History of New Zealand. Vol. II.
Chapter x. — Colonial Office Requires Information
Colonial Office Requires Information.
Materials for forming an opinion of the gravity of the situation were gradually supplied to the English Government. The Duke of Newcastle, until July, 1860, seemed unconscious. Parliament slumbered. Not since April, 1854, had New Zealand papers been presented. In July, 1860, they were again laid on the table. The Duke wrote that he could not “hold out any hope that it would be possible to increase permanently the present military force;” sent out four silver-headed sticks “to be given by the Governor to chiefs,”1 and started on a tour with the Prince of Wales to the United States, leaving Sir G.Cornewall Lewis and Mr. Chichester Fortescue to sign documents until his return. The former of the two brought a judgment to bear which the Duke had wanted. He saw danger. Mr Richmond's celebrated but (as he called it) able and interesting memorandum shocked him as it had shocked Sir W. Denison. Her Majesty's Government had very carefully considered the case, and were not prepared to meet Mr. Richmond's wishes. “A policy which requires the continual presence of a large force carries, in most cases, its condemnation on its face.”
1 Colonel Browne gave one forthwith to Hori Kingi Anaua of Wanganui (Despatch; 21st August, 1860).
1 P. P. 1846. Vol. xxx. p. 102.
1 ‘History of Taranaki,’ p 208. B. Wells. New Zealand: 1878.
The son of Potatau, called at the time Matutaera, but who subsequently took the name Tawhiao, was chosen king. Colonel Browne had in April written to Bishop Selwyn, Sir William Martin, and Mr. Swainson, asking their opinions as to the measures to be proposed to the Maori chiefs at the meeting he had convened. They sent him a joint paper on the points on which they agreed, with separate papers on other points. One passage in the Bishop's paper declaring that “rights of ownership of land whether in one or many joint proprietors were not alienable without the consent of the tribe” -must have been wormwood to Colonel Browne. One of the joint recommendations was that there should be a council of advice, appointed by and responsible only to the Crown, in native affairs. When the meeting of tribes, convened by the Governor, took place, he told the chiefs that the treaty of Waitangi would be inviolately maintained by himself and all his successors; but in order to rouse the suspicions of the powerful Ngapuhi and others, he affirmed that the king natives desired to “assume authority” over other New Zealand tribes, and contemplated” the forcible subjection of those tribes who refuse to recognize their authority.” Nevertheless much of the address was kindly. The Governor desired to obtain the views of the tribes as to the king movement-and to govern wisely. His speech was long. But having sent reinforcements to Taranaki and received satisfactory assurances from the chiefs at Kohimarama, he wrote on the 14th July to Colonel Gold: “You will page 7 now have upwards of 2000 men of all ranks and a large force of artillery under your command, and you will, I trust, be able to strike a vigorous and effective blow on the rebel forces, either on the north or south of New Plymouth.”
The ill-success of the campaign had meanwhile induced Major-General Pratt, Commander of the Forces in Australia, to take the field, and Colonel Browne (27th July) wrote to him that the Maoris were brave and formidable, and “boasted with some truth 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.… Finally, I beg the favour of your protection and kindness to the friendly natives, more particularly for the chiefs Mahau, Aperahama, Ihaia (the murderer), and Teira, and their men… faithful allies.… It is, however, quite true that all Maoris will communicate intelligence to the enemy; so far from considering such conduct shameful, they look upon it as right and chivalrous.”… Mr. Parris possessed his confidence and that of the Government, and he begged the General to consult him.
The great meeting at Kohimārama (on the Melanesian mission grounds) commenced on the 10th July, 1860. Two hundred and fifty chiefs had been invited from all quarters. About half that number attended. The Governor read his address in English. McLean read a translation in Maori. There was deep attention. The chiefs were then presented to his Excellency by McLean; the Governor departed; the chiefs returned to the conference. The districts most fully represented were the Bay of Islands, Kaipara, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa, and the west coast from Wellington to Wanganui. There were some members of the Ngatiawa tribe, but the Thames, Waikato, Taupo, Upper Wanganui, and Taranaki tribes were barely represented. For a few days the orators generally advocated loyalty and peace. The haste with which the Governor had made war was animadverted on by all except the Ngapuhi. It was resolved to send written replies to the Governor's speech. They may be seen in the Parliamentary blue-books. Many of them expressed regret that the Maoris did not see Colonel Browne as they used to see page 8 his predecessor. Some did not allude to the Taranaki war. The Ngapuhi addresses, two in number, breathed thorough loyalty to the Queen, and hostility to the Maori king movement and Te Rangitake. The Ngatiawa were less devoted. England had failed in duty in many respects. Land Commissioners believed three witnesses, but would not listen to a host who contradicted them. Maoris were not permitted to lease land to Pakehas; which was unjust. The Governor ought not to have sent abroad for soldiers to attack Te Rangitake, who only sought help from the Waikatos in New Zealand. The two first Governors had done no good; Governor Grey did much good; of the fourth Governor they did not know the thoughts except that he was in haste to fight Te Rangitake, which was alarming. The majority of the tribes expressed staunch loyalty, and some at the same time urged that peace should be made with Te Rangitake.
In the second week of the conference, the Governor sent several messages. One (16th July) was accompanied by “rules for the proper administration of justice,” which he said had been carefully prepared by the friend of the Maoris, the late Chief Justice. Another (18th July) asked the opinion of the chiefs as to “the difficulties and complications of the ownership of land,” and promised co-operation “in any system they might recommend, provided it would really attain the desired end.” A third (19th July) declared that McLean was instructed to explain the Taranaki events to the chiefs, in accordance with their wish. The administration of justice, and land questions, were discussed, but relegated to deliberation by the tribes at their homes. McLean spoke for four hours, detailing the Government view of Te Rangitake's claim, to an intent auditory. Still the chiefs seemed to hope that peace would be made. In the third week the Governor sent a message suggesting juries de medietate linguæ, and asked for the views of the chiefs. Some received the suggestion favourably, but no resolution was arrived at. The Governor and his wife dined with the chiefs in the hall at Kohimarama in the third week, and gained popularity by doing so. After an adjournment of a few days, the chiefs, on reassembling, prayed that the native conference might be held periodically. Some said that if it had been thought of sooner, page 9 there would have been no Maori king,-no Taranaki war. Again they discussed the latter question, and finally decided that Hohepa Tamaihengia should visit Te Rangitake and explain the feelings of the conference. On the 10th August, resolutions were formally carried-disapproving the Maori king movement, justifying the Governor, condemning Te Rangitake and his allies; highly praising the idea of holding the conference (or Runanga), and complimenting Mr. McLean. Three chiefs recorded their protest against the condemnation of Te Rangitake. On the 11th August, the Governor closed the conference with a complimentary speech, promising to convene them in the following year. He did not tell them of the urgency with which he had pressed upon General Pratt that military success must be at once obtained. Mr. Smith, Assistant Native Secretary, reported that the experiment had been so far successful, and might be made effective, under judicious management, for removing most of the difficulties attending native affairs. He called special attention to the conspicuous abilities of Tamihana Te Rauparaha and another Otaki chieftain, as well as to the important declarations of Waka Nene and Wiremu Nera, that they were ready to prove by deeds their loyalty to the Queen. Mr. Smith thought such announcements would have a good effect throughout the island.
To complete the papers to be presented to the General Assembly, the Governor on the 20th July had asked Mr. McLean whether the sellers of the Waitara block were justified in selling to the Government, and whether Rangitake had any right to interfere. McLean answered the first question affirmatively, and the second in the negative. When this statement was made public, Archdeacon Hadfield wrote in a newspaper that Mr. McLean had himself informed the Archdeacon that he (McLean) had not investigated Te Rangitake's title, and that a chief, Matene Te Whiwhi, averred that McLean expressed his regret that the Governor had been so hasty as to eject Te Rangitake by force without further investigation. McLean's defence was equivocal. He had initiated the investigation, though it was completed by an officer of the department, under McLean's instructions. He had told the Bishop of Wellington that he was “impressed with the belief that Te Rangitake's claim was page 10 unfounded.” “It is quite possible that I may have said that I had not personally instituted an inquiry on the spot immediately previous to the breaking out of hostilities.” “I may have said that the cession by Te Teira would not be sufficient alone, unless he were joined, as he has been, by other influential claimants.” It was the chief Matene who complained of the hastiness of the Government, and McLean had only admitted that such was the general opinion among the natives, which McLean combated in his conversation. His state of health had “made it impossible” for McLean to make personal inquiry as to Teira's title. On the 30th July, the Governor opened the General Assembly at Auckland. He arraigned Te Rangitake for forbidding a sale of land “to which he neither asserted nor possessed any title;” a daring untruth which his more astute advisers must have propounded with misgiving, and which must have been heard with astonishment. The speech alluded to the conference at Kohimarama, from which the Governor expected good results. The two Houses cordially echoed the speech, and the Taranaki war formed the subject of protracted debates. On the 30th August, by eleven votes against three, the Governor's proceedings were approved by the Council; but one of the dissentients was Mr. Swainson. On the 16th August, the representatives resolved, after various proposed amendments, and nights' and days' debates: “That in the opinion of this House, the interference of Te Rangitake at Waitara, and his resort to force to prevent the survey of land there, rendered the measures adopted by his Excellency the Governor indispensable for the due maintenance of Her Majesty's sovereignty, and that the welfare of both races of Her Majesty's subjects peremptorily requires a vigorous prosecution of the war to a successful termination.”
Little did Colonel Browne and his advisers expect that in three short years the Government of New Zealand would be forced to confess that Bishop Selwyn and the Archdeacon were wise, and that the claim of Te Rangitake was righteous. But Governor Browne, in reporting the resolution of the 16th August, did scant justice to the representatives. He stated that some leaders of the Opposition were absent from the division, being unwilling to commit themselves definitely against page 11 the war, but he did not state that there had been divisions in which the Government majority was less than on the final vote. The Opposition waited to see what the Ministry would do. Mr. Richmond, on the 3rd August, moved for leave to bring in a “Native Offenders Bill,” and in doing so treated of the Taranaki war. He would, in future, move for a Committee to report upon the expediency of a change in the existing mode of extinguishing the native title, and would afterwards make proposals for the civil government of the natives. His own arguments and those of Mr. Forsaith, Dr. Featherston, and others who opposed or supported him, have been quoted already, so far as it is necessary to cite them. The eloquent appeal of Dr. Featherston on behalf of the Maori people, unrepresented in the House, provoked applause, but did not persuade the representatives to mete out the justice demanded. Yet Dr. Featherston, believing the war to be unjust and unholy, saw that retreat was dangerous, while success was shocking. Mr. Carleton moved for a Committee of Inquiry into the causes which led to the war. He was one of those who opposed the Native Offenders Bill. He laughed at Mr. Richmond's idea that the District Commissioner was himself a Court capable of determining the Waitara dispute:—”a Court that was at once judge, jury, and plaintiff.”… “A District Commissioner (to borrow Mr. Richmond's words) to have power to declare a native claim ‘a bag of wind !’ He (Mr. Carleton) knew more of classics than of law, and remembered what happened to those who were entrusted by Æolus with the bags of wind. They let the wind out and raised a storm that wrecked them. We too were in a storm, and had yet to weather it.” Mr. Carleton, in moving (August, 1860) for a Committee of Inquiry, declared that “the Government case had completely broken down.” Te Rangitake's eloquent and forcible letter completely cut away the plea that he had no right to the Waitara land. The Government professed a willingness for inquiry, but they and their supporters thwarted it. Amendments were moved, and finally inquiry was forbidden. Amongst Mr. Carleton's supporters were Mr. Fitzherbert, Mr. Forsaith, Dr. Featherston, Mr. Bell, and Mr. Fox. The amendment (carried by Mr. Sewell) was that Archdeacon Hadfield and Donald McLean should be examined at the bar page 12 of the House. Their opinions differed as to Te Rangitake's rights. The Governor triumphantly reported that the justice of his measures was asserted in the last division by 19 votes against 4; but it was impossible to gather from his despatch that in preliminary debates the majority was narrower, and that some members confessed with what reluctance they sanctioned an unjust war which, when entered upon, they felt it dangerous to the reputation of the Government to abandon. Of the discussions, at the close of which the New Zealand members virtually followed the Governor in submitting to the Ministry, it is just to furnish a short narrative.
