History of New Zealand. Vol. II.
Chapter xiii. — The Weld Ministry
The Weld Ministry.
Mr. Weld's propositions being committed to paper, Sir George Grey wrote: “If a majority of the General Assembly concurs in them, it will be the Governor's duty to aid to the best of his ability in carrying them out.” Mr. Sewell, Mr. Fitzherbert, Mr. Richardson (in the Council), Major Atkinson, and (in December) Mr. Mantell, accepted office on the terms thus arranged. The Houses, summoned to meet for despatch of business on the 21st November, had by successive proclamation on the 19th and 22nd been prorogued to the 23rd and 24th while the Governor sought for advisers. When on the last-mentioned date they assumed office he thanked the members for responding at an unusual season to a summons rendered imperative by the state of the colony and the resignation of his advisers. Acting on his individual responsibility he had offered terms of pardon to natives in arms against the Queen. It was his intention to take prompt steps to restore order in the Taranaki and Ngatiruanui districts. The speech dwelt upon the principles embodied in Mr. Weld's memorandum on acceptance of office. After an attempt, (defeated by 29 votes against 17, amongst the Representatives,) to postpone the removal of the seat of government “until provision has been first made for constituting the province of Auckland a separate colony, to be ruled by a Governor appointed by Her Majesty and a Legislature to be chosen by the inhabitants thereof,” addresses were carried in both Houses which were cordial in character, but reserved for consideration the question of self-reliance in internal defence and the assumption of colonial responsibility as proposed by Mr. Weld. It is grateful to record the fact, that in page 268 office Mr. Weld condemned the Suppression of Rebellion Act as vigorously as when he was a private member. “It was unnecessary and unconstitutional, taken from a bad type of barbarous ages. All that can be said in favour of this disgrace to our statute-book is that it has been a dead letter.” Mr. Sewell as Attorney-General resumed the lead in the Legislative Council, and moved resolutions accepting the propositions of Mr. Weld. Mr. Whitaker moved an amendment to the effect that temporarily New Zealand ought to be divided into two colonies—the southern administered on the principle of ministerial responsibility; the northern on a system enabling “the Imperial Government to exercise such control over the management of native affairs as will enable Her Majesty's Government to take such measures as it may deem necessary to suppress the present rebellion, and provide safeguards against rebellion for the future.” By 10 votes against 9 Mr. Whitaker's motion, so strangely opposed to his acrimonious contentions with Sir George Grey, was rejected; and the Address accepting Mr. Weld's principles was adopted by 16 votes against 2, on the 6th December.
In the House of Representatives Mr. Weld moved, on the 30th November, resolutions condemnatory of joint responsibility of the Governor and his advisers in native affairs. Divided Councils, vacillating policy, and needless expense were imputed to it. “Recognizing the right of the Home Government to insist upon the maintenance of this system of double government so long as the colony is receiving the aid of British troops,” the House was invited to accept the alternative, to request unconditionally the withdrawal of the whole of the land force, and ask that the Governor should be guided entirely by his “advisers in native as well as ordinary affairs, excepting upon such matters as may directly concern Imperial interests and the prerogatives of the Crown.” It was thought that a precipitate withdrawal of the troops was rash and dangerous. After adjourned debates, and a failure by Mr. Graham to provide for separation of New Zealand in the manner aimed at by Mr. Whitaker in the Council, friendly resolutions were carried by the Minister of Defence, Major Atkinson, without a division. They expressed loyalty to the Crown, gratitude to the mother country, and thanks to Her Majesty's forces. They trusted page 269 that Mr. Card well's instructions had been issued to meet a temporary emergency, and would lapse when a normal state of things could be restored. “Without disputing the claim of the Imperial Government to exercise a reasonable control over policy upon which the restoration of peace must necessarily depend whilst the colony is receiving the aid of British troops,” they averred that divided councils had produced great evils and expense: “That nevertheless the colony is resolved to make every further possible effort to place itself in a position of self-defence against internal aggression, with a view to accept the alternative indicated by the Home Government, namely, the withdrawal of Her Majesty's land forces at the earliest possible period consistent with the maintenance of Imperial interests and the safety of the colony; thereby enabling the Imperial Government to issue such instructions to his Excellency the Governor as may permit him to be guided entirely by his constitutional advisers in native as well as in ordinary affairs, excepting upon such matters as may directly concern Imperial interests and the prerogatives of the Crown.” Substantially Major Atkinson's resolutions were the same as those adopted on Mr. Sewell's motion in the Council. Both Houses had therefore agreed upon a new starting-point, which was to furnish endless disputes in after years. Almost all men of political note had supported it, however, and from danger of internal interference it seemed free. Mr. Dillon Bell, Mr. Domett, Dr. Featherston, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Fox, Mr. Mantell, Mr. Stafford, Mr. Fitzherbert, Mr. Weld, Mr. Cracroft Wilson, Mr. Crosbie Ward, Mr. Swainson, Mr. Sewell, Major Whitmore, and (after rejection of his attempt to bisect the colony) Mr. Whitaker, were sponsors of the new scheme. The electoral roll of the colony at the time was less than 30,000; or less than that of any suburban constituency around London. The fate of the Maori race was to depend on about the number of voters which sends two members to Parliament from Edinburgh.
