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England and the Maori Wars

Chapter 3 — Outbreak Of War

page 67

Chapter 3
Outbreak Of War

The Governor, in a despatch of February 27, 1860, wrote: “Contrary to expectations … the chief Wiremu Kingi resisted the survey of the land purchased from the chief Teira at Waitara in the province of Taranaki. No violence was offered, but the unsettled state of the tribes both north and south of that district, and the continuance of the King movement, lead me to think it necessary to take every possible precaution to prevent bloodshed, the consequence of which it would be impossible to foresee…. Private letters are full of surmises and alarms, and talk of a war of races, but I do not put faith in them or anticipate any real opposition when the chief Wiremu Kingi sees that I am determined not to permit him to defy Her Majesty's Government.” Gore Browne stated that he had ordered H.M.S. Niger to proceed to Taranaki and would accompany a detachment of troops there himself. Volunteers would be called to protect Auckland in the absence of troops.

Gairdner, in the Colonial Office, wrote: “The issue of this case will depend on the spirit with which the other native chiefs act. If they are disaffected to any extent there will probably be a prolonged and tedious bush warfare.” The Duke of Newcastle's minute was: “Nothing more can be done at present than to express approval of the steps which the Governor has taken and hope that they may be successful. The affair is, I should fear, critical, but much will depend upon the settlers exercising as much discretion and forbearance as the Governor.1

It may be noted here that on June 17, 1860, Sir Frederic Rogers, who had been appointed Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in May, wrote to his mother, Lady Rogers: “You will have seen by the papers that we have New

1 C.O. 209, 153.

page 68 Zealand troubles ahead. The clergy of the English Church out there think us (the English) in the wrong, I fear. But the official accounts, coming through a Governor well inclined to protect the natives, seem to show that great care has been taken to keep us in the right, and that we are so. He, the Governor, asks for 8,000 troops, which is, of course, absurd. However, you need not say that.”1 The number of troops actually asked for by the Governor was 3,000, Sir Frederic's figure probably being misread. In the circumstances of the time with war between France and England threatening, either figure could well have appeared absurd, though even the larger was eventually to be greatly exceeded.

Sir Frederic went on to give an account of his relations with his chief: “I see very little of the Duke [of Newcastle]. The Duke works at home, comes down about three, is off to the House of Lords about four, and probably has two or three appointments in the meantime, so that it is very difficult to catch him at all, and you must dispose of what you have to say shortly and clearly when you see him; so far perhaps no bad thing. But then, when a thing has to be passed in a hurry, amended in progress, and so on, the absence of your chief, or his inaccessibility, is worrying. However, he is very ready to accept your conclusions, very clear in his own directions, and extremely careful (which I respect highly) never to turn back on a subordinate any shadow of responsibility for advice that he has once accepted.”

The Secretary of State's New Zealand policy was opposed by the Aborigines Protection Society, founded in 1838 by Sir T. F. Buxton and Dr. T. Hodgkin and supported by many members of Parliament. Here is one passage from its journal in 1860: “Even the Bishop of New Zealand says—‘My advice to the natives in all parts of New Zealand has always been to sell all the land which they are not able to occupy or cultivate. I had two reasons for this: first to avoid continual jealousies between the races; and secondly to bring the native population within narrower limits in order that religion, law, education, and civilization might be brought to bear more effectually upon them.’ We cannot doubt the sincerity and purity of in-

1 G. E. Marindin, op. cit., p. 227.

page 69 tention of the Bishop in giving this advice, but we may question its soundness and expediency upon his own shewing.”

Here is the Society's view of the Duke's attempt to solve the New Zealand problem by legislation: “The difficulties of the native land question … inevitably claimed the attention of the British Government, and a Bill was brought before Parliament from the Colonial Office with the express object of removing them. The Bill was evidently drawn with the intention to do good. Its failure to give satisfaction to the colonists' party sufficiently indicated that it afforded the natives some shelter from the colonists, but, when carefully examined, it no less clearly manifested that the rights of the natives were not placed on any solid foundation. The committee of the Aborigines Protection Society therefore regarded it as a duty incumbent upon it to explain to the Colonial Office the grounds on which it deprecated the passing of the Bill.

“What can be said in defence of a system by which, under pretence of protecting the natives, the Government practically levy a duty upon the sale of their lands amounting to thirty-nine-fortieths of their value? This is no exaggeration of the case, and the interdiction of the natives to sell, except to the Government, has become in practice—whatever it may have been in theory—a plan to keep down the prices at which the natives might sell to the Government.

“The constitution of the proposed Native Council is objectionable, because its members are to be exclusively the nominees of the Crown and removable at will…. Our most serious objection to the Bill is that, while it gives to the Council an almost unlimited power of interference with the natives, and especially with their lands, the natives themselves are entirely unrepresented in it.”

The Society suggested that one or more commissioners should be despatched from England, “armed, not only with the power necessary to institute an inquiry which will lay bare all the facts of the case, but also with the authority to adopt such remedial measures as circumstances may render desirable.” Commenting on the withdrawal of the Bill, the Society said this was probably due to the “more public opposition” to it.

Of the attitude of the missionaries in New Zealand the page 70 Society formed a very different opinion from that expressed by Sir F. Rogers in the letter we have quoted. “The position which the leading missionaries have taken up in connection with the present war in New Zealand,” stated the Society in its journal, “reflects the greatest credit upon their characters as Christian men.… The clergy, through their recognized leaders, have faithfully and earnestly exposed the injustice and oppression of which the authorities have been guilty. In the first instance they remonstrated with the local Government; they drew up protests; they appealed to the public conscience; but, unhappily, all in vain. Colonel Browne and his advisers had too deliberately entered upon the evil path, and old passions and hatreds had been too deeply aroused for the voice of reason and justice to exercise its legitimate authority. The clergy have, therefore, appealed from the lower tribunal to the higher, that is from the Governor to the Minister, from the inhabitants of the colony to the British people.”

Archdeacon Hadfield's “Letter to the Duke of Newcastle” was then reviewed. In it Hadfield wrote: “The question at issue is simply this—Is a native chief to be forcibly ejected from his land, because an individual member of his tribe tells a subordinate land-agent that it is his, and not the chief's, and that agent believes him? The Governor says ‘Yes’; the chiefs say ‘No.’” Also reviewed in the journal was Sir William Martin's pamphlet, The Taranaki Question. “We rejoice,” the reviewer stated, “to find that our opposition to the iniquitous Taranaki War is sustained by so unquestionable an authority.” The investigation of the Waitara purchase was “in every respect insufficient and irregular.” Sir William showed, it was contended, that “the whole weight of the evidence goes conclusively to prove that William King had no connection with either the land league or the King movement.” We must now turn to the dénouement of the Taranaki tragedy.

On February 22, 1860, Lieutenant-Colonel G. F. Murray, having received a letter from Wiremu Kingi from which it appeared that he was still determined to hold the land in dispute, made a momentous decision: “I have consequently deemed the moment to have arrived for putting into operation page 71 the instructions of His Excellency the Governor. I have accordingly this day published His Excellency's proclamation placing the district under martial law. I have also as directed instructed the officer commanding the militia to call out for active service the force under his command.” Wiremu Kingi's letter, dated February 21, ran: “You say that we have been guilty of rebellion against the Queen, but we consider that we have not because the Governor has said he will not entertain offers of land which are disputed. The Governor has also said that it is not right for one man to sell the land to Europeans, but that all the people should consent. You are now disregarding the good law of the Governor, and adopting a bad law.” Gore Browne's memorandum on this was: “This is an exceedingly clever letter, as the writer implies but does not assert that he has a claim to the land in question. A long and careful investigation has proved that he has no sort of claim either as proprietor or as a chief.” Before leaving for Taranaki, he had letters sent to Potatau and other chiefs explaining the circumstances. “The land is a small matter,” he wrote, “but the Governor will not allow W.Kingi to interfere with Teira in the disposal of his own property. The Governor has directed that Teira's land shall be surveyed and it will be surveyed.”

The Superintendent of Taranaki wrote to Colonel Gore Browne on February 24: “Your despatch intimating active hostilities against Wiremu Kingi created considerable sensation, but it has now subsided and the settlers generally are working on quietly and preparing for a struggle: goods, furniture, women and children, etc., are gathering so fast in the town that it must soon be full to overflowing.… I have no complaints; all are sensible that this visitation is a necessary evil and will in the end prove advantageous; indeed all hope that the Province may be rid of the ‘evil genius’ that for near twenty years has been its bane as well as a great annoyance to the General Government. Kingi, having successfully ‘bounced’ all previous Governors, expects to continue it to the end.”1

On March 2 the Governor reported that he had arrived at

1 C.O. 209, 153.

page 72 New Plymouth on the Airedale steamer on March I, and that H.M.S. Niger had arrived in the evening of the same day. The strength of the troops assembled in New Plymouth was: Officers 25, sergeants 34, drummers 9, and rank and file 380. Total 448. He had sent Parris1 and Rogan of the Native Department to see Wiremu Kingi “desiring him to come and see me, and giving him a written promise of safety under my own hand.” “These gentlemen,” he wrote, “were sent from place to place, and would not have succeeded in obtaining an interview with him, had it not been for Mr. Whiteley, a Wesleyan missionary, whom I requested to accompany them.” (Whiteley went some distance from the pa alone and succeeded in bringing the chief back.) “After a long desultory talk in which he asserted no proprietary claim to the land, he said he would either come or send his final decision to us to-day. The place to which he has retreated is far back in the woods, and exceedingly difficult of access, but enables him to command many straggling settlements recently occupied by Europeans, most of whom have taken refuge in the town. I have now the honour to forward a translation of his letter in reply, which is nothing but a mockery and a subterfuge to obtain time until he can get assistance. It is now my intention to request Colonel Gold to occupy the land at the mouth of the Waitara with Her Majesty's troops, taking every possible care to prevent a collision unless it is forced upon him. I shall there erect at the expense of the local Government a blockhouse large enough to hold a company of troops, and strong enough to be left in charge of twenty men. My future movements will depend on the conduct of Wiremu Kingi, but I am still in hope of being able to avoid bloodshed. I learn from the missionaries and others that the natives generally have been for some time alarmed by the most mischievous and unfounded reports of our intentions towards them—that they generally admit the justice of the course I have adopted, and would not think of interfering in favour of Wiremu Kingi were they not prompted to do so by their own fears and suspicions. To allay these fears

1 Parris “had been a small trader among the natives before he became Land Commissioner” (The War in New Zealand, by W. Fox, September 4, 1860).

page 73 as much as possible, I caused certain documents to be printed and circulated in Maori, of which a translation is enclosed.”

Kingi wrote in his letter: “I am afraid of your force, because you have brought soldiers with you into the town, and therefore I think you are angry with me.… The reason we have come to the Bush is because the settlers have gone to the Town.”1 On March 12 the Governor reported that Colonel Gold had marched to the Waitara with a force of 341 officers and men on the morning of March 5 and reached the encamping ground about 11 a.m. “I reached that place in H.M.S. Niger about four hours earlier. Some boats from the ship landed at once, and my private secretary, Captain Steward, Lieutenant Blake, R.N., and Mr. Rogan, native agent, seeing no one, advanced to meet the troops. They soon, however discovered a number of natives lying in ambush well concealed. After some talk with the native agent who told them they were between the troops and the sailors, they retired saying they would return. During the night Wiremu Kingi's natives built a pa commanding the road and the following morning stopped an escort coming into camp. On hearing of this I sent a message … saying that if they did not evacuate it in twenty minutes I should instruct the troops to fire on them. This had the desired effect and the pa which was found to have traverses and to be extraordinarily well designed, was burnt by the troops.” The Governor then returned to New Plymouth in the Niger, as he had been informed that Maoris from the south would attack the town at once. The force in the town at this time consisted of 300 militia and 26 regular troops. The Governor sent for the 65th Regiment, stationed at Wellington, directing the O.C. there to entrust the care of the town to the militia.

Fifty men, a six-pounder gun, and a twelve-pounder rocket-tube were also landed from the Niger. Europeans on the Tataraimaika block were recommended to go into the town and two blockhouses were erected to command the main roads and afford protection to stragglers. The native pa in the town was closed, and Maoris admitted by passes given only to those signing a declaration of allegiance to the Queen. “The

1 C.O. 209, 153.

page 74 whole of the population,” the Governor wrote, “is now assembled in the town and the militia and volunteers perform the ordinary military duties by day and by night with a good will which is deserving of the highest commendation.”1

On June 27, 1860, the Duke of Newcastle, in a despatch in reply, stated that “if the next reports should show that this insurrection is spreading, a regiment will be ordered to New Zealand without delay for the relief of the 65th, and you will be authorized to retain the latter regiment until the insurrection is put down. I have great confidence in the spirit of self-reliance shewn by the colonists on the late occasion as marked by the zeal and alacrity both of the militia and volunteers on this the first occasion after their enrolment on which they have been called out for duty.”1

On March 13 the Governor described the scene of operations and said: “It is difficult to imagine a country better adapted for the operations of savages whose strength lies in their power of penetrating fastnesses and taking advantage of every inequality to conceal themselves.” We may perhaps wonder why the Governor did not think of this before committing himself to a policy that made war inevitable.2

The difficulties of the country did not intimidate Colonel Gold. On March 19 he reported that Wiremu Kingi's party had erected another pa on the Government block of land for hostile purposes and had refused to abandon it on March 17: “The guns and rockets now opened upon the pa at about 750 yards; in half an hour I moved to the right to batter another face at shorter range, when the natives opened fire upon us. I again took the same direction and fired at about 300 yards. Having made considerable havoc on this side, and a swamp deterring our further progress, I took ground to the left, when a rash but daring movement of the volunteer horsemen occurred towards the pa. A heavy and well-sustained fire was then opened on us from two faces, on which occasion Mr. Sarlen of the mounted volunteers and two privates, 65th Regiment, were dangerously wounded. One of the latter, P. W. Corbett, I regret to say, is since dead. The enemy's musketry

1 C.O. 209, 153.

1 C.O. 209, 153.

2 Cf. Swainson, New Zealand and the War (1862).

page 75 was silenced by the guns, and I continued the movement as far as the road on which we had advanced in the morning.