Mr. Forsaith sadly admitted that no retreat could be made, but affirmed that the Ministry had “completely failed in disproving the assertion that in advising the course that led to the war they had been over-hasty and inconsiderate.” Mr. Fitzherbert “contended for justice to the Maoris.” He deprecated the “offensive and hostile expressions used by the Native Minister” (Mr.C. W. Richmond). There had not been sufficient investigation before the purchase was concluded. Mr. Williamson (Superintendent of the Auckland Province), while declaring his intention to oppose Mr. Carleton's motion, “could not acquit the honourable gentlemen at the head of affairs of having imprudently and too hastily advised the steps which led to active hostilities.”…” He thought they ought not to have given the advice which it appears they did.” Yet Mr. Williamson, while of opinion that the purchase from Teira was valid, hoped that the war would not be prosecuted to the bitter end, but that by the aid of friendly chiefs it might be brought to a close. Mr. J. C. Richmond denied that the war was “for a plot of land,” but admitted that the “case of Ihaia was not a nice one for the Governor to take up, for Ihaia's hands were deep in blood.” But the war must be prosecuted, and he charged the Commander of the Forces with “signal and unprecedented incapability.” Mr. Fitzgerald, objecting to the appointment of a Select Committee, moved that evidence be taken at the bar of the House.” He thought the Ministry had exercised every necessary “precaution before advising his Excellency.” Mr. Fox, who had pro formâ seconded Mr. Carleton's motion, supported Mr. Fitzgerald's amendment. He arraigned Governor Fitzroy's vacillating page 13 policy, and charged Governor Grey with feebleness and an injurious desire to govern the Maoris by means of “personal influence.” Governor Browne had “taken too little pains to ingratiate himself with the natives.” He had given way to “pressure from without.” When he remembered that the Native Minister was member for Taranaki, and the petition from the Taranaki Provincial Council urging the Governor to obtain land by coercion, on the ground that the natives were too weak to resist, he thought such sentiments “unworthy of a British community—only worthy those whom his Excellency's advisers had styled ‘hoary cannibals living in a state of beastly communism.’… All compulsion was contrary to the treaty of Waitangi.… The dispute should have been disposed of by other means before an appeal was made to arms.… If the purchase was completed why were not the title-deeds laid on the table?”… Mr.C. W. Richmond interjected that “the purchase-deed was not usually made out till after the money had been paid. In this case it had been thought prudent to make it out sooner… because in the state of disorder it was quite possible that some of the claimants might have been killed.” Then, said Mr. Fox, “the deed was executed before the purchase was completed.” “No,” replied Mr. Richmond; “it had been completed since the beginning of the war.” But, retorted Fox, “the honourable member has told us that one of the boundaries was not yet drawn.… The interruptions made the case worse.”… “With an incomplete purchase, hurriedly effected, and without any foresight of the consequences, the colony had been plunged into war. He felt bound as a member of the House, as a man and as a citizen, to vote for an inquiry.” Dr. Monro taunted Mr. Fox for his new-born zeal for the treaty of Waitangi. Did he, when a servant of the New Zealand Company, abandon his employers because they termed the treaty a “device to amuse naked savages” ? Dr. Monro wished to see “the subjugation of the rebels accomplished in the first instance.” They could think afterwards of schemes for dealing with native questions. Mr. Brown advocated inquiry.
Mr. Sewell (who had ceased to be a Minister in 1859) thought a general inquiry useless, but as Archdeacon Hadfield's name had been made use of, considered that he and Mr. McLean might page 14 be examined. Mr. J. C. Richmond violently assailed Te Rangitake. In coupling the name of Parris with that of Ihaia, Te Rangitake proved that, as he recklessly murdered character, he would “not scruple at anything to attain his ends.” As to Mr. Fox's attack on the petition of the Taranaki Council, though Mr. J. C. Richmond had no hand in framing it, he was “willing to adopt its opinions.”… The “petition has no humbug about it; it plainly states all the wishes of the petitioners.” As for the treaty of Waitangi, “it was at an end as far as these tribes were concerned by their act,” when they marched in armed parties at Taranaki, in defiance of the Governor's proclamation, when the natives were quarrelling. Mr. Daldy, a member of Mr. Fox's brief administration in 1856, advocated inquiry. Mr.C. W. Richmond declared that the Ministry assumed a neutral position as to the motion for inquiry, but asked the House in “common justice “to consider the position of the Governor in guiding “the great machine of representative government.” The line taken by some members raised in his “mind some serious reflections as to the fitness of Parliamentary Government for a country in the position of New Zealand.” Mr. Dillon Bell deprecated animadversions upon the Governor; Mr. Brandon supported the motion for inquiry; and Colonel Haultain regretted the attack which had been made by Mr. J. C. Richmond on the Commander of the Forces, who had received special instructions (not to attack Te Rangitake on his own ground). Mr. Sewell, when the result of the debate seemed doubtful, (as a friend of his recent colleagues) moved that Archdeacon Hadield and Mr. Donald McLean be heard at the bar of the House. Mr. Forsaith traversed the allegation that the Government had been forced into the war. They had taken a position that forced it. He thought a Committee of Inquiry should be chosen by ballot. It was pitiable to watch the impotent attempts of the Native Minister to extricate himself from the dilemma he was placed in by Mr. Fox as to the purchase-deed. Mr. King (one of the Provincial Council at Taranaki which petitioned the Assembly to permit Maoris to sell, whether they formed “a majority or only a large minority of claimants,” and asked the Government to compel “an equitable division of the Maori common land,”) stepped forward to take his share of responsibility for the page 15 petition. Mr. Clark, confessing his ignorance of Maori language and usages, looked upon the “war, however we may grieve over it, as one of necessity.” Mr. Fitzgerald's amendment was lost by 15 votes against 18. Mr. Carleton's motion was lost by 14 votes against 19. Mr. Sewell's amendment was carried by 18 votes against 12. The Archdeacon, examined by Mr. Fitzherbert, was cross-examined by Mr.C. W. Richmond and others. Mr. McLean, examined by Messrs C. W. and J. C. Richmond, was cross-examined by Mr. Fox. Their opinions have been sufficiently set forth in these pages. Afterwards Mr. Stafford carried, by 19 votes against 4, the resolution already quoted, which supported “the measures adopted by his Excellency” at Taranaki. The division was taken on a proposition made by Mr. Carleton to omit the words declaring those measures indispensable, and to retain those which asserted that “a vigorous prosecution of the war” was required.
Mr. Dillon Bell's speech showed how grinding was the pressure of events upon men's minds. He voted for Mr. Stafford's motion, but “thought it extremely probable we should find some of those now in arms against us could show a good title to some of Teira's block.” He had thought so before, and the evidence of the Archdeacon and Mr. McLean confirmed the opinion. Yet Mr. Bell (not ignorant of the Maori character) would decline to hear their claims unless “they choose to come in as peaceful citizens.” Had he been entitled to advise the Governor in March, 1859, he would have warned him that he was “getting into an almost insuperable difficulty” at Waitara; but he was indignant with Te Rangitake for “rejecting with contumacious insolence” the Governor's offer of a safe-conduct. Though the resolution ought to have stated that the steps taken were justifiable, not “indispensable,” Mr. Bell would vote for it. He had many friends amongst the Maoris, but it was true mercy to teach them to submit to law by a war which he viewed “with most real grief.”
Dr. Featherston inveighed, not against the Governor, but against the Ministry “who had so wantonly, so recklessly provoked “war. If with 3000 soldiers the position at Taranaki was barely tenable, how many would be required if the tribes in page 16 general should rise against injustice? “I cannot help saying, that unless some unlooked-for success be shortly achieved, the question which this House will have to consider will be (if indeed it is not its duty at once to decide it), whether you are prepared to sacrifice the whole colony, or to sacrifice those who have plunged us into this wretched, this miserable war.”
Mr.C. W. Richmond denied that he had brought pressure to bear upon the Governor. He thought only “two or three Europeans in Taranaki knew” beforehand that Teira intended to offer the Waitara block to the Governor, and his own “presence was accidental.” Forgetting his urgent note to Mr. Parris,1 or drawing a distinction between letters to him and to ordinary persons, Mr. Richmond declared: “After the offer was made and accepted, I never corresponded with any New Plymouth settlers upon the subject.… Could the Governor recede from the engagement he had made? His Excellency thought not, and we agreed with him. And I now declare, in view of all the calamities we are witnessing, that I should under the like circumstances give the same advice again.… We believed, and I still believe, that the force at command was, if properly handled, quite sufficient to overawe, or, if need were, to strike a decided blow at Te Rangitake, which would have terminated the war.”
Mr. Fox hoped that the Native Minister would be able to show that “he and some of his constituents were not the authors of the war.”2 “It was the general desire of the honourable member and his constituents at Taranaki, to which he pointed as the key to this war.”
Mr. Weld, who had become a member of the Government in July, recurred to the argument that a Maori ought not to be allowed to prefer “a claim with arms in his hands.” He defended Mr.C. W. Richmond against Mr. Fox's imputations.
1 Quoted previously, vol. i. p. 623.
2 The difficulty of analyzing the contemporary statements about New Zealand affairs is shown in the fact that though Mr. Fox so vigorously inculpated the Ministry in 1860, he used very different language in 1876. Addressing the Royal Colonial Institute (23rd May) in London, he said: “I am bold to affirm that the colonists were not in any case responsible for the wars (in New Zealand).”— ‘Proceedings, Royal Colonial Institute, 1875–6.’
1 The extracts in the text were transmitted with his despatches by the Governor. They were contained in a newspaper, favourable to Mr. Richmond; the ‘New Zealander.’
2 As Colonel Browne's friends have denied that he was so weak as to have been influenced by others to abandon his previous determination about coercing Maoris to sell land, it may be well to show that one of the ablest men in New Zealand thought at the time that he was so influenced. In 1858, in opposing Mr. Richmond's views on the Native Territorial Rights Bill, Colonel Browne cited the late Chief Justice Martin as one “whose experience and intimate acquaintance with the Maoris cause him to be recognized as an undisputed authority in everything relating to them” (P. P. 1860, vol. xlvii. p. 18). In September, 1859, before he was completely enmeshed, Colonel Browne wrote: “The Europeans covet these lands, and are determined to enter in and possess them—Recte si possint, si non quocunque modo” (ibid. p. 78). In the same paper he sighed for a council of advice (on Maori matters) containing Bishop Selwyn and Mr. Martin. In December, 1860, be aspersed Hadfield, and disputed with the late Chief Justice as to the true construction of the treaty of Waitangi, and of Maori terms and usages. Only a mental paroxysm could account for such a conversion, except on the supposition that outside influences had overborne the Governor. Archdeacon Henry Williams wrote thus— privately—to England: “Another Maori war, wantonly brought on by the Governor in the forcing of a disputed claim of land.… I stand aloof, not being yet brought into collision.… Where war will terminate no one can surmise.… Hadfield, tainted with the familiar term of traitor given to any one who may differ from them… The language used by the Europeans towards the natives is extremely vile, and I am prepared to expect sad work.” Again (July, 1860) the same keen observer wrote: “The country is involved in war through the folly of our self-willed Ministers, men of no experience in native matters… The Bishop and the missionaries are most fearfully abused as traitors and busy-bodies… Hadfield is in sad disgrace with the Government, having ventured to protest against this war. The Governor is a good man, but exceedingly weak, unable to resist his Ministers. The war is very popular, in the hopes of smashing the people altogether.” Time has accustomed the colonists to hear of, if not acknowledge, the injustice of the war. In 1881, Mr. Swanson (member for Newton) said in Parliament: “It was nothing but an attempt to rob Te Rangitake of his land; one of the most unjust things ever done; and it was proved to be unjust, and the land had to be given back to him. Why, the very ‘Gazettes’ were falsified. The Maori was on one side, and the English on the other, and there were falsehoods on the face of it. The English said, ‘The land is Teira's, but I will not allow it to be sold.’ What was on the Maori side? The land was Teira's, but it is no more his property than the property of the rest of us, and I will not allow it to be sold — which made all the difference. … A great majority of the representatives from Auckland were for peace, and were even in favour of having the matter talked over with Te Rangitake, but they were hounded down as traitors, and I say it is unjust and untrue to say that the northern people got up that war.… If it had not been for the southern men we never should have spent either blood or money over it. That is how it was, and every northern man knows it.”— ‘New Zealand,’ Hansard, 5th September, 1881.
