Despatch from Lord Stanley to Lieutenant-Governor Grey.
I have to address you upon the claim of the French or Nanto-Bordelaise Company to a tract of land at Banks Peninsula, on the east coast of the Middle Island, and to transmit in reference to their title certain papers described in the accompanying Schedule.
It is necessary that I should state to you, for your information and guidance, what has occurred here on this subject since I received Mr. Shortland's Despatch of the 15th November, 1843.
Monsieur Mallières, a gentleman deputed by the Company to communicate with Her Majesty's Government, arrived in England in the early part of last year, to make arrangements with a view to the settlement of the claim and the completion of the Company's title.
I directed the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners to place themselves in communication with this gentleman, and they reported to me that he had established to their satisfaction an expenditure by the Company of £11,685. I enclose their reports in reference to this part of the case.
I also enclose a letter which, with reference to the reports of the Commissioners, I directed my Under Secretary to address to Monsieur Mallières, and in which I intimated the course I was prepared to adopt respecting the settlement of this claim.
A circumstance, however, has since occurred to interfere with the course which I then expressed my intention to pursue. I allude to the arrival in this country of Lieutenant-Colonel Godfrey, the Commissioner who investigated the claim in the Colony. I have observed, that although the report of the Land Claims Commissioners is signed by Major Richmond as well as Colonel Godfrey, still that the latter only was present when the evidence of the Natives was taken respecting the purchase made by Monsieur Langlois. I therefore considered it would be unfair towards the claimants to expose them to the delay and uncertainty that would attend a fresh investigation of the claim in the Colony. Conceiving that an earlier and equally correct decision might be arrived at, by referring to Colonel Godfrey certain documents recently submitted by Monsieur Mallières, I directed them to be forwarded to that officer, requesting him to furnish me at his earliest convenience with a supplementary report upon the whole case. This report I have received, which, together with the letter to Colonel Godfrey from my Under Secretary, I herewith transmit; and I am now prepared, after reviewing the principal facts of the case, to issue to you my instructions respecting its settlement.
It appears that the investigation of this claim in the Colony took place before Lieutenant-Colonel Godfrey only; that, attaching less importance to the deeds that have been submitted to him on behalf of their claim, whether in the Colony or in this country, than to the oral testimony received from the Natives themselves, he is of opinion that a purchase was made from the Natives by Monsieur Langlois of a certain quantity of land in Banks Peninsula, but that its actual extent is not known with sufficient accuracy to enable you to issue, under the Seal of the Colony, a grant to the land, and that it will therefore be necessary for an officer to proceed to Akaroa for the purpose of obtaining a more correct description of it; that Monsieur Langlois has been shown to have conveyed his interest in the land to the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, of which he is himself a member; that powers of attorney from the members of the Company (Monsieur Langlois included) have been exhibited by Monsieur Mallières, authorizing him to act on their behalf in any communications with Her Majesty's Government; that this gentleman has proved to the satisfaction of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners an expenditure which, at four acres to every pound sterling, would represent more than the whole quantity alleged to be the property of the Company, in the claim they submitted to the investigation of the Land Claims Commissioners in the Colony; and that the supposed contents of the claim were 30,000 acres.
Such, then, being a summary of the present state of this case, I have to issue to you the following instructions, in order to bring it to a speedy and final conclusion.
You will instruct Mr. Edward Shortland (or, if his services be not available, some other officer) to proceed to Akaroa with as little delay as possible, for the purpose of assisting the Agent of the Company in effecting an arrangement with the Natives for the Company's quiet possession of the land they have purchased. You will issue to him instructions similar to those given to Mr. Spain respecting the compensation to be paid by the New Zealand Company to the Natives of Port Nicholson, alluded to in Captain Fitzroy's Despatch and its enclosure, referred to in the margin.
The quantity of land of which it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to authorize the grant to the Company of a confirmatory title is limited to 30,000 acres. You will waive on behalf of Her Majesty the right of pre-emption over the extent of land remaining to make up 30,000 acres, after deducting the quantity of which it has been reported the Natives have admitted the sale.
As soon as you receive from Mr. Shortland his report describing the land with sufficient accuracy to be inserted in a Crown Grant, you will direct that instrument to be prepared in favour of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, to be delivered to the person appointed to receive it by Monsieur Mallières, with whom I will communicate, and in a future Despatch intimate to you the name of the party he has nominated for that purpose.
In conclusion, I have to draw your attention to Colonel Godfrey's observation in favour of Mr. Rhodes' claim, which I observe does not fall within the rules so as to entitle the claimant to a confirmatory grant, yet appears to deserve favourable consideration; and I have therefore to instruct you to give due weight to Colonel Godfrey's representation.
I have, &c.,
Stanley.Governor Grey, New Zealand.