The session was short. An Act was passed enabling the Governor in Council to raise the interest on the loan for £3,000,000 (1863) from 5 to 6 per cent. A Debenture Act authorized the issue of short-dated debentures (three years) at 8 per cent, interest in anticipation of the loan for £3,000,000. page 270 A Customs Act, with the hope of increasing the revenue to the extent of £190,000, raised the rate of duties on imports. A Public Works Land Act authorized the taking of native lands as well as those of Europeans on the giving of compensation. A New Zealand Settlements Amendment Act, intended to comply with Mr. Cardwell's requirements, was adopted. Minor Acts and Private Acts need not be enumerated, although there were several, dealing amongst other matters with railways at Canterbury. An Act to provide for a mail service by Panama was passed. On the 13th December, the Assembly was prorogued with the assurance that, before the expiry of the current financial year, it should be convened at Wellington. On Mr. Fitzherbert's motion the House had resolved that it was not expedient to accept the offer of the Imperial Government to guarantee £1,000,000 of the loan for £3,000,000. The objections stated were that priority of charge was required for the guaranteed portion, and the territorial revenue was to be included in the security. It was resolved that the accounts should be adjusted, and “the true and just balance found due from the colony” should be paid. But resolutions provide no funds. A loan implies a lender, and confidence of capitalists is not engendered by mere words. Confronted by the financial difficulty in their studies the Ministers found it looming large. On the 3rd January, they pathetically appealed for relaxation of the rule as to contribution towards army expenses. “If from any cause the withdrawal of Her Majesty's land forces should be delayed for any lengthened period, and the terms now imposed by the Imperial Government should be insisted on, the colony will be wholly unable to bear the burthen, and financial ruin will be the result.” Because the House had thought it rash to withdraw the troops suddenly Mr. Weld had slightly changed his front, and looked for delay. He found the weight of delay intolerable. Look where he would there was trouble. But the tender mercies of Britain could be appealed to. New Zealand was a very young colony, founded by “the Imperial Government, and may not unreasonably look to it for help in time of need like the present.” It was true that peace existed, but measures then being taken between Taranaki and Wanganui “would involve the colony in heavy cost.” Subject to their present appeal ad misericordiam, page 271 the Ministry would give effect to the resolutions of the House, and enter upon the question of accounts with the Imperial Government. If the war expenditure of the colony had not been brought about by the original sin of the Taranaki settlers, of Mr. Stafford, Mr.C. W. Richmond, and others, it would indeed have been entitled to commiseration. Mr. Fitzherbert, the Treasurer, in his financial statement (December, 1864) had shown that of the one million sterling sold or hypothecated the colony would only receive £810,000. He was not sanguine enough to expect more than £1,620,000 for the remaining £2,000,000 authorized by the Loan Act. Anticipation and discount, the one ever more exorbitant, the other ever more difficult, were the keys to the windy treasury of the colony. It is not wonderful that the lands of the Maoris were still eyed eagerly as the talisman of redemption. The claims of the British Treasury could not be dismissed, but might be discussed. Discussion would put off the day of reckoning, and meantime the spirit of their countrymen would shrink from abandonment of the colonists. The vitality of the new Government depended on discussions in the parlour of the Bank of New Zealand. An agreement was arrived at on the 29th December. The Bank was empowered to issue debentures for £750,000, £50,000 of which were to be offered in New Zealand, £200,000 in Australia, and half a million was to be offered in London. The interest was