The Governor and his advisers relied upon their Kohimarama conference. They intended to hold another in 1861, and to obtain its deliberate opinion whether such conferences should be permanent institutions. The questions of “tribal title, ultimate individualization of native title, and the constitution of tribunals to determine Maori disputes amongst themselves about territorial rights,” were, as Mr. Richmond informed the House, to be referred to the conference of 1861. But other members were less sanguine than he in expecting that by such means the king movement could be extinguished. He introduced a Native Offenders Bill, giving enormous powers to the Governor in proclaiming districts within which it should be unlawful to hold communication with the Maoris. There was excitement in Waikato while the Assembly discussed the Bill. Though the second reading was passed, the measure was afterwards shelved.
Bishop Selwyn, Hadfield, Maunsell, and others protested against the power of outlawing districts. It seemed to them that the Bill enabled the Governor to determine what was law, to decide who had offended, to ban any combination of natives, and to construe into an unlawful purpose any proceeding of the page 20 natives not specially described in the Bill. They asked that no British subject should be subject to penalty or disability “without being brought to answer by due process of law.” Stafford angrily accused the Bishop of leading his name to inflame passions and retard peace. The correspondence, perhaps, strengthened the Opposition in strangling Mr. Richmond's Bill.
A Bill to create a Council to assist in managing native affairs was reserved by the Governor for the Royal pleasure. The Council was to be appointed by the Crown. But its functions were to advise on all matters on which the Government might consult it, to assist in drafting laws, and to “act in special cases in an administrative capacity at the instance of the Governor in Council.” Mr. Fox moved resolutions expressing regret that the Imperial Government had brought in a Bill removing native affairs from control of the New Zealand Legislature, and a Joint Committee of both Houses recommended that there should be a Council of advice on native affairs, appointed by the Crown, and consulted on all occasions by the local government, which should nevertheless exercise discretion as to accepting the advice of the Council. The Bill framed on this recommendation was amended at a Free Conference between the Houses; and on the motion of Mr. Sewell it was resolved to defer passing the Bill until the precise views of the Governor were ascertained, the House being desirous that the ordinary control of native affairs should be placed under responsible Ministers, “subject to the provisions of the Bill, and to the proper constitutional action of the Supreme Head of the Executive.”
Thus challenged, the Governor accepted the resolution, with the proviso that the “constitutional action” should “have the same interpretation as regarded native affairs as in reference to other Imperial subjects.”
The Bill introduced in the Imperial Parliament came to an untimely end. Mr. Fitzgerald, the rhapsodist of Godley, and editor of a Canterbury newspaper, at once assailed the Bill as curtailing colonial privileges. It contained every vice, and was called for by no necessity. It would make matters worse instead of better during the war. He denied that there had ever been a disposition to starve the native department, or to exhibit any narrow jealousy of the natives.page 21
Mr. Fortescue, in August, 1860, told the Governor that the Bill had been withdrawn. Influential colonists opposed it as an invasion of their privileges, and other persons were hostile because they feared that English interference might imply correlative responsibility in war. Mr. Fortescue added that the Ministry considered it “their duty not merely to maintain the nominal authority of the Governor in native affairs, but as far as they properly can (under the New Zealand Constitution Act) to furnish him with the means of effectively exercising that authority.” Mr. Fortescue had (perhaps unconsciously) truthfully defined the authority which remained with the Governor. That gentleman himself incidentally described his wavering and weaponless condition. His local Native Council Bill suffered so much change in the House that it was only at his earnest entreaty that Donald McLean consented to sit in the Council if the Bill should receive the Royal assent in England. Mr. F. Dillon Bell was to be Secretary, and Lieutenant Nugent, 58th Regiment, was to be member of the Council. To the Governor's “great regret” Sir W. Martin declined a seat on the Council proposed to be constituted. In sending the mangled Bill to England the Governor admitted that the relations between himself and his responsible advisers were unsatisfactory. “I believe,” he said, “there has been little or no difference of opinion between myself and Mr. Richmond; but the responsibility has rested on me, while, with the exception of £7000 a-year (the appropriation of which I cannot alter without the consent of my advisers), the power of the purse, which is all but absolute, has been altogether in the hands of Ministers. This has been an unequal and unsatisfactory division.” His conversion to Mr. Richmond's ideas, which he had once so sternly condemned, was too sincere to allow him to perceive whither he was being led. He lost no opportunity of praising his tempter. He sent copies of Richmond's speeches, with high commendations, to England. The Ministry was in danger during the session, but it was on the burning question of provincial finances. In committee on resolutions (moved by Mr. Richmond on native policy) the disposal of proceeds of land sales was involved. Forthwith a more vigorous sense possessed the members than when justice to Maoris was in question. Mr. page 22 Fox protested against “any tampering with the compact of 1856.” The Ministerial phalanx lost a few members. The division was 17 against 17. The chairman voted against the Government. On another occasion they were in danger: and even on the war they had advised, their position was insecure.
It was during the session of 1860 that the House of Representatives appointed a Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances under which Mr. Fenton's mission in 1857 was undertaken, “to introduce institutions of civil government” in the Waikato district. So far as their labours elicited facts occurring in 1857 and 1858, and distributed doubtful blame between the Native Secretary, Mr.C. W. Richmond and others, it has been convenient to state the results in preceding pages. But they sat often and long. They gave an Arawa chief, Wiremu Maihe Rangikaheke (a clever debater, of eager manner, and with an European cast of countenance), a message inviting the attendance of Te Waharoa the king-maker. McLean, who had in 1857 jealously rebuffed that chief when on a visit to Auckland, disapproved of the invitation, and induced Rangikaheke to disregard the Committee. Before doing so, he told Sewell, the chairman of the Committee, that he did not approve of summoning Waharoa; but, on being examined, he declared that when he intercepted Rangikaheke he was not aware that the chief was the bearer of a letter from the Committee. He professed to be anxious for Te Waharoa's presence, and undertook to procure it, if possible, by other messengers. He failed. But the king-maker wrote thus (24th January, 1861) in reply to the chairman's invitation. The deeds done at Taranaki repelled him; and perhaps he remembered the stealthy capture of Rauparaha. “Salutations to you, the chairman of the Governor's Runanga. I have received your letter which was written in October, inviting me to Auckland. Here is a waiata (song):—
‘Continue to strive in vain;
By you I will not be rent in sunder:
Like the tree of the forest
I will maintain a bold front.
'Twas I that loosed you from this belt,
And now—behold the boundary which divides us:
I am the centre of Raukawa.’
Friend, what is the use of our talking after the evil has taken place? Had you, indeed, written when the evil was small, it would have been well, and I would have gone; but now that the evil has grown to the height, what is the good? Behold the kindling of a fire. When it is small it can be put out; but when it has spread it cannot be extinguished. So, when the tide is low the creek can be crossed, but not when the tide has swollen to the full. So with the night; by day men travel, but they go not about by night. Witness the words of our Lord Jesus Christ (John ii. 9, 10). You ask me to make my thoughts known. Hearken; if any chief goes before the Governor, and supports the ‘mana’ of the Maori, and our right to hold our land,—such are my thoughts. These are the causes of the setting up of the king. If you see a chief whose words seem hard when he visits the Governor, or is present at Pakeha or Maori inquiries—he is my friend. Or if you see a chief who declares that his own ‘mana’ is over his own piece of land, know that such is my thought. I have heard that Rangikaheke and Waata Kukutai have been before the Pakeha Runanga, and told their opinions. Lo! that is it; hearken to them. It was one of those thoughts that set up the Maori king. I cannot, however, tell you all the causes. They are many. Let the portion I communicate be small. One thing I will tell you: the Governor's words are as wool, but within, at his heart, he is a ravening wolf.—From your slave, W. T. W. T. te Waharoa.”
Knowing well how the Governor's mild professions were outraged by the forcible seizure of the tribal lands; and perhaps (in the undoubting conviction of a mind to which tribal tenure had been familiar from youth), incapable of believing that any one could be ignorant that the rape of the Waitara was lawless and wrong, Waharoa used plain language. It alarmed the Governor's advisers. They began to find that brave language in the House would not carry on the war. By appealing to excited passions, and perverting the case so as to make it seem that the honour of the Queen was pledged to do dishonourable deeds, they had secured majorities, in which members from the undistracted Middle Island were prominent. But majorities without means were worthless. British blood and British treasure were demanded. General Pratt, in August, 1860, reported that the page 24 military position was difficult. The Maoris crept up in small parties, inflicted damage, and escaped with impunity. “With the assistance of my advisers,” the Governor wrote, “I have been able to comply with all General Pratt's demands, and to assure him that this Government will spare nothing to enable him to carry on the war vigorously, and bring it to a successful conclusion.” At the same time, he wrote: “I sent Mr. McLean to aid in reassuring the friendly natives, who appear to have lost confidence in us.” General Pratt was urged to remove the women and children from the settlement; and, when relieved from impediments, to inflict severe punishment on the enemy, who always “construed escape into victory,” and who generally escaped. Friendly natives, including Ihaia, were to be paid.
Thus instructed, the General returned to Taranaki, where Major Nelson had obtained sixty-eight pounders, with which he could, from the Waitara camp, breach the Puketakauere pah, and avenge his repulse. In a few days General Pratt reported that the Maoris at the south suddenly retired from their entrenchments, and abandoned the Puketakauere pah. Neither Mr. McLean nor the friendly natives could explain these movements. The General was anxious to fight, but could find no enemy. Yet the settlers were all crowded in a space of thirty acres at Taranaki; and McLean reported that only two persons, the Rev. Mr. Brown and a Maori disciple, could go as far south as Omata without being shot. In September the General advanced upon empty pahs; but when approaching the forest the troops were fired upon from an ambuscade. Colonel Browne lamented (18th September) that no serious impression had been made, and urged the General to harass the enemy by guerilla attacks in their planting season, then beginning. The difficulty would be great; but unless the war could be put an end to at once it might be continued indefinitely.
It was much easier to give such advice than to act upon it. Gliding through the forest which enclosed the open country near the sea, the Maori had the advantage of the encumbered soldier. Silence was golden in such a case, and the mute Maori heard with pleasure the rattle of the Pakeha accoutrements, or the angry exclamation of the soldier as he struggled through the tangled thicket. The General was not content to receive such advice page 25 silently. He described the situation which he had found on the 3rd August. Settlers were driven in, cattle seized, property and houses destroyed. An attack on the town was threatened. The troops were divided. Outposts threatened by the enemy could not be abandoned; and their garrisons reduced the number of men available for general action. The enemy passing through the forest could at any time unite his forces. The inhabitants would not be deported as the General wished. He had only prevailed on 112 women and 282 children to go, and he could not resort to actual force. He had hoped to make an example at Puketakauere, by cutting off the retreat of the rebels before taking the pah, and regretted its evacuation. He found it impossible to prevent the retreat of the Maoris from any place they did not wish to defend. During a few weeks he had destroyed between twenty and thirty undefended pahs, large numbers of “whāarĕ,” or habitations, and much provisions. The plan proposed to him by Colonel Browne, of harassing the Maoris by constant attacks, was impracticable. He did not dread an increase of the numbers of the Maoris. If they would defend an accessible position, or accept battle in the open country, he was satisfied that he could obtain good results. Colonel Browne did not press his views on the General, but wished the Secretary of State to observe that, when he flung down the gage of battle in March, he had every reason to suppose that the available force (more numerous than the Maoris) was more than sufficient to put down opposition. He was beset with reports that Auckland would be attacked. A chief at the Thames was said to have planned an expedition against it. Friendly natives warned him, and Tamati Ngapora told him (27th September, 1860) that the out-numbered Maoris laughed at the idea of being beaten by the soldiers, who fought bravely in Pakeha fashion, marching so close together that one bullet would kill two of them, and suffering at the hands of a few enemies in consequence. Colonel Browne complained of “insufficient funds, circumscribed powers, and inadequate assistance.” “Reinforcements from England were anxiously looked for.”