“The troops were now halted and formed in close column covered by the guns. A line of entrenchment was then drawn out by Lieut. Mould, R.E., which the soldiers speedily converted into a suitable cover guided by the intelligent non-commissioned officers of the Royal Engineers. During this opportunity we were within good range of a rapid and continuous fire from rifles and musketry, and but for a kind Providence, might have sustained considerable loss. The guns were put in rear of the trenches, and it being nearly dark we laid down on our arms, the fire from the pa continuing nearly all night. On the morning of the 18th, as soon as there was sufficient light, the guns were advanced towards the stock-ades, covered by skirmishers of the 65th Regiment, who, with the Royal Engineers, soon threw up a trench in their front. Fire was then opened, after which another approach to about 50 yards, protected as before, was made, and a breach in the pa soon made, into which the troops entered at 40 minutes after 11 a.m., finding it, to their great disappointment, evacuated.” The Maoris had left their flag and several tons of potatoes.

On March 22 the Governor reported with much regret that a collision had taken place between the troops and the Maoris at Waitara. “It is now clear to me,” he wrote, “that Wiremu Kingi has been encouraged in his opposition by an assurance of formidable support, and that the question of the purchase of an insignificant piece of land is merged in the far greater one of nationality. I have insisted on this comparatively valueless purchase, because, if I had admitted the right of a chief to interfere between me and the lawful proprietors of the soil, I should soon have found further acquisition of territory impossible in any part of New Zealand. Even if the right of mana (viz. a feudal superiority without proprietary interest in the land) exists at all, Wiremu Kingi could neither possess nor exercise it, Potatau, the Chief of the Waikatos, having obtained it by conquest and sold all his claims at New Plymouth to the New Zealand Company.”

The Governor gave this as the real problem at issue: “The page 76 Maoris have seen with alarm the numerical increase of the Europeans and recognize with bitterness of heart their own decrease. … They talk and think of themselves as of a race dying out, and the King movement and the land leagues are only practical results of this feeling. … Tribes heretofore at deadly enmity with each other, and who would have gladly joined us to be revenged on their opponents, have buried their tribal quarrels and are ready to unite to arrest the progress of the Europeans and to throw off their dominion.” The Governor expressed the view that had a larger number of troops been kept in the colony the trouble might have been arrested. “The Maoris entertain but little respect for our numbers and believe that they cannot or will not be increased. Shot and shell are thrown away on their defences.” The Governor asked for a force of 3,000 men, a steam gunboat, and a steamer of war.1

The Sydney correspondent of The Times, in a report of April 16, published on June 13, 1860, wrote: “The native discontent in New Zealand has burst out into open insurrection. Notwithstanding that the Governor collected all the available naval and military resources at his command, and fully paraded them before any conflict began, Wiremu Kingi remained undaunted, and prepared for attack. There is a deliberateness and determination about his conduct which betokens a settled purpose and a long meditated scheme.” After describing the taking of Kingi's pa, the correspondent added: ‘The news that the natives had all escaped capture was heard with dismay by the colonists, who loudly condemned the commanding officer for not bringing his artillery into closer quarters at first, and ‘rushing’ the pa overnight, or, at least, surrounding it so as to prevent escape. … The natives, after recovering from their fright, began to construe the engagement as a victory and the effect of this indecisive action on the native mind was soon seen. Manahi, a Taranaki chief, who had quite recently taken the oath of allegiance, began with his men to plunder the neigh-

1 C.O. 209, 153. The Secretary of State's reply to this urgent despatch of March 22 was not written till July 26, more than four months later (see below, p. 79). The long delays in communication between the two countries greatly hampered administration. They also increase the difficulties of writing a connected narrative of events.

page 77 bourhood.” A party of volunteers which went out to the aid of settlers still in the bush received, the correspondent went on, little support from the regulars under Colonel Murray, and the want of harmony between the two forces “created a very bitter feeling in the small community of New Plymouth.” The volunteers complained that they were cruelly abandoned while bearing the brunt of fighting at Waireka, while the regulars contended that the volunteers were always getting into useless scrapes and expecting the soldiers to get them out again. “The Governor, in order to moderate the vehemence of the prevalent feeling, has personally besought the editors of the local journals not to discuss the subject.”

On March 30 the Governor reported that hostile Maori tribes had approached New Plymouth from the south. On March 27 three settlers and two boys who had gone into the country to look after cattle were savagely murdered, and on the following morning the hostile tribes came close to the stockade at Omata, “danced the war dance and fired some shots at it.” A force of volunteers sent to relieve a blockhouse had been attacked by the Maoris. They were reinforced by sailors from the Niger and after a long fight captured the Maori pa at Waireka. Four sailors were wounded and sixteen Maoris killed. “It is evident that other combinations may be made against us and that a trial of strength between the two races will take place unless I am able to prevent the junction of the powerful tribes living on the Waikato and their allies with those now in arms against us. The provincial authorities are making arrangements to send away as many women and children as possible to Nelson, as they look forward to protracted troubles.” The Governor added that he had obtained a small steamer to enable him to keep up communication with the detachment at Waitara—no longer possible by land.1

The resentment of the settlers at the tactics employed by the Maoris is reflected by the Taranaki Herald, which wrote on April 7: “These tribes have chosen to make war upon us, race against race, to murder, plunder, and destroy, and we owe it to the righteous cause which united us, and our own

1 C.O. 209, 153. For gallantry in the engagement at Waireka, William Odgers, leading seaman, received the Victoria Cross.

page 78 courage and self-reliance, that the day of trial was disastrous to them. There can be no peace or truce with murderers and assassins. Each native engaged against us at Waireka was at heart a murderer and assassin, without pretext or provocation, and we are at liberty at any time or place to do our best to extirpate them as any other animals of wild and ferocious natures. Their lives and lands are the forfeit of such unprovoked and wicked aggression, and we devoutly trust that no mistaken leniency will allow of these natives escaping at least the latter penalty…. Land is the only property a native has, and if he can play rebel without forfeiting his possessions there is nothing to check or restrain him.”

On April 6 Major-General Pratt, Officer Commanding at Headquarters, Melbourne, informed Governor Gore Browne that he had sent 3 officers and 125 rank and file of the 12th Regiment, and 1 officer and 40 rank and file of the Royal Artillery as a reinforcement to Taranaki.

On April 24, Gore Browne reported that he had sent agents to the Waikato to correct false reports. He had also consulted with Colonel Mould, the commanding Royal Engineer, concerning the defences of Auckland. “Reports of an intended attack upon Auckland by the powerful tribes on the Waikato had caused a panic as general and extreme as it was groundless,” he remarked. “These fears were scarcely dissipated when it was reported to me that friendly natives were insulted in the town, that a canoe with a large number of natives, passing one of the Pensioner villages, narrowly escaped being fired into, and that the natives friendly and unfriendly were viewed with a feeling so bitter that unless something was done to prevent it, collision would be inevitable and the whole native population would be in arms against us.” The Governor stated that he had published a notification on the subject.1 The next day he reported to the Secretary of State that this notice asking for friendly treatment of individual Maoris in Auckland had drawn the following comment from the Auckland Examiner: “How dare he publish a request to the inhabitants of Auckland, even a request, that they should endeavour to conciliate brown-skinned ruffians whose recent conduct is a standing

1 C.O. 209, 153.

page 79 menace to the peaceable and well disposed traders of this city.” The Governor made this comment: “False reports, calumny, unfounded assertions, the offspring of fear, ignorance, malice, the love of gossip, and, I must add, the injudicious zeal of some who are most friendly to the Maoris, cannot be spread far and wide over the land without engendering such a crop of passions as will make the maintenance of peace exceedingly difficult, if not altogether impossible.”1

For defence Auckland was divided into five districts, each of which was to furnish a company of militia. In addition, a volunteer force of nearly 400 men, a mounted volunteer troop of about 43 men, 160 men of the 65th Regiment, and 40 marines formed the garrison of the town.

In a despatch of July 26, 1860, the Secretary of State in reply to the Governor's request for 3,000 additional troops, wrote: “England cannot undertake the defence against a nation of war-like savages of a number of scattered farms and villages selected not with any view to such defence but to the profitable pursuit of peaceful industry…. A policy which requires the continual presence of a large force carries, in most cases, its condemnation on its face. I cannot refrain from observing,” the Secretary of State continued, “that neither your despatches nor Mr. Richmond's memorandum2 indicate any definite intention on the part of the colonists to contribute to the expense of the troops whom they demand, that the volunteering appears to be confined to the particular localities threatened, and that Mr. Richmond, while calling upon the Home Government to adopt the expenses of war, does not even hint at the propriety of investing it with any larger powers than they at present possess for dealing with the native question out of which these expenses arise…. I allude to these circumstances not, of course, as relieving the Home Government from the duty of supporting the Colony against a pressing danger, but because they must materially affect the disposition of the British Government and people to undertake that indefinite expen-

1 C.O. 209, 153. Cf. Henry Sewell's MS. Journal, April 5, 1859: “Colonial newspapers are as a class little better than public sewers through which streams of party and personal virulence flow.”

2 On native affairs. In C.O. 209, 153.

page 80 diture of blood and treasure to which Mr. Richmond invites them.”1

Reviewing the progress of the King movement in a despatch of April 27, Gore Browne stated that two tribes unconnected with the Waikatos had tendered their allegiance and presented their lands to the league of which the King is the nominal head. Great exertions had been made to obtain similar adhesions from other tribes. “The King's Council,” he wrote, “openly assume the right to decide on the justice of my proceedings, and consider whether or not they will aid a chief in rebellion against Her Majesty's Government. A large sum has been subscribed and given to a disaffected European for a printing press to be conducted by him. A flag has been designed and hoisted and an abortive attempt made at Kawhia to levy customs in the King's name…. I cannot but think the occurrences at Taranaki fortunate because, to use the expression adopted at the King meeting, ‘it has led to the discovery of the Pa before the builders have had time to complete it.’ It is well known that Potatau, who is blind with age and very infirm, represents only the most moderate of the King's party, and that his power to control those who advocate war and a return to indiscriminate slaughter in prosecuting it, is very uncertain.” The Governor said he had asked all the chiefs to meet him at Auckland on July 2.2

T. H. Smith, the native agent who visited the Waikato tribes for the Governor, reported that he had met Potatau at Ngaruawahia. The Taranaki and Ngatiruanui tribes had sent representatives to tender allegiance to the Maori King. In their speeches in reply the Waikato chiefs “broadly hinted that by the proceedings at Taranaki the Governer had committed an aggression on the Maori people and violated the principles which Potatau and the Ngaruawahia party had adopted, and by which universal peace and good will was to prevail.” “I am impressed,” the Governor said, “with the conviction that the Maori King movement, so far from dying out, is assuming

1 C.O. 209, 153. The despatch was written by Sir. G. C. Lewis in the absence of the Duke of Newcastle in America with the Prince of Wales. The principle that England could not undertake the defence of scattered farms was approved by The Times on January 23, 1861.

2 C.O. 209, 153.

page 81 proportions which make it an object of the most serious attention on the part of the Government…. I believe that its leaders perfectly understand the task they have set themselves to accomplish—the achievement of a national independence.”1

Sir William Denison, the Governor of New South Wales, took a somewhat different view of the situation: “You have now as a fact,” he wrote to Gore Browne on May 16, “something analogous to a General Government among the Maoris, a recognition on their part of the necessity of some permanent authority. This is a step in the right direction; do not ignore it; do not, on the ground that some evil may possibly arise out of it, make the natives suspicious of your motives by opposing it, but avail yourself of the opportunity to introduce some more of the elements of good government among them.” A copy of this letter was sent by Denison to the Duke of Newcastle.2

On March 20 the Provincial Council of Hawke's Bay had passed a resolution recording its full and entire sympathy with the province of Taranaki “at present under martial law owing to the meddling of disaffected aborigines,” and thanking the Governor for his able and efficient aid. This resolution brought a strong protest from the Bishop of New Zealand, G. A. Selwyn, “because martial law was proclaimed at Taranaki before a single native was known to have taken up arms against the Government and when no offence had been given by the natives, beyond an unarmed obstruction of the work of the surveyors.” The Bishop urged the setting up of a regular tribunal for settling land questions, with the usual safeguards against partiality or error, that is—evidence on oath, arguments of counsel, and a right of appeal.3

In a memorandum on his protest, the Governor's responsible ministers wrote: “It should be remembered that the Philanthropist, notwithstanding the high ground he takes, which given him perhaps an undue advantage in public opinion over those who are discharging the ordinary duties of life, is often found to be liable, even beyond other men, to the disturbing influences of prejudice and passion.” “Looking to the whole

1 C.O. 209. 153.

2 Sir W. Denison, Varieties of Vice-Regal Life (1870).

3 C.O. 209, 154.

page 82 tenor of the Bishop's letter, and to the attitude of open opposition to the Governor which His Lordship has unfortunately assumed, in reference to the Waitara land question,” ministers defined that attitude as being:
  • (1) That Wiremu Kingi's right was not fully and fairly inquired into;
  • (2) That military force was prematurely employed to take possession of the land at Waitara;
  • (3) That the interest of the natives of the Taranaki district had been sacrificed in the transaction in the interest of the European settlers.