to be 8 per cent. The Bank was to receive 7 instead of 5 per cent, on its overdrawn account, and to have power to hypothecate the debentures in case of failure of sale, the Government bearing the expense of hypothecation. The Bank was to have a commission of ½ per cent. on negotiation. These terms appear more like the bargain of a young spendthrift than the state paper of a nascent nation; but, such as they were, they form the warp of its life. The Inspector of the Bank went to Australia, but capitalists were obdurate. “The chief causes of failure were,” he reported, “the general ignorance which prevails as to New Zealand affairs, and the impression that the colony is involving itself in debts, the redemption of which will be problematical.” One capitalist in Melbourne offered to take £10,000 of the debentures at 10 per cent. discount, but to such an indignity the Inspector would not submit. To receive £9000, pay £800 a year for three years, page 272 and then to pay £10,000, was more than needy New Zealand could undertake. Some trifling sums were obtained at about par, and a friendly bank in Melbourne lent for six months £40,000, at 10 per cent, per annum interest. Out of the abundance of capital in London a small portion was attracted by the hope of 8 per cent. Yet less than £200,000 were obtained within a month of the submission of the debentures. The cost of colonial defence was at the time nearly £450,000 a year. Military settlers at Waikato and Tauranga cost, in pay and rations, more than £156,000 a year; and with Taranaki, White Cliffs, Opotiki, Waiapu, and contingent hospital expenses, military settlers required nearly £300,000 a year. Notwithstanding a favourable turn in the London money market New Zealand stock was practically unsaleable in May, 1865. In March the Ministers drew up a memorial, entreating assistance. They admitted that good faith required payment of the debt of the colony to England. They had transferred £400,000 (4 per cent, debentures) to the Imperial Government, and they left it to that Government to hold them as securities, or to cover them with a guarantee. They appealed to Sir George Grey to testify that they had never proposed “to recoup war expenditure by hasty and indiscriminate sale of confiscated land,” and that they had “co-operated with him in a just and temperate policy” towards Maoris. They hoped that the English Government would recognize the claims of the colony, “either by covering the remainder of the three million loan by the Imperial guarantee, or by making to the colony an annual grant in aid of extraordinary expenditure for the next four or five years.” Sir George Grey supported their appeal for the guarantee, which would cost the mother country nothing, aid the struggling colony in its manful efforts, and might enable both races to live in peace in future. Mr. Cardwell in July unequivocally declined. Were he to ask Parliament to consent he would be reminded that already the Imperial Treasury had disbursed two millions for New Zealand, and that the resources of the colony, as represented by Mr. Reader Wood in applying for the former guarantee, were such as to refute the supposition that it could require a vote in aid.
1 N. Z. P. P. 1879; A. 8.
2 The gradual encroachment deserves notice. In 1859 the Government said they were willing to leave Rangitake unmolested on the north bank.
1 Prince Kung declared to the English Minister, Sir Frederick Bruce: “We do not know what to do. He will not receive money from us, and we have already given him every honour which it is in the power of the Emperor to bestow; but as these can be of little value in his eyes I have brought you this letter, and ask you to give it to the Queen of England that she may bestow on him some reward which may be more valuable in his eyes.” The Ministries of Lord Palmerston and Earl Russell must divide the shame of not seeing that to send so just, so bold, and so humane a hero to New Zealand, would have been better than to leave him to rust. In after years the Khedive of Egypt was wise enough to seek his services, which were as striking in Central Africa as in China.