A terrible alarm came upon Auckland in October. Eriata, a Maori, was found dead at Patamahoe, about thirty miles from Auckland. The natives thought he had been shot by an page 26 Englishman. A meeting was called, and it was ascertained (the Governor wrote) that at a given signal all the Europeans present were to be murdered. Archdeacon Maunsell was in the neighbourhood, and McLean went to the meeting. After the Archdeacon had spoken, McLean was able to allay the excitement. Ihaka was conspicuous for his friendliness. He was the chief of the dead man's tribe. But another meeting was held a few days later. A war-party of 100 Maoris went thither. Ihaka with two followers met them, in a peculiar attitude, interpreted to mean—”Here we are, what do you want with us? We are prepared.” A war dance ensued; fierce speeches were made; the production of the supposed murderer was demanded, then an examination, and, in case of proven guilt, the surrender of the culprit to the Maoris. Ihaka and Mohi replied that the previous inquiry was sufficient. Mohi, at the end of his oration, broke a stick, throwing one piece on the ground, in token that the matter had been concluded. “Let there be no evil” (he said) was old Potatau's advice. Tamati Ngapora (uncle of the king) pacified the war-party, and invited them to a feast, which ended the proceedings.
A few days afterwards two Europeans assaulted Ihaka, as he was labouring for peace, and the chief assured the Governor that if his blood had been shed his followers could not have been restrained. Two days later Browne held conference with Tamati Ngapora and Takerei, who had become an adviser of the Maori king. The former alleged that a Maori, who had fought at Taranaki, had been sought for by the police at Auckland. His arrest would have been a sufficient cause of war. (Parenthetically, the Governor told the Secretary of State, “the man was not arrested because I feared reprisals on our out settlers, and a magistrate who declared his intention to arrest him was fortunately unable to put it into force.”) After four hours the conference broke up with little result.
Two days later (31st October) came tidings that the kingmaker was on his way to the scene of the supposed murder with 400 men. Alarm ran like wildfire through Auckland. Europeans at Otahuhu, nine miles from Auckland, hurriedly at night implored protection. Browne instructed Colonel Kenny to call out the militia, and do what he could. Later, at page 27 midnight, Ihaka visited Browne, to say that the king-maker had informed him and Tamati Ngapora that no aggression of which they might disapprove should be committed. Browne countermanded the order for sending soldiers to Otahuhu. But all was not over. The Maori-king natives mustered at Ngaruawahia. The resolute Rewi, the Ngatimaniapoto chief, was, fortunately, absent at Taranaki. From Ngaruawahia more than 300 warriors went down the Waikato river in their war-canoes, under the young king Matutaera and Te Waharoa the king-maker. At Paetai they had a war-dance. A letter from Ihaka, to say that the death of Eriata had been duly considered, did not restrain the young men of the party. They disregarded Matutaera, who returned homewards with his mother. The king-maker remained with them to prevent mischief, but could not induce them to abandon their journey. At Tuakau, about thirty-five miles from Auckland, Bishop Selwyn and Archdeacon Maunsell met them. Though his advice was reviled by Mr. Richmond and his colleagues, the Bishop was ever daring to do good and to make peace. Long conference took place. Some wild spirits brooked no delay, and with two canoes pursued their journey. The Archdeacon told the king-maker, who sent a letter after them in haste: “Come back, and come back in peace.” Whakapaukai obeyed the missive; and Mr. Gorst remarks that the Europeans owed their salvation on this occasion to Te Waharoa, the Waikato rebel. It was known afterwards, that by journeying on foot, the Bishop had carried a message to friendly chiefs, who undertook to bar the war-party from passing through their territory. When the Bishop died, the settler, at whose house the Bishop arrived soon after sunrise, dripping from the fording of a creek, told the story. Pirimona was the name of a gallant Maori who shared the Bishop's troubles. The Bishop himself recorded the fact that the brother of the Maori supposed to have been murdered, when convinced that the supposition was untrue, mounted guard at the house of a settler to defend him from attack.1
1 Nets were spread widely to create offences under the Richmond-cum-Whitaker Native Offenders Bill. Any district might be proclaimed under it. Any visitor, any purchaser or seller within it, any holder of “any communication or correspondence whatever, directly or indirectly,” with a Maori in it, &c. &c., or any person aiding or abetting any person in such offences, was to be deemed guilty. Tribes might be proclaimed under the measure. A first offence entailed a fine of £100 at the discretion of two Justices like the coveters at Taranaki. A second offence entailed hard labour with imprisonment; a third constituted felony, and drew down penal servitude for not less than three years. No investigation as to the causes of proclamation was provided for. Letters from Sir William Martin, written to procure peace, might have subjected him to the discipline of a gaol under the control of the Attorney-General. But it was only on general grounds that Sir William Martin argued against the atrocious provisions of the measure.
Sir William Martin rent this sophistry to shreds by declaring that military force was not placed in the hands of a Governor to enable him to seize by force that to which as a land-buyer he had not acquired a title. “It is not lawful for the Executive Government to use force in a purely civil question without the authority of a competent judicial tribunal. In this case no such authority has been obtained; no such tribunal has been resorted to. If there was no existing tribunal, the duty of the Government was to establish one.… To acquire the Waitara land immediately was not a necessity. To do justice to the Queen's subjects was a necessity.”
Richmond denied that in law or in fact the law had anything to do with Maori territorial rights. They stood on treaty of page 32 which the Crown was “the sole interpreter,” and the Governor was “justified in enforcing his jurisdiction in the only practical mode, viz. by military occupation.”
Sir W. Martin cuttingly answered: “I have argued that the people of Waitara, being subjects of the Crown, have not been dealt with as subjects of the Crown. Mr. Richmond answers by saying they are not subjects of the Crown; they have had all they are entitled to.” Martin quoted the Waitangi treaty which guaranteed to them “all the rights and privileges of British subjects,” and said those rights” must mean at any rate the opposite of despotism.” Mr. Richmond had overlooked the fact that if the treaty were, as his argument implied, “a treaty in the ordinary sense, then the right of interpreting and enforcing it must belong not to one party but to both equally; that the natives are at liberty to resort to force in support of their view as much as the Governor in support of his; and that they cannot be charged with rebellion if they do so. However little the theoretical value of Mr. Richmond's doctrine may be, it is a significant and remarkable fact that such a doctrine has been put forth. It is remarkable as bearing on the position which I have maintained, that the natives at the Waitara, being British subjects, have not been treated as British subjects.” What was it that Mr. Richmond “called by the name of the Crown” in the Waitara land-purchase? “The Governor judging in this particular case is simply and in fact Mr. Parris.… The majesty of the Royal word and the largeness of the national undertaking issue in the decision of an Assistant Land Purchase Commissioner.” It must be conceded that in their own generation the Government were wise in endeavouring, by an ad misericordiam appeal, to silence the eloquence which they had no power to control, and against which they were unable to contend.
The Duke of Newcastle dared not to rebuke the wisdom by which he refused to be guided. In March, 1861, he told the Governor: “It is an advantage to me to be in the possession of the views of so eminent a person as Sir W. Martin, accompanied by your own comments and criticisms, and those of your Ministers where you or they feel compelled to differ with him.” But the advantage on which he congratulated himself bore no fruit. Sir W. Martin could prove that all Governors had solemnly page 33 pledged themselves to obey the treaty of Waitangi; that Fitzroy had in the Queen's name recognized in all their integrity the admitted rights of Te Rangitake at Waitara; that as a chief, as a member of the tribe, and as an occupier, those rights were irrefragably concentred in him;—but the proofs were lost on the barren intelligence of the Secretary of State, who equalled the Governor in folly. He approved of the “proclamation issued (by the Governor) for the purpose of inducing loyal subjects to refrain from publishing opinions which may tend to impugn the justice and legality of the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government during the present juncture of affairs in New Zealand.” Yet a lurking homage was paid to Sir W. Martin. With regard to the letter in which Sir W. Martin consented to withhold his ‘Remarks’ from publicity in the colony, the Duke wrote (27th May, 1861): “Although I should much regret that anything should be published by so high an authority as Sir W. Martin, which might tend still further to disturb the minds of the New Zealanders, I feel satisfied that he has only been influenced in the matter by a sincere desire to take that course which would prove for the ultimate benefit of the colony.”
When Colonel Browne notified to England Martin's consent to withhold the publication of his ‘Remarks,’ he deplored the effect of such arguments as Martin's. Disaffection was spreading; there was a “sad prospect before us of that struggle of races which it has been the constant and earnest aim of every Government in New Zealand to avert. (He did not wish to accuse Sir W. Martin.) I and my advisers have ever endeavoured to do justice to his motives.” With wonderful folly he referred to the protests of Selwyn and Martin against Earl Grey's iniquitous Instructions (of 1846) as a similar error; although in 1859 he had extolled Sir W. Martin as holding “the enviable distinction of being universally respected by all parties and both races,” and being the man whose character and wisdom would silence calumny if his advice were accepted on Maori affairs. Nor did the Governor's mental contortions end here. He informed the Duke of Newcastle (January, 1861), that Mr. C. O. Davis, the Interpreter, who resigned office when he found it untenable under the growing interference of the Governor's advisers, had published “at Maori expense” portions of Sir W. page 34 Martin's pamphlet; that “those most competent to form an opinion consider the publication likely to do an incalculable amount of mischief; (and) under these circumstances I have issued the public notification (restraining the exercise of ‘the right of free discussion’).” Soon afterwards (March, 1861) he wrote: “I have always wished to communicate with Waharoa (the king-maker), but owing to the conduct of Mr. C. O. Davis, as described by himself to Mr. Clarke, I have never been able to do so.” Yet when Waharoa sought in 1857 to lay the Maori grievances before the Governor he was not allowed to see him; and not till then did that chief call upon the Maoris to elect their king; and even in 1860, Donald McLean, then high in the Governor's confidence, intrigued to prevent Waharoa from appearing before the Select Committee on Waikato affairs.
1 Captain (now General Charles) Pasley had held a civil appointment in Victoria, but, when danger invited, placed himself at the disposal of the Commander of the Forces.
Reprisals at Auckland were apprehended, and additional troops were collected there; but it was to Waitara that the Maori war-parties were sent. Colonel Browne was not ignorant of the feeling which was spreading among the tribes. Two months after the battle of Mahoetahi he found that sympathy with the Waitara chief was extending in the province of Wellington. In an intercepted letter was found a boast that of the Ngatiruanui, Taranaki, Ngatiawa, and Waikato only 63 had fallen (of whom 36 died at Mahoetahi), while 1500 Pakehas had been killed,— showing that bulletins of all countries are untrustworthy. At Hawke's Bay there was in November, 1860, a great Runanga or assembly of the Ngatikahungunu; and a chief, Renata, made an oration of which the Governor sent a translation to England. The burden of the complaint was that the Governor plunged into war, and would not let the law decide whether Te Rangitake or Teira was wrong. “I indeed,” said Renata, “will not be as the lick-platter Assembly of the Governor; my words are proper and plain, forasmuch as that Runanga has done wrong.” He declared that the murder of page 37 Katatore was of the darkest kind, and that the Governor, who was friendly to Ihaia, was become his accomplice. He denounced the statement that Ihaia was a chief of importance. He was of low rank at Waitara. Te Rangitake alone was their great man, and known by all tribes. Governor Browne contemned Renata's speech as “evidently the result of European advice.” Renata in a published letter (February, 1861) justified his position, and replied to arguments of the Superintendent of Hawke's Bay.