Ministers asserted that Wiremu Kingi had never put forward “any proprietary or other claim of a nature that could be recognized by the British Government to the land on the south bank of the Waitara.” “It is well known,” they stated, “that when Kingi in 1848 deserted his pa and cultivation at Waikanae and was moving northward to Taranaki Sir George Grey forbade him to settle on the south bank of the Waitara. But Kingi, having first obtained the permission of Raru Teira's father to build his pa on the south bank, disregarded the Governor's prohibition and now pretends to claim Waitara in virtue of a species of conquest achieved by his defiant return.” Ministers added that the Bishop's anxiety for an effective land tribunal could not exceed their own or that of the Governor. The difficulty of establishing such a tribunallay, they contended, with the natives themselves.

Addresses of congratulation on his policy were tendered to the Governor by the Provincial Councils of Canterbury, Wellington, and Taranaki and by the residents of Wanganui, Nelson, and Auckland. In the Journal of Henry Sewell, for April 23, 1860, we read: “After the most careful and dispassionate consideration of the case, I came to the conclusion that what has been done has been right (and so far as one can predict the future) for the best.” This judgment shows that it would be unsafe to condemn summarily Gore Browne's handling of a difficult situation.

The Times, in a leading article on June 18, said: “Nobody can be surprised at the sensation created by the report of the insurrection in New Zealand. It is not merely that a success- page 83 ful and promising settlement is menaced with injury, but a great political question is opened for practical solution exactly at the moment that it had been proposed for theoretical debate. How should the military defence of our colonies be conducted? That is the inquiry which has recently occupied the attention of statesmen, and now, at the very nick of time, comes a colonial war, demanding, no doubt, all our vigilance and activity, but inviting also our acutest observation and most impartial judgment. The experience of this occasion, if judiciously employed, may do more to resolve the problem before us than twenty years of conjecture and discussion.

“Twice during the brief campaign did differences of opinion arise between the commanders of the regulars and the colonial volunteers, and twice was it proved by the event that the volunteers were in the right…. Without any intention, therefore, of impugning the strategy of our regular officers, which was probably in strict accordance with military rules, we think it impossible to deny that the tactics of the colonial volunteers were better adapted to the actual exigencies of the war in hand. We observe also that the alacrity of the colonists in the duty of self-defence was most remarkable, and it had received, indeed, a well-merited tribute at the hands of the Colonial Secretary…. Seeing that the colonists are in point of numbers so fairly matched with the natives, in point of zeal so unexceptionally animated, and in point of military ability so manifestly excellent, we may certainly ask why forces less fitted for the work should be despatched from a distance of 15,000 miles to supersede the settlers in the business of self-defence? We are not arguing absolutely against the maintenance of a military establishment in those parts. The single regiment which is stationed in New Zealand will doubtless do good service, notwithstanding the unlucky beginning just announced, but it does seem to us that, if the war should continue, we might do far better by improving such material as the colony undoubtedly contains than by sending fresh battalions across the globe to take the place of volunteers on the spot. A cargo of Enfield rifles, a battery of Armstrong guns, a few light ships of war off the coast, and some hearty words of encouragement and sympathy from home, would, we think, put the colonists page 84 in a position to dispense in a great measure with the aid of regular troops. In a few words, we would rather see the organization of volunteers extended than the establishment of regulars increased…. The colonists understand the natives and the country; they have the natural intelligence of volunteer soldiers, every man of them fights for his own land, and they soon engraft the subtlety of the savage upon the hereditary valour of the Saxon…. If we compare with this policy the best illustration of the opposite system—viz. the state of things at the Cape, we shall find nothing to prefer in the plan of ‘Imperial’ campaigning. After a succession of costly and troublesome wars, we only contrived to secure peace and quietness by maintaining an establishment equal to a regular army. At one time there were ten fine regiments there, being about as many as it is thought we could array against an invader at home. What made the matter worse was, that the very settlers who, with proper encouragement would have done all this duty, acquired by these proceedings a direct interest in getting it done for them. The colonists, instead of becoming volunteers, became contractors, and the supply of the enormous military establishment became a material item in the trade of the colony.1 We trust we shall not see such arrangements reproduced in New Zealand. The colonists may depend upon every necessary succour from home. The mother-country will never see them overmatched or discomfited, but, as they have evidently such perfect ability and such hearty good will to stand on their own defence, it would be but a poor compliment in us to insist on taking the work out of their hands.”

On June 27, 1860, the Governor forwarded a report by Donald Maclean after a great meeting of Maoris at Ngaruawahia on the Waikato and also one from Mr. Turton, a resident magistrate.* “These reports show,” he said, “how

1 Cf. The Times, February 27, 1849, quoted in Canada and the British Army (C.P. Stacey), p. 47: “It had often been calculated,” it remarked in a leading article on the Kaffir War then in progress, “that Canada was enriched by her outbreak, and that the blood our soldiers shed was amply compensated for by the money they circulated.” Stacey traces the hand of Robert Lowe, “that arch-Little-Englander,” in The Times leading articles of this and subsequent years on colonial affairs.

page 85 widely disaffection has spread throughout the Southern tribes. An intense desire to maintain a separate and distinct nationality, mixed with fear and alarm at the increase of Europeans, is doubtless at the root of it; their fears have been worked on by designing or disaffected Europeans sometimes through the Press, but more generally by persons termed Pakeha Maoris.”

Maclean's report stated that the main object of the meeting was “to confirm Potatau Te Wherowhero as King and to erect his flag.” Those present were mainly from the Waikato, Taupo, and Manuka tribes, and there were no “deputies of distinction” from any of the more distant tribes. The total attendance was about 3,000 of whom about 1,200 were males capable of bearing arms. The Upper Waikato party was asked by the speaker of the Lower Waikatos to disclose whether war was intended with the Europeans generally or whether it should be confined to Taranaki. “The Upper Waikato,” Maclean stated, “would not disclose their ultimate intentions. They expressed discontent with the Governor for not consulting Potatau and the Waikato native assessors before he declared war.” Wiremu Nero denounced the proceedings of those responsible for the meeting on the ground that it was uncalled for.1 Other speakers also declared themselves friendly to the Europeans. The Maoris were of three classes: (1) The large majority were staunch adherents of the King movement: (2) Moderate adherents to it, while its object was the preservation of distinct nationality, the retention of land, the adjustment of grievances and the preservation of peace: (3) Opponents of the movement from a conviction that it was not calculated to promote any permanent good. “The first class,” Maclean said, “will fight to the last in support of the King movement, and will seize any opportunity or pretext for a general war.” Maclean addressed the gathering and emphasized that the Governor had decided to buy the Waitara land only after the closest investigation.

In his report Maclean went on: “A New Zealand chief like Potatau, who could always lead several thousand warriors into the field, and who is, moreover, proud and sensitive, must often have felt the restraints imposed by intercourse with Europeans, and the little attention paid to him in an English

1 C.O. 209, 154.

page 86 town, compared with what he was accustomed to receive from his own people, whose displays of hospitality are so congenial to native ideas. And though fully prepared to admit and to appreciate the many advantages to be derived from intercourse with Europeans, these would scarcely be regarded by him or indeed by any of the higher chiefs who attain Potatau's age as sufficient compensation for the relinquishment of many of their long cherished associations and customs. Nor is it easy to foresee how these feelings can be overcome unless the chiefs are invited to take a more prominent part, subject to Government control, in the management of the various tribes owing allegiance to them.”

Here the following Colonial Office minute appears on the margin: “This is the natural course, and is that suggested by Sir W. Denison.”

Maclean's report continued: “Indeed it may be safely assumed that the King movement is not supported so much with a view to the regaining of national independence, but as a means of exacting such a recognition of their rights as may ensure the preservation of the declining influence and power of their chieftainship. The King movement is more remote in its origin than is generally supposed. The earliest attempt to establish a King was suggested by Samuel Marsden, the founder of the New Zealand mission. The proposal was at first favourably entertained by some of the Ngapuhi chiefs. but failed in consequence of inter-tribal jealousies…. Te Heuheu of Taupo remarked to me fifteen years ago that he was king of the interior, and that the Tongariro mountain was his backbone; that the inferior tribes residing upon the sea-coast might sell their lands, but that he would neither alienate his, nor submit to British rule. Iwikau, his brother, the present Heuheu, informed me that Heke had advised him, years before that time, not to alienate any land, and to watch with jealousy the increase of the Europeans. Subsequently, about ten (?7) years ago, Matene Te Whiwhi attempted to raise a King's standard, and visited Taupo, Rotorua, and other parts of the interior to enlist people in the cause, writing to the Waikato to join.”1 Maclean said that the Maoris were “labouring under the in-

1 Buddle gives 1852 as the date of Te Whiwhi's movement.

page 87 fatuated superstitious belief that they will be favoured by Providence in all encounters with the Europeans, which are undertaken for the purpose of regaining the sovereignty and independence of land inherited by them from their ancestors.” He added that the King party now had “councillors, magistrates, constables and one native surveyor,” while one of their number was drawing up a code of laws, adapting that issued recently by the Government in Maori.1

“You will find Mr. Maclean's report very interesting,” wrote Gairdner in a minute to Elliot. “It contains no very new feature, but brings out the present state of the New Zealand natives very clearly. The present King movement, if skilfully managed, might most probably be turned to good account, but it is very doubtful if there is any one in New Zealand at present capable of successfully working out such a policy. Mr. Maclean understands them well, but he is only a subordinate officer.”2 In this minute we may perhaps see the first signs of the Colonial Office policy which was to lead to the return to New Zealand of Sir George Grey.

On July 6, 1860, Gore Browne reported that Wiremu Kingi had left his stronghold in the bush and built a pa within a mile of the English camp at the Waitara and on June 23 his men fired on a reconnoitring party sent out by Major Nelson. “When Colonel Gold received information of this,” the Governor wrote, “he reinforced the troops at the Waitara and instructed Major Nelson ‘to teach the troublesome natives a lesson they will not easily forget.’ Accordingly, on June 27, Major Nelson, with a force consisting of 348 men of all ranks, made an attack upon the new pa. After a severe and gallant conflict he was obliged to retire with a loss of 30 killed and 34 wounded. Considering the difficulty which Colonel Gold himself experienced (on March 17) in the capture of a pa built in a very inferior manner in a single night, the prudence of an attack upon this pa with so small a force, without support or co-operation from New Plymouth, seems doubtful…. This reverse is likely to have a prejudicial effect upon our relations with the Maori races generally and it is not easy to foretell the

1 C.O. 209, 154. Cf. Saunders, History of New Zealand, I, pp. 396–7.

2 C.O. 209, 154.

page 88 consequences.” The Governor added that he had sent reinforcements to Colonel Gold, leaving Auckland protected only by the militia, volunteers, and 120 regular troops. Colonel Gold stated that he had not ordered an attack on the pa, but had left the matter to the discretion of Major Nelson.

The Times of September 13, 1860, printed news from the Sydney Morning Herald of the further outbreak of war and the Herald's comment: “The die is cast. It is plain that we have a foe to deal with who is not to be despised; it is equally so that he must be put down at all cost.” The Taranaki Herald, quoted in the same issue, said: “There were men present cool enough to see that the British honour was not only sustained but exalted by this fierce struggle. The great numerical superiority of the natives only made it necessary for our troops to retire. Officers and men fought with steadiness and energy under a fire which an Indian officer compares to that at Feroze-shah and Sobraon, and which a soldier of the Crimea states to have been hotter than that in the Redan…. The enemy, too, showed unexpected resolution, and have proved the first body of men able to meet the British bayonet…. The large army assembled about Kingi is a fine comment upon the policy of our Government, which stands trifling with mild addresses and Maori Parliaments, while the men whom it seeks to conciliate gather by the thousand, with arms in hand, to give that dignity to the deliberations of their senators which belongs to a sense of their power…. India might have taught what New Zealand is repeating that the most tremulous hand makes the bloodiest work.”

On September 14 The Times published an account of the engagement from a Melbourne correspondent: “The conduct of Colonel Gold is severely censured in the accounts which have reached us…. It is said that he was hissed by his own men of the 65th when ordering a retreat. It is impossible to believe that an old officer of his standing wants mere animal courage, but I fear it will be found that he is deficient both in judgment and energy, and on this as well as on a former occasion, he got bewildered by his difficult position…. The sentiment of the Australian colonies is now almost universally enlisted in the cause of the New Zealand settlers, and there is hardly any page 89 sacrifice which would not be made to promote the complete establishment of the Queen's authority.” The Sydney correspondent of The Times, in a despatch printed on the same day, said that all but about 120 soldiers had been sent to NewZealand and that no volunteer force had been raised to act in place of the regulars. Two French regiments were due shortly en route to New Caledonia, and speculations were being made on the result of a sudden breach with France.1

The Times, in a leading article on September 14, said: “The news from New Zealand which we published yesterday is only too fully confirmed, and will create a very painful impression in this country. We had a right to expect that the reputation of the British arms would not be again risked at so critical a time without ample provision against the possibility of failure.” The Times ascribed the failure of the attack to “the old Anglo-Saxon tendency to undervalue our enemies,” and the tardiness of Colonel Gold, who did not bring up his force of three hundred men.