General Cameron strengthened his force by withdrawing troops from Wellington, and from Taranaki, and crossed the Waitotara on the 5th February. The Maoris retorted by killing a settler and a militia soldier who was “out contrary to orders, plundering a Maori settlement.” There was panic among the settlers. The General sent 150 men to Wanganui, and asked the Governor to repair thither to consult with him. The savage Hau Hau fanaticism was not only rife at the west coast. The prophets, finding the General bent upon war. made a diversion at the east. Two of them, with Hori Tupaea of the Ngaiterangi, and Tiu Tamihana of the Ngatihaua, undertook to stir up the tribes. Colonel Greer, still commanding in the district which he had quelled at the battle of Te Ranga, was informed of the invasion, and wrote to the Arawa chiefs. “This is my word to you; when they go into your country, catch them and fetch them up to me.” The invaders were on the Maketu river expecting others to rally round their flag. The Arawa chiefs pursued and captured the whole party of 50 on the 8th February. The prisoners were, after a march of 38 miles, delivered to the English. Hori Tupaea, who had been captured separately when unarmed, expressed his regret to Colonel Greer, and offered to take the oath of allegiance. He had been deceived. The Colonel allowed him to remain on parole in the camp. The Governor accepted the penitent's promise to assist in quelling disturbance, to reside where the Governor might direct, and to observe the terms accorded to the Tauranga natives in the previous year. The blow given to the Pai Marire faith was severe, but the hostile natives were enraged against the Arawa chiefs, and tribal wars were anticipated. It was unhappily clear that the Hau Hau tenets had been accepted in many tribes and page 278 it was impossible to guess where or when some new atrocity might be perpetrated to sicken the English of the land, and drive them away in loathing.
Early in March the Governor was at Wanganui, having on the 4th requested his advisers to furnish him with a full and explicit statement of their objects, as he feared there was an impression abroad that the war was prosecuted for the profit and gratification of the colonists; an imputation which the Ministry denied in a formal document on the 20th March. At Wanganui, the Governor found that the existence of the Weraroa stronghold was damaging the reputation of the English. The Hau Haus had made a triumphant song about it. They said their prophet had waved his arms, and the General and his men were fain to skim along the coast like seagulls. The native allies asked permission to attack the pah. The General was amused at their presumption in thinking the task easy. On the 8th, he wrote to the Governor; “I would strongly advise your applying for a re-enforcement of at least 2000 men from England.” Without them the coast-line between the camp (at Patea) and Taranaki could not be occupied. The Ministry would not concur with this proposal, and the Governor agreed with them. He believed that before long the natives would “submit in nearly all parts of the island,” and that the war might be terminated before re-enforcements could arrive. And now another horror cast its lurid glare upon the times. When Captain Lloyd's head was carried away, in 1864, it was at Pipiriki, about 80 miles up the Wanganui river, that it had been placed on a pole, and there the frantic fanatics danced round it in furious orgies, rushing up, biting it, and treating it with brutish indignities. Again, in 1865, the baked head of an English soldier was taken thither by fanatics led by Patara and Kereopa. They were to stir up the tribes in the Bay of Plenty. At the same time the prophet Te Ua did not counsel assaults upon colonists. His written instructions were: “While on your journey do not interfere with those whom you may meet. Do not quarrel with the Pakeha.… At Turanganui give Hirini te Kani the flag and the man's head.” On the way, 200 of the Uriwera tribe were indoctrinated. The head was used as a mystic symbol. Terror caused by it took possession of each as page 279 it was shown to the file of Maoris; and each sprang out of the row in turn. Kereopa, the officiating priest, then said: “You are now possessed of the Deity. Let the widows of those who fell at Orakau approach and vent their anger on this head and on the Pakeha prisoners.” The maddest of them obeyed him.
