. I should say this was exactly the position from which the British Government should distinctly hold aloof. This steady system of encroachment makes me so impatient that I distrust my own judgement as to the tone of the answer.” He went on to indicate how he would reply to the despatch. Lord Kimberley con-

1 C.O. 209, 217.

page 391 curred with his views, but thought it desirable “to avoid as much as possible further controversy.” The reply, dated December 24, stated that Her Majesty's Government could not enter into a positive agreement that a certain portion of Her Majesty's naval forces should be exclusively employed on the New Zealand coasts.1

On December 2, 1870, The Times said: “It is really quite refreshing in these times of alarm and trouble to turn to a subject of unqualified and even marvellous pleasantness. The New Zealand question, but a few months ago so full of embarrassments, is no longer any ‘question’ at all.… We need only say this, that affairs are looking well enough now, and that the Imperial policy, though it might have been open to misinterpretation, could not have been ill-conceived. Our proceedings have left the New Zealanders perfectly satisfied with themselves, and we trust that a brief interval of experience and reflection will make them equally satisfied with us. The best garrison we can send them is a garrison of permanent settlers; the best aid we can give them against the natives is assistance in the work which will turn prowling savages into industrious subjects. These will be engagements of mutual advantage and will serve effectually to link the Old Country and its Colony together.”

The New Zealand ministers, in a memorandum of December 30, discussed the colony's position in the event of Great Britain being involved in war: “The Imperial Government have adopted and acted on the policy of repudiating all concern in civil war in the colony, and have removed from it the military force which not only served as a moral support to Her Majesty's loyal subjects of both races, but which also constituted a material protection in the case of foreign war. Meanwhile the action of the Imperial Government—action in which the Colony has no share, and over which it can exercise no control—may suddenly plunge the Colony into foreign hostility, expose to serious damage its ports and its trade, and stimulate internal native rebellion into renewed activity. Under these circumstances, the Colony has irresistible right to claim that the Imperial Government should take such steps as will secure it against

1 C.O. 209, 217.

page 392 the serious consequences, external and internal, of foreign war, in the origination of which it has no voice and of which it will be compulsorily the passive victim. The present state of Europe makes this question one of vital import to the Colony, and Ministers feel it their duty to ask to be informed distinctly what measures of protection the Imperial Government will adopt, in case of war between England and any other nation.

“There appear to be two courses open—either that the Imperial Government should supply adequate defence, which does not now exist, or sanction an arrangement with foreign powers that in the event of war the colony would be treated as neutral. In making this representation, Ministers desire to reiterate the expression of the loyalty of the Colony to the Crown and of their anxiety that it should always be preserved as an integral portion of the Empire.”

Lord Kimberley wrote in reply: “If a British colony is to remain neutral when England is belligerent, the following among other questions would require to be considered: Could the other belligerent be expected to recognize that neutrality? Could the people of England be content to remain under the obligation of resenting injuries offered to that colony in time of peace? In what manner and in what terms is it proposed upon this hypothesis to define the connection between the home country and the colony, to which I am glad to notice that your Ministers reiterate their attachment?”1 In replying, the New Zealand ministers said that the object of their memorandum had been “not to recommend that in the event of war this colony should be treated as neutral, but humbly to represent in the immediate interests of the colony, either that the Imperial Government should in such cases adequately defend it, or secure its neutrality.”2

This and other related topics were to be discussed over a long period, but the main question whether New Zealand should remain a part of the Empire had been settled.

1 C.O. 209, 221.

2 See Cambridge History of the Empire, vol. vii, part II, chapter x (by the present writer).