Discussing the New Zealand question on September 17, The Times said: “Had things been allowed to take their own course, New Zealand might still have been in the possession of the aborigines, or we might have seen the Emperor of the French engaged on a still larger scale in the work he has undertaken in New Caledonia, to which we observe he has just despatched two fresh regiments. The people, however, who wished to colonize New Zealand were not so easily put off. As the Home Government did not choose to colonize the island, they colonized it themselves, and by this means and by the exertion of a considerable amount of Parliamentary interest they succeeded in forcing the recognition of the Colony on the Home Government. Thus it was that we have become involved in the barbarous politics of New Zealand, and are compelled to support by military force an occupation which we so long opposed…. Their contests with our troops of the line, and perhaps the observations they have made on the peculiar abilities of the colonels who command them, have given the

1 The Times of November 11, 1860, recorded that the French transport Sibylla arrived at New Caledonia with 600 soldiers on August 20, without calling at Sydney. The war steamer Coetlagon, which called on September 13, had only 24 soldiers on board.

page 90 natives the most unbounded contempt for our regular forces. It is a common saying among them that they will fight the blue-jackets themselves, but that their old women are able to beat the soldiers…. Of course, we shall expect to hear that Colonel Gold has been promoted for his services, and that had it not been for his masterly dispositions, we should not have had to pay for our defeat so small a number of valuable lives as we appear to have lost.”

In a letter to The Times, dated December 4, and published on February 19, 1861, Gold, now Major-General, wrote: “For a considerable time I have passed over unnoticed the unfounded abuse of a portion of the colonial press, smarting under the mildest possible administration of martial law, being quite satisfied that my friends in this country would know the truth in all its bearings; but when I find The Times adopting their expressions I think it is high time to request you will do me the justice to state that, with reference to your article on Major Nelson's attack on the Waikato Pa at the Waitara, I had neither the knowledge that such would take place, nor had I arranged any combined movement whatever with him. I had the day before sent him all the reinforcements I could spare from New Plymouth. It is true that I made a reconnaissance as far as Mahoitai, where I was anxious to form an outpost, but (independent of the river being impassable) I could not have advanced further without endangering the town and its 2,000 women and children. As to your remark that this was not the first instance of tardiness on my part, I am quite unconsciouss of ever having merited such a severe accusation at your hands.”

Major A. A. Nelson, brother of the Major Nelson in New Zealand, replied to this letter in the issue of February 20: “Documents in my possession enable me to assert that the attack was not made without the Major-General's knowledge.” On May 11, 1861, The Taranaki Herald discussed the affair and strongly supported Major Nelson's version.1 M. S. Grace,

1 The verdict of J. W. Fortescue on the engagement is: “The whole proceeding was one of almost criminal folly” (History of the British Army, XIII, p. 478). Major-General Gold, on promotion, retired from active service in New Zealand on October 1, 1860. He had served with the 65th for 32 years—in British Guiana, Barbados, Canada (during the rebellion), Ireland, England, and Australia.

page 91 who arrived shortly after the engagement, states, however, that “the general impression in both camps was that Major Nelson had neither rejected nor much desired Colonel Gold's co-operation,” meaning to score “off his own bat.”1

On July 1, 1860, Colonel Gold wrote from New Plymouth to the Deputy-Adjutant General, Melbourne, emphasizing “the urgent and absolute necessity” for reinforcements: “I am now in a position involving great risk to this town if I leave it without a strong garrison of regulars, as the militia troops armed are not drilled, and the rebels are cunning in tactics, quick in their movements, and armed with double-barrelled guns or rifles. I regret to say that the artillery at my disposal are comparatively useless for attacking pas.2 On July 13 Major-General Pratt informed Sir Henry Barkly, Governor of Victoria, that he intended to proceed himself, with a portion of his staff, to New Zealand, as a temporary measure, “to make all military arrangements for the general defence of the Northern Island, in communication with the Governor and the local authorities.” In acknowledging the letter Sir H. Barkly wrote on July 16: “There is every disposition on the part of my advisers and of the legislature to act with the utmost liberality on this occasion and to manifest their sympathy with those who are called on to sustain the honour of the British name in the sister colony.” In a despatch of July 19, 1860, he reported that “the unfortunate accounts received of the progress of the war under Colonel Gold's auspices, added to the renewed appeals of that officer and of the Governor for further succour, rendered it incumbent on Major-General Pratt to send down the Head Quarters of the same (40th) Regiment under Lieut.-Colonel Leslie, whilst the absence of unanimity which seems to prevail between the different branches of the Service, no less than the want of confidence among the New Zealand colonists and the alarming aspect of affairs generally in the Northern Island, left the Major-General no alternative but to proceed in person for a time at any rate to the scene of action.”

“The arrangements thus made,” Sir Henry continued, “have

1 A Sketch of the New Zealand War (1899), p. 37. Grace was a staff assistant surgeon.

2 W.O. 33/16.

page 92 been regarded as so inevitable and proper that notwithstanding the disturbed aspect of European affairs at the last accounts, no objection has been raised from any quarter. On the other hand, they have led, I am happy to state, to the display of a large amount of loyal enthusiasm on the part of the inhabitants generally, and have served to determine my advisers at length to propose to the Legislature the repeal of the clause of the Volunteer Act which limits the number whose services the Governor may accept to 2,000 men, and to engage them further to put a considerably larger sum for the fortification of Port Philip on the estimates of 1861 than is available for the purpose during the present year.” Thus two immediate effects of the Taranaki War were the strengthening of ties between Victoria and New Zealand and a greater willingness on the part of the Victorian Government to undertake defence measures. The Governor concluded by repeating previous warnings about the danger to which the colony was exposed by being left divested of all regular military and naval protection. His despatch and one of similar purport by Sir William Denison, Governor of New South Wales, dated July 21, were referred to the War Office.1
General Pratt arrived at New Plymouth on August 3. On September 8 he wrote to the Military Secretary, New Zealand: “The state of the Taranaki province…is most deplorable; the settlers are driven in from their farms, their property destroyed, and in many instances their homes burnt. They bear their losses with great fortitude, and are most uncomplaining, and I do trust they will be compensated for their losses at some future time. The natives in arms against British authority have adopted a system of warfare which they have never before resorted to since this country has been occupied by us, viz. to move about in small parties, with the avowed intention of murdering every European they can meet, and thus driving them out of the country; and the nature of the country, affording concealment in every bush, enables them to carry this out without loss to themselves. The Maori King movement is agitating the native mind to an extent unknown before, and though the powerful Waikato tribes are wavering, any untoward event may make

1 C.O. 309, 52.

page 93 it most formidable, and as far as I can understand the war here may be considered as only commencing, and will not be put down without large reinforcements from England; these have been asked for many months ago, and I trust will soon arrive…. Having now been a month in New Zealand I am enabled to state that the nature of the war has no parallel in any other part of the world, from the dense bush, ravines and swamps, which the natives can crawl through, and our troops cannot follow.”

In a despatch of July 6, 1860, Gore Browne reported that he had received news of the death of Potatau, the Maori “King.” On July 31 he reported that Potatau's son would probably be appointed his successor. William Swainson, in his book New Zealand and the War (1862), records that Potatau received a Government pension up to March 31, 1860, and that on November 11 of that year £1 17s. was paid on account of coffin furniture for him. The continuance of the pension is a little difficult to reconcile with the Governor's policy, but it may have been prompted by a desire to keep the King as inactive as possible.

In his speech at the opening of the General Assembly on July 30 the Governor said: “My thanks are due to the Governments of the neighbouring colonies for the efficient aid which they have rendered on this occasion and particularly to the Government of Victoria, which promptly despatched to my assistance its fine armed steamer.” On July 31 the Governor, in reporting to the Colonial Office Major-General Pratt's intention to proceed with reinforcements direct to Taranaki, enclosed a copy of his letter to the General in which he had stated that the Maoris, “aided by the strength of their country and fighting in their own fashion,” were “brave and formidabel enemies.” “They boast with some truth,” he said, “that since our first arrival in the colony the British troops have gained no decided advantage over them, though our arms have always been immeasurably superior and our numbers often in excess of theirs.”

The Times of November 14, 1860, contained more than three columns of New Zealand war news from correspondents in Melbourne and Sydney. The Melbourne despatch was dated September 25: “General Pratt, on his arrival, did not im- page 94 mediately assume command of the troops. He found that the commanding officer was fettered in his operations by strict instructions from the Governor, Colonel Gore Browne—so much so as to justify the General in expressing an opinion that Colonel Gold could not have acted otherwise than he did. The forces of all arms at the commanding officer's disposal amount to 2,500 effectives, and the insurgent natives are supposed not to reach that number. It is further stated that General Pratt intimated that unless the Governor would give him carte blanche as to the conduct of the war, he would decline the responsibility of the command and return to Melbourne, and that the Governor had yielded to this condition. The General was quite right in having his position clearly defined…. The General Assembly has been called together at Auckland, and we are indebted to that circumstance for some very important disclosures, and for a general expression of opinion which we should otherwise have remained without. These disclosures impart to the war a character different from that which I communicated in former letters. A belief is gaining ground among a large number of the settlers that the war is unjust; that Governor Browne has committed a great error; that he has wantonly departed from principles which he himself had laid down for conducting the purchase of land; that Teira, from whom he purchased the disputed block, had no title to it; and lastly, that by mistranslation or unskilful use of the Maori language, what he intended as a proclamation of martial law (itself wholly illegal and beyond his powers) was really a declaration of war, and would be so understood by the natives and by every person acquainted with the Maori language…. Even admitting that the taking of the disputed block of land was an act of gross spoliation, it cannot be acknowledged as a valid ground for open rebellion. Thus the Governor has reduced the Crown to this false position—that it is compelled to make its power manifest at the expense of its character of justice…. Teira's right, if any, is simply a right to occupy a small portion, I believe about 1/60th part of the rock which in native language is named ‘Te Porepore,’ of which the tribal title is in W. Kingi, while the individual claims of himself and family are far larger than Teira's.”

page 95

The literal translation of the Governor's proclamation was given by the correspondent as follows: “Because soon will be commenced the work of the soldiers of the Queen against the natives of Taranaki, who are haughty (rebellious), fighting against the authority of the Queen. Now I, the Governor, do openly proclaim and publish this word, that the fighting law will extend at this time to Taranaki as a fixed law, until the time when it shall be revoked by proclamation.”1

“Now this proclamation,” the correspondent wrote, “is not directed solely against Kingi's party in arms at Waitara, but is extended to all the parties at Taranaki who are alleged to be fighting against the Queen, although at that time (January 27, 1860) not only had no fighting taken place, but no open act of rebellion had been committed…. It cannot be wondered at that the tribes who were denounced as rebels fighting against the Queen (an undoubted falsehood) should at once make common cause with Wiremu Kingi. Denounced as rebels, they had nothing to lose and much to gain by becoming rebels.”

The Sydney correspondent, in his despatch dated September 21, took a different view of the rights of Teira and Kingi: “The Government has justified itself by publishing as Parliamentary papers all the documents connected with the title of the land and Wiremu Kingi's claims. The defence is complete. Kingi was a fugitive when the British first colonized New Zealand, having been driven out by the Waikatos, and settled down near Port Nicholson. It was only under the shelter of the British that he was able to return to his ancestral acres; and when he did go back he stood in such awe of the Waikatos that he was afraid to live on his own land, and got leave to build his pa on Teira's block, because that put a river between him and the foes he dreaded, and brought him nearer to the British settlement. Yet this is the man who now pretends to claim feudal rights, which are inconsistent with the treaty of Waitangi, and which neutralize the Queen's sovereignty…. Had the Governor yielded to his threats he would have acknowledged a power in the island greater than the Queen's.”

1 For an exposition of the difficulty of translating English ideas into Maori terminology, see F. M. Keesing, The Changing Maori, PP. 61-2.

page 96

On November 15 The Times commented on the discrepancy between the different accounts of the case: “As for the original dispute, its merits are as inscrutable as the sources of the Nile or the causes of the Trojan War, so hopelessly is it overlaid by the subtleties of Maori jurisprudence and the operation of subsequent aggressions on both sides…. The Home Government may have had good reasons for declining to send extraordinary succours, but we cannot acquit of the gravest indiscretion those in New Zealand whose inopportune scruples weaken the hands of the Government. It is a first rule in dealing with all lawless outbreaks, from a school rebellion to a political émeute, to restore order first and to redress grievances afterwards. No irregularity in the transfer of land can justify the natives in renouncing a sovereignty which they have formally accepted and which has raised them from savages to Christians and civilized beings…. Meanwhile, it would surely be possible, either by proclamation or through the agency of friendly chiefs, to separate the question of the Te Porepore block of land from that of sovereignty, reserving the former, if necessary, for further investigations, while insisting upon absolute submission to the Queen's authority. If this can be enforced we trust that no false notions of honour will interfere with the peaceable termination of a dispute which, trifling as it seemed, has gone far to mar one of the fairest pages of our history.”