On the 1st March, the Rev. Carl S. Volklner and the Rev. T. Grace, missionaries, arrived in the Opotiki harbour. In February, a lady living at Whakatane wrote to warn Mr. Volkner to stay in Auckland, for mischief was on foot. It was not till the bar was crossed and regress was impossible that the voyagers saw assembled by the river-side a band of the Pai Marire. Patara and Kereopa, after turning the hearts of disciples to ferocity at Taupo, Uriwera, and Whakatane, had arrived at Opotiki. The vessel was in their power as soon as she was anchored. The missionaries were ordered on shore in the afternoon. The vessel was rifled and her contents were placed in a store of which the Maoris kept the key. A violent Hau Hau meeting was held at the Roman Catholic Chapel. It was strange that as in China the Tae-ping (Great Peace) rebels professed to link with direct revelations through their chiefs, some Christian tenets, so the Pai Marire (Good Tranquillity) desperadoes, when throwing off their allegiance to the Queen and disavowing the religion of England, assumed a portion of the Roman Catholic cult. The Scriptures were to be burnt, but the Virgin Mary was ever to be present with the Hau Haus, who were to slay and devour their foes. The Christian Sabbath was no longer to be respected as in England. There was to be no marrying or giving in marriage, for by promiscuous intercourse, under the rule of priests gifted with supernatural powers, the Pai Marire would be as the sand of the sea-shore for multitude. The first profession of these tenets had disgusted the manly Wi Tako. The king-maker was about to condemn them. On the 1st March, the Hau Haus kept up their orgies in the Roman Catholic Chapel beyond the mid hour of night. The captive missionaries and sailors heard the horrid din. A Taranaki native guided them to an enclosure in which to rest. The sailors joined heartily in reading the evening psalm. In the morning the very air seemed full of omen that some dreadful deed was to be done. Mr. Volkner paid to a Maori widow a small legacy which it was his custom page 280 to disburse to her. She said nothing to warn him, but in half-an-hour twenty armed men appeared, performed some cabalistic rites, and called on Mr. Volkner to go with them. Mr. Grace wished to join him, but was forced back, and locked up under guard. His turn, he was told, would come next. Two hours he was in agony about his friend. Heremita, who had led away Mr. Volkner, returned and conversed with the guard. Mr. Grace heard the words (in Maori) “hung on the willow tree.” They went to his heart. He told the sailors, who said: “All is over.” They were called out and marched between files of Maoris past the open space near the church. They were robbed and shut up in a house with their hands tied behind their backs. Mr. Grace inquired about Mr. Volkner, but no word was vouch-safed. The murderers shrunk from telling what they had done. Yet they had taken possession and slain in open day. Before Mr. Volkner's arrival his house had been broken open, his goods sold, and war-dances were held in his church. When they seized their victim they dragged him with a rope round his neck, and hanged him on a willow tree. But the ruffian Kereopa would not wait for gradual death. The body was lowered, and Kereopa fired upon it. Again it was raised with violent jerks. The Maori wife of a European told her husband what she saw. The Roman Catholic chief Hiki remained in his pah during the murder. The body was carried to the Protestant chapel. Kereopa told Hiki to come and see. Hiki saw. Kereopa said: “I have killed him, now you cut off his head.” Hiki did so. Kereopa then called on all the hapus, men, women, and children, to come and taste Volkner's blood. They did so. Kereopa then scooped out and swallowed the eyes. Patara was absent making converts, and it was not supposed that he would have joined in the atrocities, for although he had assisted in plundering Volkner's house, he left a letter warning Volkner not to return to Opotiki; and after Volkner's murder he disclaimed any participation in it, and called Kereopa to account. Mr. Grace and his companions were led to the house of a Mr. Hooper, who was ill. Six or seven natives, four sailors, the sick man, and Mr. Grace were shut up in one room. After an hour and a half they were unbound. Previously a Maori had lifted a panikin to the mouth of each to let them page 281 drink water. Mr. Grace asked why they were unbound. The answer was: “A time to bind and a time to loose, a time to kill and a time to make alive.” Shut up in the suffocating atmosphere of the small room, the prisoners passed the day and night. “As I lay awake,” Mr. Grace wrote, “I could distinctly hear the confusion, dancing and shouting going on in the Romish chapel, and also in the church.” He commended himself and his companions to “the watchful care of our Heavenly Father.” In the morning (3rd March) he found a Prayer-book. The wonderful Psalms of David touched him, as they have touched the spirits of so many myriads of mankind, with a graciousness not of this world. “Some of the Psalms for the day” (he wrote) “appeared written for the occasion.” In the comfort of the resurrection and the hope of awaking in the Divine likeness, the soul of the prisoner found