In the end of December, General Pratt marched to attack the Waikato posted near Kairau at Matarikoriko. He had about 1000 men, two 24-pounder howitzers, one 12-pounder, and two mortars. He proceeded at half-past six in the morning to throw up an entrenched camp about 900 yards from the pah. Unmolested till nine o'clock, at that hour the troops were fired upon from a line of Maori rifle-pits, running along a deep ravine between the pah and the camp, and extending over 600 yards. From rifle-pits and high fern heavy firing continued till six in the evening, and was returned by the English. No firing took place on the following day (30th December), and when the General was about to resume operations on the 31st the Maoris had evacuated the pah. A Maori letter was found there in which a Waikato chief urged the combatants, Rewi and others, to spare the women and children. The English casualties were three men killed and 22 wounded. As usual the loss of the Maoris was unknown. The General considered it must have been great to induce the abandonment of so strong a position situate in a dense forest. Pleased with this success over “the vaunting Waikatos,” as he called them in his despatch, General Pratt pushed forward redoubts in the face of an innocuous fire from rifle-pits. A letter from one of his allies had been found (in the pah captured on the 31st December), warning the Waikato of the intended attack, and the General thought of trying the writer by martial law, but the Governor dissuaded him. He could not afford to make enemies, and it was well known that a species of Maori honour caused men to warn an enemy of an intended attack. Some of the Taranaki militia and volunteers failed to attend parade when called on to accompany the troops, and the General wrote, that to command success he must have 5000 men exclusive of garrisons, and be page 38 empowered to invade the Waikato country before moving southwards to Taranaki. He had no great confidence in the militia, and wished the senior officer of the regular troops to take command in all cases of mixed service. The Governor could not agree to under-rate the local forces, but offered to give brevet rank in the militia to officers of the army when required. With fire and sword at their doors and their throats, the Taranaki settlers were resolved to keep the terms of their honour precise. Meantime the gallantry of his foes worked upon the General's consciousness. They made vain diversions at the south of Taranaki. At the north, pushing forward in front of Huirangi, which had been Te Rangitake's head-quarters in November, the English found their Redoubt No. 3 daringly assaulted on the 23rd January. At half-past three a.m. a storming party crept up through the fern, and in the darkness made a lodgment in the ditch of the redoubt. They had a support in rear, and skirmishers were around. Colonel Leslie of the 40th Regiment thus described the attack: “The plan appeared to be to keep down the fire of our men on the parapets by their support and skirmishers, while the storming party scaled the left face of the redoubt. The force under my command was under arms previous to the attack, and quickly replied to the fire of the enemy, who in the most determined and desperate manner rushed up the sides of the parapet, and in some instances seized hold of the men's bayonets, while others crept round to the rear of the redoubt, and fired through the gabions which had been placed to fill up the entrances to the work, and one of the Royal Engineers was in this manner killed while coming out of his tent. A perfect storm of bullets was poured on us from all sides for a considerable time, and I called for assistance from Colonel Wyatt, 65th Regiment, commanding No. 1 Redoubt (at Kairau), for the purpose of dislodging the enemy from our ditch, as I had no hand-grenades.” Two companies of the 65th and one of the 12th arrived. Charged by the new arrivals in gallant manner, the Maoris retired under heavy fire from the parapets and from the guns of the Royal and Naval Artillery. Thirty-four were found dead, and six wounded were left behind. Of the English, twelve were wounded and four killed. The bodies of the chiefs were taken to Taranaki for interment. page 39 Many were so mangled by the grenades that they could not be identified. General Pratt wrote: “I trust that the severe losses this manly and high-spirited people are continually receiving will teach them how unavailing are their efforts against Her Majesty's supremacy, and will lead soon to a termination of this unhappy internecine war.”
The wild spirits of youthful Ngatihaua, Ngatiraukawa, and other tribes had inspired respect in their foes; but their wiser elders desired an honourable peace. Tamati Ngapora and Patara were vainly discussing its terms with the Assistant Native Secretary on the day on which the English bayonets were grasped by the Maori storming party. Soon afterwards (2nd February, 1861) Tamati Ngapora and Aihipene, with other chiefs of the north, conferred at Government House with the Governor, the Attorney-General (Whitaker), the Native Secre tary (McLean), the Assistant Native Secretary (Smith), and the Land Claims Commissioner, Mr. Dillon Bell. The burly and good-humoured Aihipene presented the terms proposed. If they were accepted, the chief, Mokena, would be sent at once to bring back the Waikato from the seat of war. “1st. The piece of land at Waitara, let it be left aside or set apart, to be afterwards arranged or settled by a Court or Whakawhakanga. 2nd. Do not hold to, or bear in remembrance, the causes of evil, whether as regards men, the land, or killing, or property; let these be all unloosened, all forgiven.” Browne said such terms were inadmissible. Aihipene said they were the Maori idea. Would the Governor state what he wished? English law must be recognized in future; compensation must be given for the waste of Taranaki; punishment inflicted for the murders at Omata in 1860. Aihipene replied that these must be questions for settlement, but he would not presume to anticipate the mode. The proper course was to make peace first, and settle differences afterwards. This the Governor would not agree to, and the chiefs said they had nothing else to offer. The Governor said the chiefs must understand that he did not confuse the murders at Omata with the conduct of Te Rangitake or of the Waikato. Aihipene said the Waikato must be consulted about Te Rangitake and the Ngatiawa. Colonel Browne asked if the chiefs could bind the Waikato or Ngatiawa. page 40 They had no authority, and he pointed out that it was absurd to ask him to cease from war when they could not bind their tribes. Tamati Ngapora spoke. The work was that of the Governor and Te Rangitake, though others suffered. Let them put an end to it. The Governor was anxious for peace, but asked what was the use of a short rest, after which war might again break out? Tamati Ngapora put the Governor's stick on the table, struck the end, and said, “Where will the vibration stop? Not at the first six inches, not till it reached the other end.” (Meaning that it was inevitable that other tribes would sympathize with Te Rangitake.) The Governor rejoiced that the vibration had crossed the ocean to England. The chiefs remained silent. The Governor said he was going to consult the Ngapuhi, and would gladly consider terms of peace on his return from the north. Old Patuone (Waka Nene's brother) said the insurrection was like an abscess, and could not be healed till the core was taken out. As to the Omata murders, Paratene ti Kopara was the actual murderer; and as he had been killed since, according to Maori usage atonement was already made. McLean said others were accused. Taraia (a Thames chief) asked who were the Governor's friends whom he desired to consult? Tamati Ngapora represented Waikato, Patuone the Ngapuhi, Ngatitoa was represented by Hohepa Tamaihengia, the Thames people by himself. Why not make terms at once? The chiefs approved, and Aihipene said if the Governor agreed that there should be peace, the word would go forth and the insurrection would not spread. The Governor said that the paper which had just been read would give no security for peace. War must be continued till more reasonable proposals reached him. He was answered by Ihaka (Waikato), that points of difference could not be arranged while blood was flowing. He retorted, let Waikato return from Taranaki, and the blood of Waikato would cease to flow. While he was in the north, “let the chiefs work again at their own thoughts and those which he had indicated.”
Colonel Browne told the Duke of Newcastle that it was with great regret he was obliged to refuse such an appeal as that made by the Waikato chief, Tamati Ngapora, “whose desire for peace was undoubted.” He visited the Bay of Islands and page 41 Mongonui, accompanied by Patuone, Ihaka, and Taraia. The Ngapuhi and Rarawa tribes received him loyally. On his return to Auckland he received a letter from the resident magistrate at the Bay of Plenty, narrating an interview, at Tauranga, with the king-maker, who justified the Maoris. Maoris sold their land blindfold for nominal sums; it was then cut up and sold for full value. “Have we not a better right to this advanced price than the Pakeha?” A Pakeha had told him that the Queen would claim all the waste lands as demesne lands of the Crown, and confine the Maoris to their cultivations. “This statement was confirmed by a Roman Catholic priest. I reasoned with myself: ‘This land was given to my ancestors by Providence. We have retained it from generation to generation. Surely because it is unoccupied now, it is no reason why it should always remain so. I hope the day will yet come when our descendants will not have more than they really require. If I have been correctly informed, even a few years ago there were in England large tracts of unoccupied lands. No other nation on that account attempted to seize them. Why then should they attempt to claim our unoccupied lands?’” Thence arose opposition to land-sales. The Pakehas would not assist in creating a native council and native magistrates to settle Maori disputes. He visited Auckland, but was not allowed to see the Governor on the subject. “I determined to take at my own risk what my Pakeha friends denied me?” (Mr. Fenton afterwards did mischief: he widened the breach by setting up assessors without reference to the wishes of the tribes. But the king-maker did not approve of the Waikato war-party.) “I did all in my power to dissuade Wetini from going to Taranaki. Our contention was great. He cursed me, went to Taranaki, and has fallen.” The magistrate could obtain no hint from the king-maker as to future movements. “All his conversation related to the past.” With this narrative the Governor sent to England the king-maker's letter (declining to attend a Committee as a witness) which has already been quoted.
1 He still held office as Treasurer, and as Commissioner of Customs.
1 ‘History of Taranaki.’ B. Wells. 1878: New Zealand.
“Salutation to you, O chief of this war! Hear what I have to say. Let there be a truce for three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, that I may consider the state of affairs here concerning those with whom you have been fighting, namely, the men from Waikato and those under Te Rangitake.… If you consent, issue orders to your soldiers that they may leave off the sap during these three days. If you object to my proposal, write to me that I may know.… After the three days you and your opponents can recommence fighting. This is all. Friend, you may put faith in what I say. What I say will be put in force by my tribe.—From Wi Tamihana te Waharoa.”
The General granted truce for the two days remaining when he received the letter, desiring the Maoris to cease fortifying. On Thursday morning active operations would be resumed. From Pukerangiora the king-maker retorted (12th March): “I see you do not put faith in what I say. Listen to me; I will not deceive you; a promise like this of mine is not of the earth, but comes from above. It is not right that I should break faith with you.… I am rather inclined to think that you deceived me: your soldiers have come down to-day into your rifle-pits and fired at us. On that account I am led to suppose that you are deceiving me, and that you have no control over your people.…” The General explained that the firing was by mistake, because the white flag, where hoisted on the palisading, was unseen from the foremost (No. 8) Redoubt. He complained also that the Maoris (always in want of ammunition) had been “collecting our bullets; what have you to say about that?” On the 13th, the Native Commissioner (Mr. G. D. Hay) met the king-maker, who proposed that the Waikato should go home, that Te Rangitake should go to undisputed land, the English withdraw to Waitaki, and the Waitara block be undisturbed till some final decision could be arrived at by law. There was no appreciable difference between these terms and those rejected by the Governor at Auckland. Mr. Hay said they were inadmissible. “Then,” said the king-maker, “let the troops remain, while you and I go to Auckland; I by land, you by sea. page 45 Meet me at Tuakau.” He was told that he had better go in the ship himself. “Shall I go and be treated like Rauparaha?” he replied. The General vainly offered a “guarantee for his personal safety.” Mr. Hay went to the General at No. 7 Redoubt. On his return the chief said: “You are harsh and difficult to deal with. Hear my third offer. Let us remain here in peace. Entreat the Governor to come down here.” Other chiefs supported him, and Rangitake was said to acquiesce in the first of the proposals. The General would only consent that the Maoris should retire, and that the English should occupy Pukerangiora, while the king-maker went in a war-steamer to Auckland with Mr. Hay. Again two shots were fired at the Maoris, and again they were told they were fired by mistake. The king-maker said he was tired of writing to Mr. Hay. “I will write to the Governor and to my Bishop, that they may be aware of my arrival here, and how much I tried to treat with the General.” Another day's truce was granted. Mr. Hay urged the General's terms. The king-maker said that neither the General nor Mr. Hay seemed inclined to treat on the terms he proposed, and wrote letters to the Governor, to Sir William Martin, and to the Bishop, requesting the General to forward them, and desiring that there might be peace until the Governor should reply. The General promised to forward the letters, and said that meantime active operations would be recommenced. The Governor was inclined to go to Taranaki, but on consulting his Executive Council it was decided otherwise. Mr. Richmond was still Treasurer, and the Ministry feared that Colonel Browne's nature was too full of the milk of human kindness for their purposes. They sent McLean. They still averred that if Te Rangitake would prove his individual claim to any portion of the Waitara block it would be returned to him. But as they resisted Bishop Selwyn's importunity that the case should be submitted to a law-court, their averment was idle. They feared that no judicial tribunal would refuse to recognize those tribal rights which they were conspiring to destroy.