The Melbourne correspondent's attack on Gore Browne was answered by Professor E. Harold Browne of Cambridge, a brother of the Governor,1 in a letter published on November 17: “I have the clearest possible proof,” he wrote, “that Colonel Gold was in no way hampered by my brother's orders. … Archdeacon Hadfield triumphantly asserts that Teira's might came entirely through his father, and that his father was all on Kingi's side. Now I am most distinctly assured that Teira's father has been wholly with his son and with the Government, and that he actually assisted in cutting the ground. This is but

1 Afterwards Bishop of Winchester. Cf. More Maoriland Adventures of J. W. Stack, edited by A. H. Reed (1936), pp. 181–3. Though Canon Stack was interested in Gore Browne as a brother of the Professor and raised a triumphal arch of welcome for him when he arrived at Kohanga, he condemned his attitude to the Maoris and the Waitara purchase.

page 96a
Sir Frederic Rogers, Afterwards Lord Blachford (From a drawing by George Richmond, R.A.)

Sir Frederic Rogers, Afterwards Lord Blachford
(From a drawing by George Richmond, R.A.)

page 97 one example, not the only one, of misstatements which party spirit has allowed good men to make and, no doubt, to believe.” Archdeacon Hadfield was in turn defended by his brother, Colonel Hadfield.

Commenting on this and the situation generally on November 21, The Times said: “We intended to make an honest bargain, and the worst that can be said is that we bought the land from the wrong man. We were ready to pay somebody or other a fair price for it, and it is to be presumed that we should look out, with the natural instinct of purchasers, for the best title procurable. Although, therefore, it is impossible, as we do not deny, that Wiremu Kingi may be an ill-used man, we cannot see that the policy of the Government is exposed to any serious reprobation at this point of the transaction. Whether we have been premature or not in our resort to force is a question equally complicated, but as Governor Browne is blamed by one party for his precipitation, and by the other for his tardiness, it would perhaps be hard to refuse him the credit of probable impartiality. The truth of the matter is however—and here all the obscurity of the case is suddenly dispelled,—that this dispute with Wiremu Kingi is but the expression of a controversy by which the colony has been long divided. There is a native population there and a British population—the latter, strange to say, outnumbering the former, in the aggregate by some 15,000 souls. Each of these classes has its peculiar interest, which, however they may be reconciled in the end, are unhappily found to clash for the present…. What gives the case its peculiarity is that the native side of the question has been energetically adopted by authorities of high and deserved influence amongst the British themselves. Dr. Selwyn, the Bishop of New Zealand, and Archdeacon Hadfield, his zealous coadjutor, have constituted themselves the advocates of native rights, and with the support of a party in the colony, have formally protested against the policy of the Government, and justified the claims of the now insurgent chieftain. In these proceedings they have acted without reserve and appear to have candidly avowed their conviction that the colony of New Zealand is, by the very terms of its original settlement, page 98 an institution designed not for the advantage or benefit of Englishmen, but, in its primary object, for the protection of the natives against the encroachments of the settlers on their territory…. We say distinctly that the native-ascendancy theory cannot stand. It may have been designed but cannot be upheld. If the interests of the rival populations cannot be reconciled, those of the natives must give way. The result, whether consistent with justice or not, is simply inevitable.”

Professor Browne, in his book, The Case of the War in New Zealand (1860), wrote: “It is a matter of deep concern to me that I am forced to express a strong difference from one, whom of all men living I have honoured most for his unparalleled missionary labours, I mean Archdeacon Hadfield. There are passages in his conduct as regards the present disturbances which I cannot construe, and which I long to see cleared up. I can but strive to be satisfied with the knowledge that burning zeal in imperfect beings will at times degenerate into intemperance, and that then it will blind its owner to principles and even to facts, which under other circumstances could not be overlooked.” Browne recorded that letters of Wiremu Kingi to Hadfield in July 1859, asserting a tribal claim to the disputed Waitara land, were not shown to the Governor. He gave Hadfield's explanation and remarked that the two great authorities on native affairs, Hadfield and Maclean, contradicted each other in every particular in their evidence at the parliamentary investigation into the subject. On the question of the ambiguous translation of the proclamation of martial law, Professor Browne said that Wiremu Kingi had “on a former occasion been living in a district where martial law was proclaimed, and fully understood its meaning.”

The effect of the war news on John Robert Godley is shown by a passage in a letter he wrote to C. B. Adderley on November 15: “The New Zealand Government seems to have plunged most unjustifiably into war, of course intending that we shall pay for it. Sidney Herbert writes to me in a tone of intense disgust at it, but says that he has been obliged to send two regiments, etc. If we don't turn this affair to account in supporting our general views we shall throw away a good case. I quite despair of the present Colonial Office and look now for page 99 your side.”1 The view of Godley and Adderley that colonies should be made responsible for their own internal defence did finally prevail, and the Liberal ministry of 1868 was to be as adamant in upholding it as the Conservative administration of 1866 in which Adderley served.

Describing a “Native Conference” he had convened at Kohimarama, near Auckland, from July 10 to August 10, in a despatch of August 28, 1860, the Governor stated that its results had far surpassed his expectations: “The language, conduct and general courtesy of the chiefs towards each other,” he stated, “might be imitated with advantage at many European meetings, and in no assembly could greater decorum be maintained. The result may be summed up in a few words: The great chiefs Tamati Waka Nene, Wiremu Nera, Teiroa and others declared their attachment to the Queen and their disapproval of the King party in the most unequivocal terms. This, and my own declarations, reassured many who had been led by disaffected Europeans to believe that the Government and the settlers were preparing to seize their lands and enslave themselves, and that all the tribes in New Zealand were ready to unite and join the King party.

“Confidence having been secured, various subjects were submitted for their consideration.” The Government's policy in connection with the Waitara purchase was explained, and approved by all except a few who (the Governor stated) were connected in some way with W. Kingi and his people. “The

1 Childe-Pemberton, Life of Lord Norton, p. 176. Cf. on p. 178, Robert Lowe to Adderley, December 31, 1861: “It seems to me that from a muddling tyrant the Colonial Office has sunk into a parasite of the colonies, and that there is more danger of dismembering the Empire by over-indulgence than by over-interference.” Sidney Herbert was Secretary for War, 1859–61. He became Lord Herbert of Lea before his death in 1861. The Cabinet formed after the general election of 1859 was one of “Whig-Liberal reunion,” its members including Palmerston, Russell, and Gladstone. G. M. Trevelyan states that it “dealt with the Italian crisis on Liberal principles and with the American Civil War and the Danish question on no principles at all.”

J. R. Godley had joined the Colonial Reformers under the inspiration of E. G. Wakefield, who persuaded him to go out to New Zealand as leader of the Canterbury Settlement. Like Molesworth, another of the Reformers, he was a strong advocate of colonial self-reliance. He became Assistant Under-Secretary of State for War.

page 100 Chiefs declared unanimously in favour of a repetition of the Conference, and they recognized it as the first real step towards governing them in the manner they desire to be governed, and earnestly requested that I would give them a promise that they should meet again in 1861…. I sent a message to the House of Representatives, who suspended their Standing Orders and passed a resolution (without a division) granting £2,500 to enable me to comply with the wishes of the Chiefs.”

A Colonial Office memorandum proposed that a certain number of chiefs selected by the Conference or nominated by the Governor should be made capable by law of being placed on Committees of the House of Assembly or the Legislative Council upon questions respecting native affairs. “And I would give,” the writer added, “to all these representatives of the Conference the right of being present at the debates of the Assembly and Legislative Council in a place which marked their rank. Perhaps before long the Conference would be allowed as they desire actually to send members to the Assembly or rather perhaps the Legislative Council.”1

On September 7 the Governor wrote concerning certain actions of the Rev. R. Burrows, Secretary to the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand, who disagreed with reports of the Native Conference which had appeared in a newspaper: “I need not inform Your Grace that the assembly of the chiefs at this conference was attended with difficulty and vast expense, and the object was one which should have claimed the sympathy and cordial support of all Her Majesty's loyal subjects. I regret, however, to say that many (but by no means all) of the clergy belonging to the Church of England Mission have recently placed themselves in antagonism to the Government and have added greatly to the embarrassments with which it is surrounded.”

In a Colonial Office minute Chichester Fortescue wrote: “These gentlemen do not appear to recognize the fact that we are at war with a portion of the natives and that the Petition of Right, etc., does not apply either in the case of Englishmen or Maoris.”1

The Duke of Newcastle, back in England after that visit

1 C.O. 209, 155.

1 C.O. 209, 155.

page 101 to America which greatly influenced his ideas and led him to take up the cause of Canadian confederation,1 congratulated the Governor on the success of the conference, and a Colonial Office minute made this reference to the Wiremu Kingi case: “Great consideration was due to a native chief standing up for what he had long been accustomed to consider the rights of himself and his followers, and therefore it would be a great satisfaction to Her Majesty if any honourable means were to present themselves of restoring peace, more especially as this seemed to be the general feeling among the native chiefs at the Conference. Finally (that) the Duke of Newcastle would above all things deprecate the making a war of this kind a means of enriching the colony by the confiscation of lands, a precedent which, if once set, would be a dangerous inducement to future wars of the kind…. That the question whether the expenses of the war should be defrayed from Colonial or Imperial funds would be treated hereafter, but the Duke of Newcastle could not refrain from expressing his surprise at the suggestion which appeared to have been made in debate by the Colonial Secretary that in a war which was so peculiarly and exclusively a settlers' war part of the expenses of the volunteers and militia should be borne by England.”

Fortescue, in a minute, added that among the changes he thought it desirable to obtain, if possible, was the abolition of the elective character of the superintendents of provinces and their subordination to the Governor and the Crown, “Their present position,” he wrote, “seems to me intolerable, weakening an already weak executive, even when they are friendly (if they ever are), and often creating opponents to the Governor when he ought to find instruments and supporters.”2

In a debate in the General Assembly on August 3, 1860, on the Native Offenders Bill, the policy of the Governor and

1 Cf. Sir E. W. Watkin, Canada and the States(1887): “The real, practical measures which led to the creation of one country extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific were due to the far-sighted policy and persuasive influence of the Duke. The Duke was a statesman singularly averse to claiming credit for his own special public services, while ever ready to attribute credit and bestow praise on those around him.”

2 C.O. 209, 155.

page 102 the Government in pressing the Waitara purchase was strongly criticized by H. Carleton and T.S.Forsaith. The latter contended that W. Kingi had claimed proprietorship over the land and that therefore it should not have been bought until the claim had been thoroughly investigated. He read the proclamation in Maori of martial law. The English equivalent, he said, was: “The law of fighting is now to appear at Taranaki and remain in force until countermanded.” The proclamation appeared under date January 25, 1860, nearly a month before the survey was attempted. The translation was defended by J. C. Richmond and Dillon Bell. Alfred Domett upheld the Governor's policy. E. W. Stafford said: “Her Majesty and the British nation never had a more upright representative than Governor Gore Browne. One desire, conscientiously to do his duty, governed all his action. No greater proof of this could have been afforded than his conduct as to the Taranaki question. Had he not been an honest man, nothing could have been simpler than to have smoothed over and patched up this question. He might have avoided any declaration of policy, or failed to act up to it when opposed by a contumacious native. He might have really degraded the dignity of the Crown in the native mind, but he might not have gone to war. He might have left that for his successor, and left the colony with the character at home of having held a most peaceful reign, of being a ‘model governor’ but he preferred to do his duty.” (Loud cheers.)

Dr. Featherston said: “I am glad of the opportunity of declaring that whatever doubts previously existed in my mind as to the gross injustice of the war—as to the fact that a flagrant error had been committed, have been entirely removed by the inquiry that has taken place; however one-sided and partial the inquiry has been I am also glad to express my conviction that His Excellency has been more sinned against than sinning in this matter, for he has evidently been most grossly deceived by those upon whose information and trustworthiness he had a perfect right to rely. It appears to me as clear as noon-day that the war is to be attributed to an undue pressure having been brought to bear upon His Excellency in order to force him to acquire possession of Waitara, no matter by what means, or at what sacrifices—to the incompetency of the District Com- page 103 missioner1 to whom so delicate a negotiation was entrusted and to a sinister influence exercised at the board of the Executive Council. At the same time I am not prepared to relieve His Excellency from the responsibility of this war; on the contrary I hold him solely responsible for it. The war is an Imperial war, in which the colony has not been permitted to have a voice—and therefore it behoves this House to take care that they do not by any resolution they may pass implicate the Colony in it or make it responsible either for the expenses or consequences…. I venture to predict that when Her Majesty's Government learns the facts of the present case—when they learn that the war originated in a grudge, entertained by Teira against his chief—that because a native girl jilted Teira's brother and married W. Kingi's son, Teira swore he would have his revenge—that knowing that W. Kingi had given a solemn pledge to his father not to sell Waitara, but to keep it for an inheritance for the Ngatiawas, Teira resolved to gratify his revenge by selling Waitara to the Government; when they knew that of the six hundred acres offered by Teira, and purchased by the Government only a small portion really belonged to Teira—that the greatest portion is owned by natives who have either protested against the sale or have never been consulted in the matter—that no investigation worthy of the name has ever been instituted into their claims … I venture to predict that their answer to His Excellency's application for troops will be that those who have been guilty, while acting in Her Majesty's name, of so great a wrong, who have plunged the country into such a war, are no longer worthy of Her Majesty's confidence, and that, instead of reinforcements, Her Majesty's Government will send out peremptory instructions to bring the war to a close, and to prevent any further shedding of blood in so unjust a cause.”