strength. Patara had been sent for to decide upon Mr. Grace's fate, at a meeting. Throughout the 3rd and 4th of March there was suspense. On the night of the 4th, Patara returned. Mr. Grace sent a message to him in the morning. He passed the prison, shook hands with Mr. Grace, and spoke a few words. An hour afterwards the prisoners were summoned to a meeting in Mr. Volkner's church. Three hundred natives were assembled. The Taranaki fanatics seated themselves within the communion-rails. Europeans were present also. Patara denounced soldiers, Ministers, and Englishmen. For all Jews, Frenchmen, Scotchmen, Austrians, and Germans, he had love. Natives brought charges against the murdered Volkner. He had gone to Auckland as a spy, a cross had been found in his house, therefore he must have been a Romanist and deceiver, and he had returned to Opotiki after being told to stay away. Mr. Grace defended his dead friend; and though Patara replied, he said nothing in justification of the murder. Mr. Grace was attacked for going to Taupo recently, and for sundry supposed faults. The land question was the subject of a long harangue, to which he replied that neither Volkner nor himself had any land. Ransom was proposed by Mr. Grace, or exchange of prisoners. The Maoris agreed to take Hori Tupaea in exchange, and the captain undertook to carry the proposal to Tauranga. Mr. Levy, brother of the captain, was to remain at Opotiki, and the page 282 captain was to continue to trade. On the 6th, Patara started inland, ordering that Mr. Grace was to be kindly treated, and permitting him to write to his wife. Mr. Grace assured him that Hori Tupaea (who was released by Sir George Grey) was already at liberty. On the 7th, Patara sent his letter as to the exchange, but the captain (although as Jews he and his brother were supposed to be favoured by the Hau Haus) was anxious to break the stipulations of the trial and carry away his brother. He cursed and swore at Mr. Grace, who argued against such a course. Mr. Agassiz, a resident, recommended Mr. Grace to pacify the captain by giving him a statement that the loss to the ship was occasioned by the presence of the missionaries. On the 9th, he gave it, but the captain refused to promise to carry Patara's letter to Tauranga. The natives still detained the captain's vessel. On the 13th, Eparaima, a native of Turanga, who knew Mr. Grace when he resided there in 1853, arrived with a message from a Pai Marire prophet, desiring Mr. Grace's release. Eparaima wept much, and went inland to a meeting to plead for his old acquaintance. On the 15th, Eparaima started to obtain further help; but it was ominous that on that day the Pai Marire raised a new pole for their worship, and a feast was to be held. Captain Levy's vessel was detained by want of a breeze. But help was at hand where least expected. The murder of Mr. Volkner, far from rousing the natives generally to like atrocity, had shocked them.
An insolent letter was written by the fanatics from “Opotiki, Place of Canaan,” to “the office of the Government, Auckland.” It purported to be from the committee of the Ngatiawa, Whakatohea, Uriwera, and Taranaki. “You crucify the Maoris, and I also crucify the Pakehas. But now release unto us Hori Tupaea and his companions, and we will then let go Mr. Grace.” The date of the letter was the 6th March. From Whakatane, however, chiefs of the Ngatiawa, from Turanga, from Maketu, from Rotorua, from Huria, letters were sent to denounce the shedding of the innocent blood of the missionary. The Arawa at Maketu denounced the Ngatiawa because they had not actively prevented it, and threatened them with war.
It was afterwards officially testified that the labours of Bishops Selwyn and Williams had a salutary effect in repelling Maori sympathy from the Hau Haus. Some who had previously sympathized were roused to a sense of shame. Friends of the English were kindled to activity. The Arawa were eager for vengeance, and to prove their loyalty to the Queen. Bishop Selwyn himself, fresh from the scene, thus addressed the third Synod of his Church at Christchurch in 1865: “The war, which seemed to have come to an end, was renewed by the perversity of a few misguided men. Mixed with the new element of the confiscation of land it acquired a bitterness unknown before. The missionary clergy were believed to be the agents of the Government in a deep-laid plot for the subjugation of the native people. Our congregations melted away; our advice was disregarded. Exasperated by continued defeat, and loss of friends and relations, many became reckless. The feeling grew among them that they would abandon the religion of their enemies and set up one of their own. An impostor from Taranaki placed himself at the head of the movement. Pretended miracles, unknown tongues, inspiration from heaven, messages of angels, were alleged as usual in support of the imposture. The delusion spread and reached the east coast. New tribes were to be startled and overawed. A leader of inferior rank demanded of the people of Opotiki the sacrifice of their own missionary. No other life was touched of the many white men who fell into their hands. It was a murder of fanaticism.… Our first martyr died at peace with his enemies, and prayers for his murderers.”