An important change in the ownership of the Waitara block had meantime been effected by the king-maker's visit. In general tribal meetings, as amongst ancient Germans, resolutions of great moment could be passed in emergencies. In conference between page 46 the Ngatiawa and Waikato, Te Waharoa had spoken of the cause of quarrel being Rangitake's. The chief of Waitara said, “No, it is yours.” “Look at a man,” said the king-maker; “his head is head; his hands, hands; and his legs, legs. You are the head; Waikato is only the legs.” “No; you are the head.” “No; you.” “Very well,” retorted Te Rangitake, “I am the head; Waitara is mine; the quarrel is mine. There! I give Waitara to you.” On further question he said he disclaimed further voice in disposal of the land. The Ngatiawa fighting general Hapurona, Epiha and Rewi as leaders of the Waikato and Ngatimaniapoto allies, publicly assented, and the kingmaker, accepting the gift, declared his award. “Waikato! back to Waikato. Ngatiawa! away to Mataitawa. Ngatiruanui! return to your homes. Let the soldiers return to Taranaki. As for the Waitara, leave it for the law to protect.” Thus empowered by the Maoris, the king-maker had proposed his terms to Mr. Hay, and had made earnest request that there might be no more fighting. The General meanwhile knew nothing of the tribal resolution. On the Friday the Maori white flag still flew under the king-maker's order. The English recommenced to dig in the sap, and were unmolested. The Maori pah was fired at, and the king-maker then said to the fighting chiefs: “Now do as you list.” The war-flag was hoisted, and for three days firing was kept up; the king-maker himself abstaining from fighting. The Maoris alleged that only one of them was wounded during this period; but the English believed that their mortars did much execution in the rifle-pits. The English lost a lieutenant of artillery. He was in the act of laying a cohorn mortar at the head of the sap when, from a precipice, a Maori marksman fired, and a bullet glancing from McNaughten's hand, entered his heart. On Monday McLean arrived, and wrote that he had been sent by the Governor, and would see Te Waharoa as soon as a flag of truce was hoisted. The firing was continued nevertheless, two Englishmen being killed, and four wounded. On Tuesday Maori flags of truce were hoisted, and the king-maker appointed Te Waionaha as the place of meeting, whither McLean went, accompanied by English and Maori friends. A hundred of the enemy welcomed him cordially. The proposals made to General Pratt were renewed. McLean page 47 (ignorant as the General of the tribal meeting) spoke at great length. He offered safe-conduct to Te Waharoa if he would, with others, return to Auckland to draw up a full statement of all differences. The king-maker said the proposal was fair, but that his followers could not forget that Pomare and Rauparaha had been foully seized. They would not object to meet near Auckland, however. Epiha, the Waikato chief, asked for information as to reference to the Secretary of State, and McLean expatiated on the European mode of arbitration. The conference arrived at no determination. Mr. McLean wished for further interviews. The king-maker “neither objected nor assented. He would sit still for a month or two to afford the Governor an opportunity of making peace. If it was not used, he would be prepared for further action.” What the kingmaker's thoughts were can only be guessed. He asked McLean to be friendly to the Ngatiawa, and at his request the Maori chief who had accompanied McLean from Auckland visited the Maori encampment, where discussion continued in the night. At half-past six on Wednesday morning, with all the Waikato warriors, the king-maker left Waitara, firing shots, as was the custom, over the graves of their dead; and McLean regretted that he had “no further interview with this intelligent chief.” On Thursday the 21st he met 300 Ngatiawa, and conversed with Te Rangitake and Hapurona. It was decided that hostilities should cease; that McLean should ask the Governor to visit Taranaki; that the Maoris should keep the white flag flying on their fortifications, and have access to their cultivations, peach-groves, and graves. Te Rangitake expressed a hope that the Governor would not be hard upon the Taranaki and Ngatiruanui tribes. McLean—heartily aided by General Pratt—thought peace could now be honourably made.
The Governor having arrived upon the scene went to the General's camp, accompanied by the Attorney-General, by Mr. Weld the Native Minister, by Waka Nene, Tamati Ngapora, and others. For three days discussions were held. On the 30th March several chiefs visited Te Rangitake's pah, three miles from the English advanced posts. Throughout these days Te Rangitake's men had brought presents of vegetables and fruit to the English soldiers. On the 2nd April the chief sent word page 48 that he was content with the terms suggested. If the Governor would first visit him, he would then visit the General's head-quarters. This was thought humiliating, and the Governor declined to pay the first visit. He went to the camp of the 65th Regiment, within a mile of Rangitake's temporary encampment, and was visited by Hapurona and others. On the 3rd the Governor proposed written terms. By the first he virtually abandoned the whole contention under which he had waged war with Sir W. Martin in words, and the Maoris with arms. He admitted that further examination of the title at Waitara was needed. 1. The investigation of the title to and the survey of the land at Waitara to be continued and completed without interruption. 2. Every man to be permitted to state his claims without interference, and my decision, or the decision of such persons as I shall appoint, to be conclusive. 3. All the land in possession of Her Majesty's forces belonging to those who have borne arms against Her Majesty, to be disposed of by me as I think fit. 4. All arms belonging to the Government to be returned. 5. All plunder taken from settlers to be restored. 6. The Ngatiawa who have borne arms against the Government must submit to the Queen, and not resort to force for the redress of grievances, real or imaginary. The Governor announced that he would divide the land, which he meant to dispose amongst its former owners, reserving sites of block-houses and redoubts, and right of making roads. He had not used force, he said, to acquire land, but vindicate the law. Mr. Weld, in a pamphlet published in 1869, urged that Te Rangitake was thus put in a position to receive back “any portion of the Waitara block to which he could prove a claim;” but it will be observed that from first to last the New Zealand Government refused to recognize any rights of chieftainship in Rangitake, and that the claim Mr. Weld was willing to recognize was the individual usufructuary right. Of the well-known paramount tribal right the Government took no heed. Hapurona visited the English camp, but Te Rangitake distrustfully sent word that he had had “ominous dreams,” and stayed away. Hapurona required time to consider the terms. After a few days, during which Rangitake wrote to the Governor but did not visit him, Hapurona acceded to the terms; and Browne, on the 7th April, gave page 49 Rangitake a short time to consider, adding, “If not settled in these days I have nothing more to say to you.” Rangitake retired from the scene with Rewi, the Ngatimaniapoto chief, and wrote to the Governor on the 8th April, telling him not to be grieved at his going to Waikato. He was going to hear the words of the tribes who had suffered for him. “Yes, I have consented to the peace. I sent my daughter to see you, but she did not see you.1 That settles the arrangement of the cessation of firing between the soldiers and the Maoris. Let the arrangement of what has to be said regarding Waitara be done there. No more. At Mangere we shall see each other.”
1 Mr. Weld said in the House afterwards: “Rangitake sent his daughter to make peace. As, however, no acceptance of the terms of submission proposed by the Governor was proffered, and as the reception of Rangitake's daughter would, according to native custom, have concluded peace, leaving terms to be considered afterwards, it was impossible to receive her. Ungallant therefore as it may appear, she was necessarily allowed to return in dudgeon.”
Sir William Martin now made an attempt to prevent the ills he foreboded if the Government should act violently against the king movement, which in its inception they had favoured when they sent Mr. Fenton to Waikato, and corresponded with Tamati Ngapora. On the 3rd May he sent a minute to the Assistant Native Secretary. A display of, or resort to, force would rouse determined resistance. He argued that the so-called king movement was one which the “Government should rather welcome as a god-send than attempt to crush as an enemy.” Through it institutions adapted to Maori needs might be established. The king-maker had lately exemplified what the movement meant. He stuck in the ground two sticks. “One,” he said, “is the Maori king; the other the Governor.” He placed a third stick resting on them horizontally. “This,” he said, “is the law of God and the Queen.” Then he traced on the ground a circle enclosing the two sticks. “That circle is the Queen, the fence to protect all.”
1 Amongst the signatures was that of Karaitiana Takamoana, who afterwards was elected to represent the Maori eastern electoral district in the New Zealand Parliament. Other names also showed that Mr. Weld erred in undervaluing the petition.
1 Till one sees such words recorded it is difficult to believe either that the Governor could have remained in such utter ignorance of tribal rights, or that the Ministry who were not ignorant of them could dare to instigate the writing of such a despatch. They must have felt that a fair inquiry would prove the injustice done, and they desired to conceal it, if not from the Governor, from the public.
2 Speech of Mr. Richmond, 18th May, 1858.
Judge Johnson was asked to become a Commissioner to determine differences among native claimants, on the understanding that “any question as to the title of the Ngatiawa tribe collectively would not be within his jurisdiction.” Judge Johnston's acceptance of the task of determining Maori titles, “excluding all claims founded upon any general tribal right,” affords a clue to his opinion as to the significance of thus debarring an inquirer from considering the essence of the subject of inquiry. “If the necessity of the appointment involved the necessity for my expressing, even by implication, or indeed of coming to a definite opinion as to the policy of your Excellency respecting the war, or the propriety of the terms of peace, or of the propriety of excluding claims founded upon a right or a supposed right of the Ngatiawa tribe over the lands in question, I should certainly deem it my duty respectfully to decline the office of Commissioner.”1
1 N.Z.P.P. 1861; E. No. 1, B.
The time was approaching when the Governor, so unworthily imposed upon, was to show that though deluded he was not intentionally dishonest. The path into which he was beguiled he would frankly follow. He had been told that Te Rangitake had no tribal rights and only wished to destroy the Queen's supremacy, and that even if the chief had any rights the Governor's duty was to despise them and make war for the “mana” of the Queen, and he had done so. He determined to prosecute it. On the day (25th May, 1861) on which he complained to the Secretary of State that Bishop Selwyn appeared “to ignore the guarantees in the treaty of Waitangi, frequently repeated publicly and privately” by the Governor, Colonel Browne committed his views to paper. He would first establish the Queen's supremacy. Afterwards he would find out the Maori views at a native conference, and be guided by them as far as possible. Civilization was unattainable until their “communal title” could be destroyed. He would give salaries to page 58 native chiefs, who should be organs of communication with the Government; divide native territory into districts, with a European officer in each; establish schools; pass an Act enabling the Crown to issue grants in commutation of native tenure; and “make bush roads through the heart of the native districts.” He would establish a tribunal, to decide land disputes, suggested by the Judges. In addition to the terms offered at Taranaki, conditions were held out to the Waikato; after discussion, and modifications made by the Governor in Council on remonstrance by Mr. McLean. A manifesto to the Waikato tribes was issued. It charged the Maoris with violating the treaty of Waitangi by setting up a king. It required unconditional submission to the Queen, restitution of all plunder, and compensation for all losses. Mr. Smith, the Assistant Native Secretary, explained it for three hours to Tamati Ngapora, in order that the chieftain, the uncle of the king, might expound it to a Runanga about to be held at Ngaruawahia. Though Ngapora undertook to submit the manifesto to the chiefs it was plain that he had no hope of a favourable reception for it. Even as it stood it had been modified in deference to McLean's objections. This was on the 25th May. On the 29th the Governor received a letter from a Wairarapa chief (Wellington province), stating that some of the chiefs, loyal at Kohimarama, were departing from their word and joining the king movement.