The view taken by Featherston, in this celebrated speech,

1 William Swainson states that the investigation of the validity of the purchase from Te Teira was entrusted to the “District Land Purchaser,” R. Parris, who reported that “in the face of opposing claims the purchase could not yet be safely completed.” Though later urged by the Governor and Native Minister to complete the purchase, Parris, “who appears to have exercised great prudence and caution,” was unable to hold out any hope of a speedy and satisfactory settlement.

page 104 of the motives for Teira's action and of the unjust nature of the war is supported by Saunders in his History of New Zealand. 1 A review of the subject is made in the report of the Royal Commission on Confiscated Native Lands, 1928. The Commission formed the opinion that “Teira was not entitled to sell the Waitara block without the consent of Wiremu Kingi and his people.” Surprise is expressed that Parris “managed to remain ignorant of the facts … which were ascertained without difficulty by the Governor and Native Minister in April 1863.”2 If Swainson is right in his statement quoted above, Parris presumably entertained strong doubts of the validity of the purchase from Teira. The really surprising thing seems rather to be the fact that Sir George Grey's personal inquiry into the facts of this fundamental dispute was delayed so long after his return to New Zealand.

C. W. Richmond, Colonial Treasurer, in his financial statement of September 4, 1860, said: “The people of New Zealand are surprisingly fond of law. The produce of fees, fines and penalties in the Canterbury Province is astonishing. Altogether the annual revenues of the colony, counting land fund as revenue, are now little if at all, less than half a million. It is a wonderful country. The more I see of it the more I am astonished at its resources. It is well indeed that it is so, for our burdens also are extraordinary. For my part I say it is plain that the cost of the war must be paid by the Imperial Treasury, if only for this simple reason—that the colony is unable to pay it. If the demands upon us become much heavier, the sources of revenue will be dried up. Notwithstanding the great prosperity we have lately enjoyed, we are but an infant community unequal to the burdens of mature age and confirmed strength…. We propose to ask the House to make provision for laying down a line of electric telegraph connecting the principal settlements.”3 In a despatch of September 29, the Governor said he had “no hesitation in recommending that the expense of the war may not be thrown entirely on the settlers.”3

In a despatch of October 2 he stated that he had urged

1 Vol. i, chapters 37 and 38.

2 N.Z.P.P. 1928, G—7.

3 C.O. 209, 155.

3 C.O. 209, 155.

page 105 General Pratt “to adopt the most energetic measures” and had authorized him upon the Governor's own responsibility to incur whatever expense was necessary. “The want of success on our part at Taranaki,” he said, “has so elated some of the tribes residing at the Thames and its neighbourhood that Auckland has been threatened with a night attack and there can be little doubt that various combinations against us will be made in all parts of this island unless we are able to convince the Maoris that permanent success on their part is hopeless.” The Governor stated that the total force at Taranaki on September 26 was 2,359 and that the strength of the insurgents had never exceeded 2,000. A Colonial Office memorandum on the despatch reads thus: “The Governor evidently considers that the military authorities are wanting in enterprise. General Pratt justifies himself in a long letter of September 29 which (I must say) appears well considered and reasonable.” The Duke of Newcastle's comment was: “The difference between the Governor and the General is unsatisfactory.”1
In his letter of September 29 General Pratt recalled the state of the province when he arrived on August 3: “I found the settlers,” he said, “driven in from their farms, their cattle seized and other property destroyed, many of their homes burnt, the enemy in the immediate vicinity around the town, an attack on it avowedly threatened, the place crowded with women and children, whose only safety was the presence of the troops, and the defence in a very imperfect state.”2 Allowing for outposts and sickness and other causes, he added, the whole force at his disposal “amounted to 1,000 or thereby.” “No certain information could be obtained,” he went on, “with regard to the numbers of the enemy, which was estimated by those best able to judge at about 1,700, who were divided into two bodies, one of which, consisting of W. Kingi's followers, assisted by some of the Waikatos, occupied the strong pa Puketakauere, little more than a mile from the camp on the Waitara. This pa was connected with the Bush by a chain of

1 C.O. 209, 155.

2 Cf. Taranaki Herald, January 16, 1864, referring to conditions of 1860: “Our degradation will best be made apparent by the fact that at one time firewood was actually imported from Auckland.”

page 106 smaller pas, some of them of considerable strength, by which the enemy were enabled to bring reinforcements to the front with great ease and rapidity. The other body comprised the Southern natives, Taranakis and Ngatiruanis, who were busily engaged in the construction of considerable works within a few hundred yards of the Waireka camp.”

The General stated that in removing the women and children to safety he “did not meet with that cordial co-operation on the part of the civil authorities of the Province, which, in the delicate position I was placed in, I had a right to expect, and the people showed so much unwillingness to leave the place that after only about 112 women and 282 children had been shifted I found that without resorting to actual force, no more could be induced to go.” On his return from Auckland, where he had gone to confer with the Governor, the General said he had found that the enemy had abandoned their strong positions at Puketakauere and Waireka, which were immediately destroyed, and that a large number of them had left the neighbourhood. The movement convinced him, he said, “of the utter hopelessness of all endeavours to prevent their escape from any place which they did not intend to defend.” “During the whole of the period,” he continued, “the enemy have been suffering very severely from sickness caused by privation and exposure, and I have certain information that they have lost a good many men, including several of their most influential chiefs who have been killed in action or have died of their wounds. The whole of our casualties throughout all these operations amount to only one killed and four wounded…. I am satisfied that any increase in their numbers which might give them sufficient confidence either to defend a pa in an accessible position or to accept battle in the open country would lead to a much more satisfactory result than a lengthened continuance of the present state of affairs.”1

On November 1 Gore Browne, in reviewing the history of New Zealand, wrote: “A large annual grant from the Imperial Treasury, full power and great tact, enabled Sir George Grey to keep the country tranquil, but he was unable to establish any system or machinery which could effectually prevent

1 C.O. 209, 155.

page 107 the collision of elements so discordant as those with which the New Zealand Government has to deal…. With insufficient funds, circumscribed powers, and inadequate assistance, I have had to contend with difficulties inseparable from the association, without union, of two races in opposite extremes of civilization.” Replying on January 26, 1861, the Duke of Newcastle said: “I have never doubted that without the control of far larger funds for native purposes than have been placed at your disposal by the Colonial Government, it has been quite impossible to adopt such measures as would be effectual for the government and civilization of the Maoris.”1 Here we have implicitly stated the problem of responsibility for the drift into war. Governor and Secretary of State each passed the blame on to somebody else, while the Colonial Government declined to provide funds to be administered by the Governor as he thought fit. If the Maoris really wished to be governed, as some of their leaders and their missionary friends maintained, it is scarcely possible to escape the conclusion that responsibility for turning them towards war must lie almost equally with the Colonial and Imperial Governments for allowing so dangerous a division of power to continue. As we shall see, the Imperial Government soon made an attempt to transfer all power—and financial responsibility—for native affairs to the Colonial Government.

On October 14, 1860, the Governor learned that a Maori had been found dead at Patumahoe, thirty miles from Auckland, and that the natives believed he had been shot by a European. Maoris collected from all over the district and it was discovered that on a given signal they had determined to murder all the Europeans present. “Mr. Maclean,” the Governor wrote in a despatch of November 3, “was informed of this privately and advised to escape, but with his usual nerve and judgement, he took no notice of it, and, after Archdeacon Maunsell had concluded his arguments, succeeded in allaying the excitement.” On a report of the supposed murder reaching the Waikato the tribes there were greatly excited and moved towards Auckland. The Governor ordered that the militia should be called out.1

1 C.O. 209, 156.

1 C.O. 209, 156.

page 108

In a despatch of October 16, General Pratt made the first mention of the use of friendly natives in an operation against Maori pas. They were 150 in number and were under the command of Parris, the assistant native secretary.1 On September 10 a British force of 77 officers and 1,378 men had marched from New Plymouth and destroyed the Maori pas Ngatipaririu, Kairau, and Huirangi. In an engagement at the latter place four casualties were sustained. On October 9 Pratt marched from New Plymouth to attack “three strong pas named Pukekakiriki, Orongamaihangi, and Mataiaio, held by the rebel Maoris of the Taranaki tribe, and situated, two on the right and one on the left bank of the Kaihihi River, about eighteen miles distant from this place.” These were captured with five casualties, the natives abandoning them.

On November 6 the troops under Pratt engaged the Waikatos, who were coming to join William Kingi, at Mahoetahi. In a fierce fight five Maori cheifs were killed and the total Maori casualties were estimated at from 80 to 100. The British losses were 4 killed and 15 wounded. “I never saw,” wrote Pratt, “a more gigantic or powerful set of men than these tribes; and being armed with well-finished English rifles and double-barrelled fowling pieces, they were able to keep up a most continuous fire, while their power of concealment was most marvellous; indeed, when closing upon them, we only knew of their whereabouts by the smoke from their guns.”1 On December 10, Pratt wrote: “The defeat of the enemy on November 6 appears to have had the effect only of rousing the native race.” He added that one of the many difficulties he had to face was “the uncertainty of the intelligence received through the Native Department as to the position, numbers and movements of the enemy; so that I am obliged to form and alter my plans from day to day, and feel occasionally as if I was fighting a ‘will o' the wisp.’”

On January 14, 1861, The Times published an account from its Melbourne correspondent of the engagement at Mahoetahi in which the native loss was estimated at 70 killed: “The correspondent of a local paper, who was an eye-witness, speaks highly of General Pratt's coolness and insensibility to danger.

1 W.O. 33/16.

1 W.O. 33/16.

page 109 He was among the first in the pa, and in the thickest of the mêlée, and yet came off unhurt.” The Times devoted its first leading article to this victory: “Those who take an interest in the colony of New Zealand will rejoice to hear that, in the opinion of the settlers, the late battle of Mahoctahi has probably not only ended the war, but given the natives a lesson which will prevent them from lightly entering on another…. The safety of this promising colony depends on the strictness with which the lawless habits of these people, the elder of whom remember, and perhaps regret, the days of cannibal feasts, are repressed.” On the next day The Times discussed the motives of the Waikatos in assisting Kingi: “If the warriors defeated at Mahoetahi were in reality adherents of the Maori King movement, and not partisans of Wiremu Kingi at all, this battle may prove but the first act in a conflict between native sovereignty and the Queen's supremacy, to be prosecuted while the agrarian war is still upon our hands.”

An Auckland correspondent, in a message printed in The Times on December 20, 1860, wrote: “It seems that the Imperial Government do not yet realize what will one day be clear enough to them, that the surest economy is in sending a force sufficient to put an end once for all to these Maori Wars. I say no more because I am persuaded you all believe us in England to wish for troops merely for the sake of the Commissariat expenditure. What is the good of protesting against this belief? It is in the nature of things, perhaps, and we must bear the consequences as we may…. Whatever you do, pray make up your minds to one of two things—either keep the control and fulfil the obligations, or leave one and the other to us; you need not fear that we shall disgrace the English name, or justify, by any legislation, or by the expression of a single sentiment in the assembly, the supposition of Lord Granville (founded on an atrocious article in a low newspaper which has ceased to exist) that we desire ‘blood for blood’ and the annihilation of the native race.” The New Plymouth correspondent wrote on October 12: “Hitherto we have never once remained masters of the field, and since the affair of Waireka have not had a single success—not one gleam of sunshine to cheer us in this miserably conducted war. Six months, I believe, page 110 is the allotted time for blunders and incapacity to run riot at the commencement of an English war. We have exceeded this probationary period, and may, therefore, hope that a change is at hand.” The number of British troops in New Zealand in November was 2,145, and they were soon reinforced by the 14th Foot. The number of the militia was 692.1

In a long despatch of December 4, Gore Browne reviewed the question of “seignorial right” in Maori chiefs with special reference to the case of Wiremu Kingi. Fortescue noted that the despatch confirmed his own belief that the Governor had acted with “substantial justice” in the case of Kingi.1 The Duke of Newcastle's views were expressed in a private letter to Gladstone, dated January 21, 1861, in which he criticized Bishop Selwyn's contention that Wiremu Kingi had nothing to do with the King movement: “The King movement, the Land League and Wiremu Kingi are all separate parts of a whole—a desire on the part of the natives to reassume the sovereignty of New Zealand and with that view to prevent any more land being sold. Martial law was no doubt a mistake, and other mistakes have been made, but the Clergy would do better for all parties if they did not shew their almost bitter partisanship for the natives against the Governors and the settlers—the Governor having always hitherto been considered to go as far as possible in justice and common sense in the same direction.”2

This letter was written after the publication on January 4 by the Church Missionary Society of a “Memorial to His Grace the Secretary of State for the Colonies” requesting “some authoritative declaration to the effect that the tribal rights and the rights of the chiefs in respect of land titles, will be recognized as heretofore; so as to allay the apprehension of all parties in New Zealand of any deviation from the policy which has been for twenty years regarded as established by the Treaty of Waitangi.” The memorialists expressed deep regret that martial law should have been precipitately proclaimed against all the tribes of Taranaki and urged that some method should be devised of explaining to the Maoris that such proclamation