Whether Te Ua was fanatical at the first, or merely in wild despair like many of his accomplices he sought to strike terror, and was prepared if need be to die a bloody death, must be matter for conjecture. The Maori was ever superstitious. It was on the mysterious influence of “tapu” that his primitive page 285 polity was based. Though that polity had been well-nigh over-thrown by Christianity, it had reasserted itself with hideous additions when the belief was accepted that the missionaries were leagued with the Government to rob and to subjugate the Maoris. In 1847, Sir William Martin had predicted such a result. Mr. Maning had declared that the rise of strange delusions, and belief in supernatural powers displayed in the person of priest or chief, were incidents often repeated in Maori life. The imputed unholy alliance between the missionaries and the Government had engendered the new Maori chimæra.1
1 Δειυὸυ ἀποπυεíονσα πνϱὀς μέυοσ αἰϑομέυοι. ‘Iliad,’ vi. 182.
2 Rev. Heta Tarawhiti. The reader will learn in what manner the Colonial Government endeavoured to make Tarawhiti suffer for his brave devotion.
1 Bishop Selwyn to Rev. E. Coleridge, 26th December, 1865; vide ‘Life of Selwyn. London: 1879. In 1881 the Bishop of Wellington (the Octavius Hadfield of Otaki, in 1839) assured the author that it could still be said with truth that no native clergyman had swerved from duty.
The murder of Volkner revealed the savagery of which the new superstition was capable. If the fanatics could not meet European arms in the field, they could murder in the east and in the west. By singling out a pastor like Mr. Volkner in the midst of his flock, which dared not raise a voice in his favour, they had shown not only that no compunction was amongst them, but that the more eminent the victim the more grateful was his slaughter to the wild faith under cover of which they had sprung back at a bound to the savage and sickening cannibalism which had been a religion amongst them in the days of heathendom.
1 Bishop Selwyn, hearing of Hadfield's danger, wrote (7th June, 1865): “I am ready to join you, if you think I can be of any assistance, but I do not like to come without first communicating with you, as I am now suspected and slandered by all the king natives.”
Ihaka Whanga at Nuhaka, and Kopu at Wairoa, local chieftains on the east coast, boldly met three hundred Hau Haus, and at great discussions in April stemmed the tide of fanaticism. At about the same time (June) Tamihana te Rauparaha foiled the Hau Hau emissaries who visited Otaki to spread their doctrines. At Sir George Grey's request Captain Luce of H.M.S. ‘Esk’ visited the chiefs on the east coast in April and May, encouraging them to remain faithful to their religion and to law and order. With Mr. Fulloon as interpreter, he attended meetings which were apparently successful in instilling confidence; but he thought the Maoris were everywhere in a state of unhealthy excitement. The Bishop of Waiapu had left in displeasure, and his departure had shamed many Hau Hau converts. The ineffable capacity of depravity in man came before Captain Luce in a strange shape. A deserter from the 57th Regiment had been a companion of the Pai Marire.
Captain Fremantle having returned in May with the ‘Esk,’ had a skirmish at Opotiki before daylight, while unsuccessfully attempting to surprise a party of natives believed to be implicated in the murder of Volkner. At Awanui, Tiwai, a friend of page 289 Volkner, pointed out one of the murderers, a half-caste, to two sailors disguised as Maoris, one of whom succeeded in grasping him by the hand before suspicion was aroused. He shook off his assailants and escaped amid shots from revolvers. Kereopa was in the interior. Patara with armed men held colloquy with Captain Fremantle on the 24th May. The chief “appeared quite prepared against a coup-de-main, and confident in his strength held a hunting-whip under his arm, but had evidently a pistol in each pocket.” He denied complicity in the murder, and acquiesced in a proposal that he should return to Opotiki. It was satisfactory to know that at Kawhia Rewi repelled the idea that he or his tribe had sanctioned the murder.