On the 1st June the Government heard that Te Rangitake was making an armed progress in Waikato, at the head of more than 400 men, on his way to Ngaruawahia, where great preparations were made for his reception. The chiefs, it was said, had resolved “rather to die as chiefs than live as slaves to the Europeans.” On the 4th June the Governor opened the first session of the third Parliament of New Zealand. He narrated briefly the steps he had taken, and alluded to recent discoveries of gold in the colony. Both Houses echoed his speech. Ominous reports were made in July that the natives were collecting gunpowder. Browne wrote: “I am informed that Maori women purchase powder in Auckland or its neighbourhood, and carry it away on their backs concealed in blankets.” McLean believed that American whaling vessels largely supplied it on the coast. Though the Ministry tided over the address, notice page 59 was given of a motion for inquiry into the state of the colony. Stafford and his colleagues met it by proposing resolutions binding the House to the Governor's manifesto to the Waikato. With an amendment, carried by a friendly member who considered the war an Imperial one, the House adopted the resolutions (19th June). Mr. Weld, in the debate, alluding to the king-maker, said: “I would not speak without an amount of respect for the man. In his own mind he may be right, and looking from his point of view there is nothing to be said against the position he takes, but if we are to be carried away by any maudlin sentiment about which the world now raves, we really entail the ruin of that race itself, no less than the partial rain of this colony for many years.” But all colonists were not blind followers of the Ministry, and many who desired war did not wish to enter upon it without more men from England. A deputation of representatives of the province of Wellington in the Assembly (Mr. Fox, Dr. Featherston, Mr. Fitzherbert, and three others) waited upon the Governor to warn him that distrust was spreading, that the Maoris were becoming convinced that he was determined to attack them separately in detail, and that many who had held aloof from the Taranaki dispute as a personal matter between Te Rangitake and the Governor would now, if war were undertaken (as they heard was probable) against the Waikatos, feel compelled to make common cause with their countrymen; and that the forces in New Zealand were inadequate to protect the colonists against a general insurrection. Governor Browne might be unwise, but he was bold. He thought it likely that the invasion of the Waikato country would cause a general rising, but he would carry out his resolution, and “insist upon the terms he had proposed to the Waikatos.”
Settlers must suffer, but must, as at Taranaki, build and defend block-houses. War was not made with rose-water. Auckland from its position was most exposed, but Colonel Browne did not believe that for some time there “had been imminent danger even there.” Having pleaded in vain for Wellington, Wanganui, and Wairarapa, the members foreboded from the Governor's demeanour the destruction of the fruits of 20 years of colonization. They presented a report of their page 60 interview on the 20th June. It does not appear that the Ministry objected to the strange procedure. The paper appears as “laid on the table by Mr. Fox, and ordered to be printed.” The recognized leader of the Opposition gave notice of a motion of want of confidence, and the Governor understood that if there should be a change of Ministry, the new men would not hold themselves bound by the manifesto to the Waikato tribes. He thereupon communicated with the House (25th June) independently of his advisers. He reminded it of its resolutions of the 19th June; “1. That the establishment within these islands of a sovereign authority, independent of the British Crown, is incompatible with the security of the colonists, the civilization of the natives, and the welfare of both races. 2. That if, unhappily, negotiations should fail, this House, relying on the best practicable provision being made for the protection of life and property, is of opinion that it is the duty of the colony to second the measures taken by the Imperial Government for the assertion of Her Majesty's sovereignty, and securing a lasting peace.” Colonel Browne wanted a more clear definition of the colonial assistance thus offered. His advisers enabled him to tell the Secretary of State that they agreed with the course he took. Some members objected that the Governor could not constitutionally address the House except under advice; but an address was unanimously adopted, pledging the House to “assent to organization and maintenance of militia to defend the several settlements, and to approve of the acceptance by the Colonial Government of advances from the commissariat chest for defraying the requisite expenditure on the conditions prescribed by the Secretary of State (January, 1861), viz.—”that all such advances will be repaid from colonial funds, so far as the Imperial Government shall require repayment.” These conditions had been imposed in consequence of the loose manner in which Colonel Browne had left the question of repayments “for future adjustment between the mother country and the colony,” when he was inveigled into the Taranaki war. The Assistant Commissary-General had pointed out that advances for militia purposes, such as the Governor required, were at variance with War Office regulations; and after lengthy correspondence the Governor obtained the money, but postponed page 61 the question of repayment—Mr. Richmond “respectfully submitting that the colony was entitled to the ultimate refund of its advances, and that his Excellency should, on behalf of the colony, claim such refund.” Now, when a larger war was being prepared, in dire need of money, but undismayed by danger, and thirsting for control of Maori lands and people, the pledge (qualified in their address “to the extent of the limited resources of the colony”) required by the Secretary of State was given by the representatives, who, in their turn, reminded the Governor that it would be more costly to provide a militia than to obtain more soldiers. The Governor could not refrain from calling the attention of the Secretary of State to the able and manly speech of Mr.C. W. Richmond, the Treasurer, which placed “the whole subject in its true light.” At the very time when this matter was considered in the House, General Cameron was representing that the militia force was inadequately available. Its members could only be called out for service within limited districts. He knew of no other country with such narrow limitations as a circle of 15 miles radius. He had wished to inspect the force. Obtaining no satisfaction, after repeated requests, and finding that the policy of the Ministry was to make a quarrel and leave the soldiery to fight it out, he urged, on the 1st July, that he must fully inform the authorities in England. “It was his duty to direct their attention to the fact that at this critical juncture, when every settlement in this island is threatened with attack, the militia has not been called out at any of them except at Taranaki, where, according to Major Herbert's report, not more than 100 militiamen can be considered fit for duty.” He had commenced preparations for attacking the Waikato when instructed to do so. Such an expedition should not be undertaken with much less than 3000 men, and he wished to know, whether, in case of hostilities, garrison duties could be performed by militia, as barely 2500 troops were available for field service. Mr. Stafford furnished in reply a vague memorandum of a kind with which he had for many weeks set aside the Governor's importunity.1 It was lengthy, and evaded a reply to the General's requests.
1 Governor Browne. “From the 22nd March, I have constantly urged the subject verbally” (July, 1861). P. P. 1862; vol. xxxvii. p. 66.
1 These secret resolutions were printed by order of the House of Commons. P. P. 1862; vol. xxxvii. p. 76.
2 In acknowledging (to the new Governor, Sir G. Grey) a despatch from Colonel Browne, enclosing an opinion from Sir W. Martin at this period— the Duke of Newcastle deprecated “allowing a sanguinary war to spring up,” and hoped “with Sir W. Martin, that just and effective government by giving the natives what they are blindly feeling after, would eventually throw the king movement into the shade” (22nd September, 1861).
The Maori Runanga replied briefly. The chiefs deprecated (7th June) strife. Let the Governor “be slow to wrath, swift to hear.… This is our intention. We are not going to rise up to fight.… Let our warfare be of the lips alone. If such be the course it will be a long path; our days will be many while engaged in such warfare. Let it not be converted into a battle fought with hands. That is a bad road—a short one:— our days will not be many while engaged with the edge of the sword.… Let us not be committed to the short path; let us take the circuitous one; though circuitous its windings are upon firm land. There were proverbs—Not by the straight path, or meagre fare for the traveller. Let us take the winding course, or abundance, the portion of the stayer at home. It is for you to interpret these proverbs. There are more to come.” The king-maker wrote separately. Commencing with dark hints and rhythmic strains, he said: “My song refers to those who are double-hearted, whose lips are given to this side and their heart to the other side.” Why was there invidious distinction between the races? “I thought that the currents of every river flowed into the mouth of ‘Te Parata’ (the unfathomable profound of ocean), where no distinction is made, nor is it said ‘You are salt water, and that is fresh water— remain you away—from a preference for the salt water only.’ In like manner, as the currents from the various islands flow into the mouth of Te Parata, so also all the kingdoms of the different nations rest upon God, as the waters rest upon the mouth of Te Parata. When this work is arrived at we are rebuked. Now, when I worship God I am not rebuked. This great name of God which is spoken of to me, why is this free to me, while of the name of king I am told, ‘It is sacred, mention it not’? Let the Pakeha look to Deuteronomy, chap. xvii. verse 15. Was not the Queen English, Nicholas Russian, page 64 Buonaparte French, Pomare Tahitian, each from his own people?” With unhappy logic he asked: “How was it that the Americans were permitted to separate themselves? Why are they not brought under the protecting shadow of the Queen?—for that people are of the same race as the English. Whereas I, of this island, am of a different race, not nearly connected. ‘My only bond with you is in Christ’” (Ephes. ii. 13). If all countries were united the standing aloof by the Maori might be blameable; but they were not. “Friends, do not be offended. Let me make known my thoughts on the great matter which has furnished a cause of dispute.” The treaty of Waitangi did not justify the anger of the Pakeha. One chief could deal with his own, but not with the things of another chief. The great boon of Christianity was accepted gladly by Maoris. “I say, O friends, that the things of God are for us all. God did not make night and day for you only. No; summer and winter are for all; the rain and the wind, food and life, are for us all. Were these things indeed made for you only? I had supposed they were for all. If some were dogs and others were men it might be right to be angry with the dogs, and wrong to be angry with the men. My friends, do you grudge us a king, as if it were a name greater than that of God? If it were so that God forbade us, then we would give it up; but He forbids not, and while only our fellow-men are angry we will not relinquish it.” He denounced the haste with which Colonel Browne plunged into war at Taranaki. He gave no warning. He had not said to the Maoris, “Friends, I intend to fight at Taranaki.…” The wrong-doer, who became unjustly angry, was the Pakeha. Te Rangitake, who was wronged, had done no evil. Why was not the case submitted to judgment? Why was the evidence of one man taken, when the Governor might have called the neighbours together to learn the truth? “Friends, wherein is our friend the Governor right, whom you believe in? Te Rangitake, the man of calm thought, is misjudged by you; and the Governor who hasted to anger is supported and praised. Hence are my thoughts perplexed, for James said, ‘Be slow to wrath, swift to hear.’ As it is, the precept in Proverbs, chap. xvi. verse 32, has not been carried out.” Had Te Waharoa been angry there would have been some excuse, but the wise Pakeha page 65 should not become passionate like a child. Te Rangitake having been invited by Te Whero Whero to return to Waitara, it was just that the Waikato should sympathize with the assaulted chief when he called to Waikato for help. Allies—connected by blood-relationships, appealed to, and averse by Potatau's desire from land-selling—the Waikatos were bound to aid Te Rangitake. As to the charge of murdering; look at the death of Katatore. “He was waylaid and died by Ihaia. That was a foul murder. You looked on and made friends with Ihaia. That which we regard as a murder you set at nought; and you call that a murder which we deny to be one.” The Governor had not warned his own unarmed people to remove out of the way when he declared war. He should have done so. “Had he even said to the Ngatiruanui,—Friends, do not kill the settlers, it would to some extent have been a little clearer. Enough on the subject of the murders.” Restitution of property was demanded by the Governor. But Rangitake's “pah was burnt with fire; the place of worship was burnt; and a box containing Testaments,—all was consumed; goods, clothes, —all were consumed. The cattle were eaten by the soldiers; and the horses, 100 in number, were sold by auction by the soldiers. It was this that disquieted the heart of Te Rangitake —his church being burnt with fire. Had the Governor given word not to burn his church, and to leave his goods and animals alone, he would have thought also to spare the property of the Pakeha. This was the cause.… The Governor first commenced the road, and Te Rangitake merely followed upon it.” … From your loving friend Wi Tamihana Te Waharoa.”