1 C.O. 209, 159.

1 C.O. 209, 159.

2 J. Martineau, Life of Henry Pelham, Fifth Duke of Newcastle, p. 319.

page 111 did not preclude the peaceable solution of the questions at issue. They urged that “the particular case of the land at the Waitara” should be investigated, and concluded: “Your memorialists are fully aware of the complications caused by the Land League and by the ‘Maori King’ movement in New Zealand but they believe that these combinations have received their most fearful aspect from the events at Taranaki, and that they would lose their chief strength if that affair were peaceably settled, and the Government policy on land titles were distinctly avowed.” This is a sober enough statement of the missionary position, and though individual missionaries doubtless showed “almost bitter partisanship,” there is little in this official statement to which legitimate objection could be taken. The Duke of Newcastle's view that martial law was a mistake, expressed in his letter to Gladstone, concedes the Society's main point.
In a despatch of January 26, 1861, the Duke of Newcastle reproved the Governor for assenting to a grant from the Imperial Commissariat chest for the pay, allowances, and rations of the Taranaki militia and volunteers, without a definite guarantee that the money so disbursed would be refunded by the Colonial Government.1 On the principle of the payment for the expenses of the war, Sir F. Rogers, in a minute of January 12, wrote: “The New Zealand colonists appear to claim on the one hand that as settlers they shall have all the advantages of the native war (in the acquisition of land and otherwise), that as the supreme Government of New Zealand they shall ultimately, if not at present, possess the power of taking and of governing the natives, but on the other hand that the expenses of (at least) the present war shall be borne by the Imperial Government because that Government has hitherto reserved to itself the government of the Maoris. The present war is notoriously the result of an act which has been pressed on the Governor by the settlers, and has been adopted by him in their interest and (rightly or wrongly) against the interest of those whom it is the object of the Government to protect. They are, therefore, especially bound not to throw the inconvenient consequences of that act on the British people. The war

1 C.O. 209, 155.

page 112 in New Zealand is part of the government of New Zealand—and for whose benefit is the government of New Zealand carried on? Plainly for the benefit of those who inhabit it. Therefore those who inhabit New Zealand should pay for the New Zealand war. The British taxpayer has nothing whatever to do with the matter…. The public here has never received the benefit of taxes raised in New Zealand, nor any other advantages except those which it reciprocates—the advantages of commerce and emigration. All the British Government does is this—it reserves to itself (imperfectly) the power of securing that the New Zealand colonists do not violate the pledges by which the British Government obtained these islands and subject to which it handed them over to its present possessors…. The recent expenditure of British money to the extent of £434,360 in five years (from 1853 to 1857 inclusive) in furnishing troops to New Zealand (to say nothing of naval assistance) is on the above view not the discharge of a strict obligation, but the exercise of natural and wise liberality. It may be viewed as a gift, perhaps necessary, of £500,000 made by the taxpayers of Great Britain to those of New Zealand without any consideration other than such as would have equally justified a gift from New Zealand to Great Britain. All this, however, is mere matter for argument—for there is no doubt that England must pay in a great measure the expenses of the war. And the question arises as to what extent and under what conditions this should be done…. These could only relate to the powers necessary for governing the natives and the providing of funds necessary for that government.”

Fortescue expressed the view “that the settlement in the end will be one under which the expense of the Queen's troops will be borne by this country and that of the local forces by the colony.” The Duke of Newcastle wrote: “I fear the Governor has thrown away our best chance of getting the colony to bear any portion of the military expenses hitherto incurred.”1

On December 22, 1860, Gore Browne reported that his ministers had accepted the proposal made by the Duke of Newcastle in his despatch of September 12 that the colony

1 C.O. 209, 155.

page 113 should contribute towards military expenditure at the rate of £5 for each officer and man.1

On December 4 the Governor, referring to a Colonial Office despatch on naval protection for the colonies, had stated that a colonial force, whether naval or military, would cost at least three times as much as one of equal strength employed by the Imperial Government. “The colonies,” he said, “might be called upon to pay a certain percentage of the cost of the vessels in the manner now agreed on for the Royal troops employed in New Zealand.” He pointed out, however, the difficulty arising from the fact that the Governor could only ask the naval commander to perform a service, and that if the latter took a different view of its advisability nothing could be done until it was almost inevitably too late. “Being fully aware of this,” the Governor went on, “it is not improbable that Colonial legislatures would be unwilling to contribute towards the maintenance of a fleet, the usefulness of which must depend so much on the temperament of individual commanders responsible to no authority nearer than England.”1 T. F. Elliot's comment was: “This supplies fresh illustration that a Fleet is no proper subject for Colonial contribution.”

A memorandum by Stafford, the Prime Minister, on the subject set out: “The system of separate Colonial fleets appears open to grave objections, amongst which the mode in which they are to be officered and the position they are to occupy relatively to Her Majesty's Navy, are among the least. This question does not affect New Zealand directly at present—nor is it likely to do so for some time to come, as it is not probable that for some years at least this colony will seek to establish vessels of its own for its defence by sea, unless the neglect of the Imperial Government to protect its shores should reluctantly compel it to do so.”

On December 31 Major-General Pratt reported that on December 28 he moved out from New Plymouth “in order to attack a large body of the Waikatos, who had occupied a very strong position at Matarikoriko on the left bank of the Waitara and not far from Huirangi. “The result of the three days' campaign,” he said, “was that the proud Waikatos who

1 C.O. 209, 157.

1 C.O. 209, 157.

page 114 had threatened to drive us into the sea, have instead been themselves driven from one of the most formidable positions I ever saw, chosen by themselves and that too with singular sagacity, into the dense bush, and we occupy positions to keep them there. Our casualties have been three killed and 22 wounded, which is small considering the shower of bullets poured upon us for some length of time…. It is known that at least five chiefs have been killed.” The Maoris attacked No. 3 redoubt at Huirangi on January 23, 1861. After a desperate struggle they were repulsed with considerable loss.

In his report of operations in January 1861 General Pratt said that his 5½-inch mortars were “totally useless in consequence of the fuses in store in this colony being some of them as old as 1805 and all rendering the shells more dangerous to ourselves than to the enemy.”1

In a leading article on the engagement of January 23 the Taranaki Herald wrote: “The moral effect of this affair will be extremely valuable. The extreme caution of the responsible commanders has led to the mistaken impression among the natives that our race, and especially our soldiers, are physically timid. Now they have felt the pluck and vigour of the hearts and arms of our soldiers; and those who have not hitherto entangled themselves in this miserable struggle will not, with a few exceptions, be likely to drop in now. The gallant 40th have abundantly retrieved Puketakauere, and recovered in the eyes of the Maori any prestige they may then have lost. Colonels Wyatt and Leslie, the officers and men of the 12th, 40th, and 65th, by their wise, prompt, and bold conduct on Wednesday last, have laid a lasting debt on New Zealand—they have changed the face of the war. The timely arrival of the first instalment of the 57th Regiment and the intelligence brought by the November mail of the departure of a battery of Armstrong guns and 250 men, with rumours of further aid, are further grounds for thankfulness. The human race are readier at demanding what they think their rights than at paying the debts of gratitude; but it is to be hoped that the colonists of New Zealand will not fail in the fullest acknowledgment of the liberal support we have received from the mother-country. It

1 C.O. 209, 160.

page 115 will be said that it was the duty of the British Government to help us and that they have undertaken to govern these islands. Granted—but we must remember that in the particular case much has been done to furnish an excuse, if such had been desired, for leaving New Zealand in the lurch. From within our own bosom the enemy has come out. Disunion and conspiracy among our very legislators; denunciations from our Bishops and Archdeacons, and the elaborate defence of armed resistance to the Governor from a once revered judge of the Supreme Court—these have raised dust that might have given a colour of justice to any neglect. But the British Government and Press have not sought such a colour. They have cut through the cobwebs woven by party violence and semi-insane sentimentalism and declared that the fault of the Government here, if proved, is but light—that they have offered payment to the wrong man, perhaps, but that they have not robbed; that the right of any race to retain a land in a state of barrenness cannot be admitted in the face of the necessities of a growing population; and that the dream of Maori nationality which this monopoly is intended to maintain must now, once for all, be put to an end.”

Before the news of the January fighting arrived, The Times, in a leading article of February 14, said: “No news from New Zealand may be considered good news. So little can be gained, and so much may be and has been lost, in this inglorious contest; the initiative has so invariably been taken by the natives, and the selection of the theatre of war seems to rest so entirely with them, that we may well augur favourably from their inaction up to the early part of December…. If it were justifiable or possible to deal with every rebel Maori as a traitor or criminal, we might by degrees intimidate them into submission. As it is, we are compelled both in justice and policy to adopt the principles of regular warfare, while our antagonists are a fluctuating body of marauders, occupying all the strong places of the island, combining or separating and professing friendship or enmity as it may suit them best, and waging war on the whole European population, while we confine our reprisals to that part of the natives which is actually in arms…. For the present the Governor retains a paramount control page 116 over the forces and may well be influenced by many other than military considerations in a distribution of them. It is probable that more than one of our disasters have been directly or indirectly due to this divided command. Where the enemy is indefinite, the casus belli indefinite, and the limits of supreme authority indefinite, we cannot expect much vigour or unity of action…. A doubtful cause may be a good reason for not going to war at all, but it can be no reason for prosecuting a war languidly, and sacrificing in loss of capital and unproductive expenditure as much as would suffice to buy up all the rights of all the tribes in New Zealand.” But we must remember that the Maori King's followers would not sell their land at any price. Mana not money was at stake.

On February 9, 1861, Major-General Pratt wrote: “The information forwarded to me in this colony is in many instances so exaggerated and so contradictory that it is most difficult to act upon it, or to form an opinion as to the future. At this moment I have reason to believe that the continuous losses the Waikatos have of late received have subdued them very much, and that they now, for the first time, freely admit the skill and bravery of the troops, and begin to feel that a contest with them is a forlorn hope. I believe they would readily come to terms, if offered to them, provided (they being a proud and haughty race) these were of such a character as would show the clemency of the victors, without inflicting degradation on the vanquished; at the same time I equally believe that there are in the colony mischievous characters (few, I trust, in numbers) who would not desire the war to cease, but would look rather to its continuation, for the extermination of the natives and confiscation of the land, and are persuading them that the frequent arrival of troops is for the purpose of seizing their lands.”1

The Times wrote on April 15: “The New Zealand question drags on, like a Chancery suit in the good old days of Lord Eldon.” It went on to say that the battle of Huirangi on January 23 read like the story of a miniature Inkerman. “The Maoris,” wrote the Melbourne correspondent of The Times, whose despatch appeared on April 13, “showed great courage, frequently

1 W.O. 33/16.

page 117 endeavouring to climb the bank by grasping the bayonets of the men who were defending the trenches, and many were wrested from the rifles.”

In a despatch of January 24, 1861, the Governor referred to a mischievous pamphlet “printed at a press worked by a person named Davis who was for many years in the Native Department of the Government and left it to avoid inquiry into alleged misconduct.” Donald Maclean, in a confidential report of January 23, stated that there was every reason to believe that the Maoris meditated an attack upon Auckland. “They have,” he said, “erected strong pas in the forest country inland of Drury. They are using every effort to collect supplies of ammunition, and they are at present busily engaged in securing their crops, and placing them in those fortresses. In one pa recently finished they have several tons of flour, and it appears they have a large supply of powder, obtained by the aid of foreigners, in a place which is not easily accessible, and to which they themselves only resort at night.”

On February 2 the Governor reported a conversation between T. H. Smith, the Assistant Native Secretary, and the Waikato chiefs, Tamati Ngapora and Patara. Tamati had said that there were two great obstacles in the way of peace: one, the requirement by the Governor that the men concerned in the murders at Omata should be given up; the other, an impression which prevailed that compensation would be demanded for the losses of the Taranaki settlers and that the land would be taken. Tamati added that, if it were understood that the suppression of the Maori King and Maori independence would be insisted on, he believed it would close the door against peace. “To die in the struggle,” he said, “would be the resolution taken by the King's supporters, who would choose this rather than the shame which would attach to submission or giving up their point.”