With the decision of the runanga the king-maker sent a letter to the Governor, explaining that he had set up Potatau, in 1857, to put an end to land feuds, “to put down troubles, to hold the land of the slave, and to judge the offences of the chiefs. I do not desire to cast the Queen from this island, but from my own land. I am the person to overlook it. Enough.” He called to mind that he was converted to Christianity at the Rotorua war in 1836, and had ever afterwards laboured with the missionaries for peace, and to stay the river of blood which war made to flow in the land. But the Governor was unconvinced. He told the Secretary of State that he must have more troops page 66 to subdue the Maoris at once, or the Northern part of the colony must be abandoned to “Maori law, of which the aptest symbol is the tomahawk.”
The Governor's language perhaps caused the immediate downfall of the Stafford Ministry. On the same day (3rd July) that the House agreed to the repayment of Imperial advances for militia purposes, Mr. Fox moved a direct vote of want of confidence in the Ministry. After more than one adjournment the motion was carried by 24 votes against 23. It was remarked that Otago and Wellington furnished much strength to the majority. It was not, however, by reason of their policy on native affairs alone that the Ministry had fallen. On provincial questions there had always been discontent. The new Ministry contained many well-known names. Mr. Fox was Attorney-General and Colonial Secretary; Dr. Featherston, Mr. Reader Wood, and Mr. Mantell became the Governor's advisers. The part taken by Mr. Fox and Dr. Featherston in discussing the Taranaki war, obtained for the new Ministers the name of the peace-at-any-price Ministry.” They took office on the 12th July. Their predecessors were resolved that the treatment of Maori interests should undergo no change. It was moved that the Governor's “memorandum on native affairs be translated into Maori, and sent to the principal chiefs in the island.” The Fox Ministry would have contended in vain against the motion, and it was universally accepted. Thus the men who had opposed injustice at Taranaki were chained to the car of the new war which the Governor had determined upon at Waikato; and the opportunity for a change of colonial policy was lost. Governor Browne, with pardonable exultation, told the Secretary of State that his views in reference to war… “and to the future management of the native race,” had “been accepted and approved by all parties in the House.” Mr. Richmond meanwhile was not content with the negative triumph deducible from the Governor's proceedings. He aimed at actual control. On the 1st August, before the Fox Ministry were fairly settled in their places, he moved a direct vote of want of confidence. On a division he obtained 25 votes against 26. Mr. Fox strengthened his Ministry on the 2nd August by the accession of Mr. Sewell and Mr. Crosbie Ward. Although page 67 Sewell had been Richmond's colleague in the Stafford Ministry Richmond was still unsatisfied. On the 8th August he furnished what the Governor called (in a despatch dated the 9th August) a “valuable memorandum” on the king movement. The purport of it was to deny that any terms could be found for peaceful dealings with the Maori king's followers. But resolute as he was to support a warlike course he was equally determined to deny that he was responsible for the Waitara quarrel. Dr. Featherston had moved in June for certain correspondence between Bishop Selwyn and Mr. Parris. In debate he alluded to the sinister influence exercised by Mr. Richmond over the Executive in relation to the Waitara. A petition from Mr. Abraham, a barrister, confirmed his suspicions. Mr. Abraham had claims at Waitara recognized by the New Zealand Company, but the company resigned their charter in the year of his arrival in the colony. He looked to the Crown for satisfaction of his claims. Mr. Richmond, as Provincial Attorney at Taranaki, advised, in 1854, that such claims as those of Mr. Abraham should be deemed “unavailable and extinguished” unless exchanged for Government scrip; but the regulations framed upon this advice were disallowed by the Government on memorial from various claimants. The Land Orders and Scrip Act of 1856 commuted claims at Taranaki by obliging claimants to accept (in lieu of 50 acre lots) one acre of town land, or 12 of suburban, or 50 acres of rural land. An amending Act (in 1858) made further changes, and was proclaimed in 1859, having been reserved for the Royal assent. While the Bill which thus became law was in progress, Mr. Carrington, as agent for claimants at the Waitara block under the New Zealand Company's original (alleged) purchase from the natives, threatened to memorialize the Colonial and Imperial Governments against the provisions of the Bill, and at an interview with Mr. Richmond was induced to withdraw his opposition by promise of increased compensation; viz. 37 ½ acres of suburban, or 75 acres of rural land, instead of the quantities proposed by the Bill of 1856. Mr. Richmond obtained Mr. Carrington's written consent to these terms. Mr. Abraham averred that Mr. Richmond undertook that the Government would make efforts to acquire the Waitara land, but Mr. Carrington's recollection (in 1861) was page 68 that Mr. Richmond had said at the interview in 1858: “You cannot expect the province to go to the expense of obtaining the Waitara land, and then hand it over to you and your friends.” Richmond was then Native Minister, and the attempt to obtain the block by purchase from Teira commenced in 1859. Coupling these facts with his recollection of the petition of the Taranaki Provincial Council in 1858, and Mr. Parris's letter alluding to Mr. Turton's “peremptory plan for acquiring the Waitara district,” Dr. Featherston declared that his suspicions were justified. Mr. Weld moved for a Committee to report on the charge thus made in debate. At first he placed on the Committee four of his own friends, and three of Dr. Featherston's, but subsequently the Speaker and the Chairman of Committees were added on his own motion, and a tenth member was added on the motion of a supporter of the Fox Ministry. In the inquiry Mr. Richmond denied that he had brought undue pressure to bear on the Governor, or had advised specially the purchase of the Waitara block. Dr. Featherston cited as his justification, Major Nugent's despatch in 1855 (with Te Rangitake's complaint against Mr. Turton); Governor Browne's statement in 1855, that the feud had been aggravated by the injudicious zeal of Mr. Turton, who had “revived the old suspicion that the Europeans would not rest till they had slain and taken possession;” with various other facts already told. Mr. Richmond cross-examined witnesses, and Mr. Parris vainly strove to explain away his written allusion to Mr. Turton's “peremptory plan.” Mr. Turton wrote a long letter to exculpate himself, and denied that the Waitara block was “coveted” by the settlers, because “no man could covet his own property,” and they had properly bought it from the New Zealand Company. To prove his consistency he quoted from his diary in 1855 a statement that “the full justice of the case would require that Rangitake's people should be at once removed away beyond the original surveyor's line at Titirangi.” Mr. Parris, the inculpator of this would-be remover of hundreds of Maoris, was called upon in 1860 by the Governor to state whether he had told the Bishop, in 1838, that “he was sorely beset to enter into a conspiracy to deprive Rangitake of his much-coveted land at Waitara”—Dr. Featherston having stated at a public meeting at Wellington page 69 that he had seen a letter from Mr. Parris to the Bishop to that effect. Parris had no copy of his letter, and the Bishop declined to produce it without the writer's permission. It appeared that the letter was no private one, but written at the request of about twenty natives who desired to have a minister established among them. The charge against Mr. Turton was only incidental, but couched in plain words,—that he desired “to exterminate the natives from the Waitara in accordance with his peremptory plan for the acquirement of that delightful and much-coveted district.” The letter was produced with Parris's consent, together with correspondence between Richmond and Parris in 1859 and 1860 about the Waitara block. In 1859 Mr. Richmond wrote: “I concur with you in thinking that there is no occasion, under the Native Reserves Act, to obtain the consent of every native who signs a deed whereby a reserve is made.… The Governor is very anxious about the completion of the purchase from Teira. I am sure you will press the matter as fast as appears prudent.… The Governor feels he is pledged to effect the purchase.” The Committee examined Mr. Richmond, Mr. Parris, Mr. Carrington, Dr. Featherston, Mr. McLean, and Mr. Weld (their chairman).
Mr. Richmond denied having' brought undue pressure to bear on the Governor. The Governor wrote a letter to relieve him from the charge. Mr. Richmond cited a ministerial memorandum signed by himself in May, 1860, asserting that the proceedings at Taranaki “were not at any stage urged upon the Governor, or so much as suggested to him by his responsible Ministers.” He denounced the revelation of “secret thoughts and feelings expressed by Mr. Parris in confidence under the seal of privacy to his spiritual teacher,” and averred that “the true meaning of Mr. Parris's passionate and involved expressions had been utterly perverted.” In examination Mr. Parris said he was blamed by the settlers at Taranaki for having warned Te Rangitake of the ambush prepared for him at the pah evacuated by Ihaia, and admitted that his letter to the Bishop was not private, though he did not suppose the Bishop had a right to show it to any one. The Chairman of Committees asked for leave to acquaint the Bishop with the charge made by Mr. Richmond of improperly disclosing the contents of Parris's page 70 letter, but did not obtain it. Parris in reply to Dr. Featherston said that in discussions with Te Rangitake the latter generally used the expression: “I will not consent to divide the land, because my father's dying words and instructions were to hold it.” Parris quoted these words in a letter to Mr. Richmond on the 16th February, 1860. This date is significant, when it is remembered that Parris was replying to Mr. Richmond's official letter of 25th January, ordering him to survey the disputed block, and if resistance should be offered, to call in the aid of the military; that on the 17th March fire was opened upon Te Rangitake's pah, and that Richmond, in a memorandum addressed to Colonel Browne on the 20th March, used these ominous words: “The occasion has been carefully chosen—the particular question being as favourable a one of its class as could have been selected.”
It may seem strange that this pregnant sentence escaped Dr. Featherston's notice if already published in New Zealand. In March, 1861, it was printed by order of the House of Commons; having been sent by Colonel Browne to Sir W. Denison when applying for troops with which to crush Te Rangitake, and having been transmitted to England by Sir W. Denison. If it had been presented to Mr. Weld's Committee it would probably have failed to influence them. Exposure of Mr. Richmond did not seem calculated to do good in times so excited. Mr. Weld proposed: “That there is no ground whatever for any imputation that undue pressure has been brought to bear in the Executive by Mr.C. W. Richmond on the Waitara question, and that this Committee considers his vindication complete.” An amendment to insert the words “without imputing blame to Dr. Featherston” after the word “Committee” was carried by 6 votes to 4, and was protested against by the minority as beyond the scope of the Committee. The report of the Committee was adopted by the House, but cannot be respected as historically true. Men's minds are so strangely warped by the turmoil of action, that not only his friends but even Mr. Richmond himself may have conscientiously believed in his defence.
While the Governor prepared for war, the Maoris were not idle. The king-maker visited the Eastern tribes to learn their powers and encourage their devotion. The English sent the page 71 Rev. Mr Wilson to persuade him to meet the Governor, and it seenend he was about to do so, when Porokorn (When General Pratt thought he had kiled at Mahoetahi) decelared, with others, that, if the project were carried out, king-marker wold be killed by the Maoris on his return. It was useless for him to protest that his counsels could not be changed. He yieded to the will of the tride. English troops were pushed forward to the border of the debateable land, and the spark which would kindle the elements of war might hourly be expected. Yet oe more hope remained or peace. The Goveror had written in febuary, 1961, that he had found the Ngapuhi “Less well affected than when he last visited them.” His despatch was received on the 20th May, and on the 25th the Duke of Newcastle relieved Colonel Browne from his office. With studied courtesy and acknowledgment of past services he hoped that the Governor wold not feel it as a slight if the Engligsh Government at so critical a time a of spreading disaffection, availed itself of the “remarkable authority attaching to the name and character” of Sir Grorge Grey, and re-appointed him in New Zealeand. Future employment was opened to Colonel Browne; and he obtained it at Tasmainia. Men breathed freely in New Zealand. All bad dreaded the war into which Coloel Browne was anxious to plung at Wikato with the force at his disposal. Those who did ot wish to spare the Maoris wanted more troops and ammunition before recommencing the strife. The Secret Committee of both House had asked for them, and the Governor seconded the request. They, indeed, would have waited for them. The soldier Governor dod not shrink form proviking battle with the force at hand. His and Genreal Cameron's various applications for men were afterwards compendiously answered by the Duke of Newcastle in a despatch to Sir George Gray, declaring that “the Imperial Government had done enough by sending out 6000 men, and that the colon can and ought to do the rest.”