Sir F. Rogers made the following minute: “A man who can persuade the Maoris to some mean (middle) course between disclaiming the Queen's supremacy and abandoning what they look upon as the means of securing good government and perpetuating the practical independence which they at present enjoy seems much needed. The Governor and those who talk page 118 of the difficulty of having two Governments in New Zealand appear to me to lose sight of the fact that there are at present innumerable Governments there. The policy of Government I should say would be to recognize the independence of the British Crown; not to be too specific or unyielding about the exact nature of this supremacy but to allow it to grow; and to resist, as indirectly as practicable, but effectually, native centralization under one head. I wish that the Government had displayed more sense of the necessity of adroit management on this point.” Chichester Fortescue wrote: “It is certainly discouraging. I go very much along with Sir F. Rogers's view. It is more and more evident that the chiefs in native districts should be made use of and attached to the Governor.” The Duke of Newcastle: “I read this with much concern.”1

On January 1, 1861, the number of effective troops in New Zealand was 3,306. In February the Governor had interviews with certain native chiefs on the subject of the restoration of peace. The Maoris suggested that the Waitara question should be remitted to a Court and all crimes relating to the war forgiven. The Governor stated that the chiefs had said not a word about the future recognition of British sovereignty in cases where individuals of the two races were concerned. “Were they to expect,” he asked, “after joining in an insurrection, spilling so much blood and utterly desolating an English settlement, to have an unconditional peace which would leave them at liberty to renew hostilities when they pleased?”1

In a report of February 5 Donald Maclean stated that the great mass of the native population of the Northern Island might be considered to be in a state of disaffection…. “They rely to a certain degree,” he said, “upon receiving the sympathy and aid of the French nation—this delusion being kept up by the assurance to that effect of a few reckless persons of no social standing from that country, by Portuguese and other foreigners, and even by some English subjects, including deserters from the Army, who excite the natives by tales of imaginary and unheard-of cruelties practised upon all the dark races who have yielded submission to British authority…. The threats, curses

1 C.O. 209, 160.

1 C.O. 209, 160.

page 119 and opprobrious epithets used by Europeans towards them confirm their worst suspicions.”1

The following Colonial Office minute appears on Gore Browne's despatch of March 4, 1861, forwarding correspondence with Commodore Seymour: “It is to be regretted that there appears to be the same want of cordiality between the Governor and the Senior Naval Officer that there is between the Governor and the General in Command of the military forces.…. We have heard of General Cameron's arrival at Sydney.”1

On April 2, 1861, Major-General Pratt reported that on March 19 a white flag was hoisted and operations suspended. The Governor had arrived on March 27 and negotiations were proceeding which, he trusted, would terminate in an honourable and lasting peace. “On the 30th, when I was being sworn in as a member of the Executive Council of the Colony, the English mail arrived, and Lieutenant-General Cameron, C.B., reached my camp with orders to assume command of the forces in New Zealand, which was to be separated from the Australian colonies, while I am directed to return to my command in Melbourne. It is not for me to express any feeling in this matter, or as to the moment chosen for the change: my duty was simple obedience, and I the same day handed over the command to Lieutenant-General Cameron. I trust, however, that I may be permitted to assure His Royal Highness that during the seven months in which I have conducted this war, neither mental exertion nor bodily labour has been wanting on my part in endeavouring to carry it out to a successful termination, and that success has been continuous, whilst I felt, and well knew, that any serious loss or reverse on our part would have led to a general rising all over the Northern Island, and to the wholesale destruction of the property, and possibly of the lives, of the great mass of the settlers in New Zealand, for no amount of force which England could supply would be sufficient to protect the lives or save the property of the detached and widely separated out-settlers.”

In transmitting this letter to the War Office, “announcing the successful termination of the operations in New Zealand,” the Duke of Cambridge recommended on June 17 that Major-

1 C.O. 209, 161.

1 C.O. 209, 161.

page 120 General Pratt should receive the K.C.B. Pratt left New Zealand in April 1861. His services were acknowledged by the Secretary of State, the Duke of Newcastle, who, in a Colonial Office minute stated that such recognition was fully due to him. “On the whole,” he said, “I think he has done well and judiciously and has shewn determination to spare his men. I fear we cannot say he has brought the war to a close.”

The temporary peace had been arranged by Maclean, who was sent by Gore Browne to Taranaki with certain terms:

(1) Investigation of title of the Waitara land to be completed;

(2) Disposal of land in possession of Her Majesty's forces to be made in any manner he thought fit;

(3) All arms belonging to the Government to be returned;

(4) All plunder to be restored;

(5) The Ngatiawas must submit to the Queen.1

Gore Browne, in a memorandum of May 25, 1861, the day on which the Colonial Office was informing him of his recall, wrote: “When the supremacy of the Queen is fully established, the first step to be taken is the initiation of a system by which the natives may be governed through themselves.” He expressed the view that the Native Department should be entirely remodelled, that a native Service should be established, and that increase of pay and advancement should be offered as a reward for fidelity and efficiency. He advocated the establishment of a central school for the training of native assessors in the rudiments of British law. He stated that there was no school at all north of Auckland. Roads through native districts were absolutely necessary for the progress of civilization and the maintenance of peace, and a tribunal to deal with land claims should be set up. The memorandum was warmly approved by the Colonial Office and Fortescue expressed the hope that Sir G. Grey would be willing and able to carry the suggestions into effect. The Duke of Newcastle described the memorandum as “very sensible and practicable.”2

In his journal on June 15, 1861, Henry Sewell wrote: “It

1 C.O. 209, 161. See Saunders, I, 430–1. Saunders regarded Cameron's arrival at this juncture as most unfortunate. “The terms of peace were altogether altered and put into much harsher language, without a word about investigating the title to the Waitara block.”

2 C.O. 209, 162.

page 121 is madness and wickedness to attempt to crush it (the King movement)—and to do so by force with all its terrible consequences will be in my opinion a crime of very deep dye. Of course with such real earnest aims, it is preposterous to suppose that the natives will abandon their work. Every military demonstration aggravates our difficulties. What we have to do is to take the King movement in hand, in a spirit of earnest, kindly sympathy and aid. The word King is an unfortunate word. In England it is supposed to mean antagonism to British rule. In truth it represents nothing more than the principle of self-government, but self-government may well consist with uniformity of law under one presiding Sovereign. A little political wisdom would soon find suitable means of adapting suitable machinery to work out this problem. But above all things we must put away Armstrong guns and rifles. They are not the instruments to do our work. Of course there is a large class (the most numerous class) who call all this Utopian, fanciful, sanguine, etc., etc., and they side with the Government. We shall see.”

On August 16 The Times reported that the 70th Regiment from Calcutta landed at Auckland in May and detachments of the 57th Regiment in the same month. The Governor's proclamation to the Waikatos concerning the King movement was published on the same day. In a leading article on August 17 The Times asked: “It is possible that we can be involved in a fresh war in New Zealand? It is but a month or two since we were invited to rejoice over the timely submission of the Maoris, to retract, mentally at least, any suspicions we might have entertained as to Colonel Gore Browne's policy, and to condole with Sir George Grey in finding his task of conciliation forestalled…. There is a vagueness in his (Gore Browne's) address, and an evident shrinking from the ultimatum of demanding the abdication of the Maori King, which the natives will not fail to construe into weakness…. Always sensitive, and self-conscious far beyond the ordinary level of savages, the New Zealanders, like the Israelites, whose example they somewhat ignorantly invoke, are moved by an instinct, shortsighted perhaps, but not wholly blind or rebellious, in clamouring for a king. This need not have been conceded in words, page 122 but it should have tempered the spirit of the Governor's language. Above all, granted that the King movement could not be terminated by the same negotiation which put an end to Wiremu Kingi's insurrection, the knowledge of these facts should have made him postpone the proscription of it till he or his successor should be prepared with a comprehensive scheme for the future management of native affairs….

“The truth is, that the New Zealand colonists, for whose exclusive benefit, if not at whose instigation, this war is to be undertaken, are literally the only parties who will not be out of pocket by it. The late report on Colonial Military Expenditure records, indeed, the enrolment of 1,500 New Zealand volunteers, but on referring to the list of those colonies which contribute more or less to their own military defence the name of those favoured islands is wanting, and Sir G. C. Lewis1 commented on the same fact in very plain terms. The outlay of a million or two on hastening the extinction of the Maori race may add one or two pence to our income-tax, may make our poorer householders look anxiously to their grocers' and butchers' bills, and even think twice about sending Tom or Harry to school, but it will subtract nothing from the profits of New Zealand sheep-farm, unless it happens to be in the path of a native war-party, and in that case its owner will probably put in a claim for ample compensation. Not only will it subtract nothing from the great bulk of colonial property, but it will secure to the seaports and garrison towns of the Northern Island the continued custom of four or five ships-of-war and nearly 7,000 regular troops. A very slight knowledge of the world is required to understand the influence of such motives in opening or shutting the Temple of Janus.”

The report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Colonial Military Expenditure, to which The Times referred, was dated July 11, 1861. The fifteen members included General Peel, Lord Robert Cecil, Lord Stanley, Chichester Fortescue, Sir James Fergusson, J. A. Roebuck, and C. B. Adderley, with Arthur Mills as chairman. The first witness examined was T. F. Elliot, Assistant Under-Secretary for the

1 Secretary for War, August 1861, until his death on April 13, 1863. He was succeeded by Earl de Grey and Ripon.

page 123 Colonies, who had been connected with the department for thirty years. He stated, in reply to questions, that New Zealand had never contributed anything to its own defence, but had recently agreed to pay £5 a head for Imperial soldiers as from 1858. The number of regiments in New Zealand had been reduced from two to one in consequence of the Indian Mutiny. Elliot gave a curious version of the origin of the New Zealand Company's settlement at Wellington, agreeing that those responsible for it “wanted to found an independent State,” whereas their real desire undoubtedly was that the country should come under British rule.

Earl Grey expressed the view that the presence of Imperial troops had tended to check rather than to encourage wars in the colonies. He attributed the New Zealand war to the change in the form of government. It was difficult to say on which side right lay. “I think it is on the side of the settlers, but that is perfectly immaterial.” He thought that the Imperial Government should, in default of a considerable contribution by New Zealand to its defences, secure a greater control not only over native policy but over “the general policy of the Government of the island.” Lord Grey's contention was that no motives of expediency could justify the abandonment of colonists and subject races.

W. E. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was primarily interested in seeing that the colonies cost less, but he did not “propose to throw upon the colonies the responsibilities of their own defence by way of any sudden steps.” John Robert Godley and Robert Lowe, called before the committee partly by virtue of their experience in New Zealand and Australia respectively, were both keen advocates of the withdrawal of Imperial troops. “I believe,” said Lowe, “that the absence of troops would do more than anything to prevent war.” Sir Charles Clifford and Walter Brodie expressed the New Zealand point of view. “We would rather,” asserted Brodie, “have no wars than the heaviest commissariat expenditure.” The Duke of Newcastle said that he did not think there was any desire on the part of the New Zealand colonists to provoke war, to which their interests were as much opposed as were those of the mother-country.

page 124

The report of the committee's discussions shows that it was the views of C. B. Adderley which prevailed. He maintained that when colonies were made responsible for their own internal defence, full and unqualified self-government could not be withheld, and it is with the efforts of the Imperial Government to stimulate the colonists' activity in self-defence that the history of Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand is for the next ten years to be largely concerned.

One of the recommendations of the committee was: “That with respect to New Zealand, while it may not be right, under all circumstances, to withhold from the settlers in that colony assistance in protecting themselves against the attacks of native tribes, so long as the Imperial Government retains a control over native policy, their principal reliance ought to be on their own resources.” In Australia, South Africa, Ceylon, and the West Indies it was recommended that the number of Imperial troops should be reduced or their cost provided in great degree locally. In conclusion, the committee submitted “that the tendency of modern warfare is to strike blows at the heart of a hostile Power; and that it is, therefore, desirable to concentrate the troops required for the defence of the United Kingdom as much as possible, and to trust mainly to naval supremacy for securing against foreign aggression the distant dependencies of the Empire.”

The report, which has been justly described as “the most important single document in the long series of events which was to lead at last to the evacuation of the self-governing colonies by the Imperial Army,”1 greatly influenced public opinion, and when Adderley himself became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1866 it was a foregone conclusion that the main principles of the report would be strictly applied. The rejection by Canada of the Militia Bill of 1862 displeased the British public, because Great Britain had responsibilities in North America “which it desired neither to repudiate nor to incur great expenditure in fulfilling.”2 The Times was very

1 C. P. Stacey, op. cit. Cf. pp. 123-128. The Report reference is P.P. 1861, No. 423, vol. xiii.

2 H. E. Egerton, Historical Geography of the British Dominions, vol. v, Canada, p. 232. See also R. G. Trotter, Canadian Federation, p. 204, etc.

page 125 emphatic on the subject on July 23, 1862: “They have money for many other things, some necessary others unnecessary; money for jobs of all kinds, money for the most questionable of public works, but money for honour, money for liberty, money for independence, for the privilege of being governed by their own laws and knowing no master—for these merely secondary advantages, as we suppose they consider them, the Canadian Parliament and Ministry have nothing to spare.” The scheme for the confederation of Canada brought to England by George Brown gave “prodigious satisfaction,” because it foreshadowed a time not too remote when British America might be sufficient for its own defence and Britain would be relieved of the constant fear of an invasion of Canada by the United States. But even at a time when “everything Canadian had gone up in public estimation immensely,” Brown noted “a manifest desire in almost every quarter that ere long the British American colonies should shift for themselves, and in some quarters evident regret that we did not declare at once for independence.”

Even in South Africa, where the great numerical superiority of the native races created special difficulties, the Imperial Government was to foster a policy of federation similar to that devised earlier by Sir George Grey and summarily rejected, with the avowed object of making practicable the policy of the Committee of 1861. To bridge the gulf between the Cape and Natal, and make these colonies more capable of standing on their own, Basutoland was to be annexed to Natal. The plan miscarried, and on March 12, 1868, Basutoland was annexed to the Crown. “From this annexation,” writes de Kiewiet, “may be said to date the new republicanism.” The Orange Free State sent delegates to protest on its behalf. The Aborigines Protection Society protested on behalf of the Basuto. All in vain. The history of South Africa, like that of Canada and New Zealand, was changed by a not very large committee whose report has received less attention than many documents whose influence was much less.

* C.O. 209, 154.