Mr. George Graham being about to visit Waikato, in May, volunteered to meet the king-maker and other chiefs, and persuade them to take the oath of allegiance. Sir George Grey empowered him (9th May) to assure them of his friendliness, and desire to treat them with generosity, to bring prominently before them his letter of the 16th December, 1863, promising them kind treatment after the fall of Rangiriri, and to explain the proclamation of December, 1864, proffering pardon while confiscating land. In May also the Native Land Purchase Department was abolished, and it was notified that cessions of land would be negotiated for under the Native Lands Act of 1862 (to which the Royal assent had been given on the recommendation of the Duke of Newcastle in 1863), the operation of that law “rendering the continuance of the Land Purchase Department unnecessary.” A proclamation issued in April denounced murder, cannibalism, and other revolting acts of the Hau Haus as repugnant to humanity, and called on all well-disposed natives and Europeans to aid in repressing them.
Mr. Graham saw the king-maker face to face, and weary of his country's woes the patriot, who had been baffled rather by the crimes of others than by his own mistakes, agreed to take the oath of allegiance at Tamahure before Brigadier-General Carey. The latter rode thither from his camp at Te Awamutu on the 27th May. Mr. Graham preceded the chiefs, bearing a paper written by the king-maker in these terms, which he was willing to sign under the British flag: “We consent that the laws of the Queen be the laws for the king (Maori), to be a page 290 protection for us all, for ever and ever. This is the sign of my making peace, my coming into the presence of my fighting friend General Carey.” When Waharoa arrived with his friends, he dismounted and walked uncovered towards Carey, who shook hands with him. The covenant was signed by the chiefs, and by Carey and by Graham. Te Waharoa said little, but he requested that the Governor would appoint a Commission to inquire into his character, which had been maligned, and would allow him to see again the face of his friend Tui Tamihana. The Governor telegraphed the submission to the Secretary of State, and wrote to Te Waharoa, who answered him from Matamata.… “All I think of is that peace is made. There is rest,— a breathing—from the weariness and fatigue of working this evil work of war. The weapons of war have been cast away.” Important no doubt was his submission, and the Hau Hau brutalities had unwittingly tended to bring it about: but as Te Waharoa had failed to restrain Rewi in 1863, so it was certain that he could do nothing to check those whom Wi Tako had called madmen when he spurned any further connection with them. It seems fitting to couple the king-maker's submission with the atrocities which conduced to it.
Sir George Grey was at Wanganui when Mr. Volkner's death was reported. Friendly chiefs there had just guaranteed to the principal chiefs at Pipiriki, full pardon from the Government on submission. One of them, Topia Turoa, had come to Wanganui on the 14th March, to consult about the guarantee. That night the murder of Volkner was made known, with the horrible addition of the orgies round the soldier's head at Pipiriki, where Topia had been an accomplice in sanctioning the expedition to Opotiki, although from his youth he had been brought up in familiarity with Englishmen. The Governor saw Topia, who said (15th March) he had no desire to be there, but had come because he was sent for. He would not take the oath of allegiance. The Governor declared that Topia was responsible for the murder by having acted as a Hau Hau priest at Pipiriki, but as he had come to Wanganui under arrangement with Hori Kingi, Mete Kingi, and others he might depart. If even now he would take the oath of allegiance the promises made by the chiefs should be respected. “To-day he may page 291 return up the river. To-morrow a large reward will be offered for his seizure; and if caught, he shall be tried for murder.” Topia replied: “You say that I am implicated in the murders of Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Volkner. It is correct.1 I am implicated in them, and also in the work of the Hau Hau.” The Governor asked Mete Kingi if the chiefs knew that Hewitt's head had been at Pipiriki when they made peace there. Mete Kingi, Hori Kingi, and others said No; and Topia coolly said: “The head had passed on when Hewitt was killed; it was another head.” He added that he had made peace with Hori Kingi, but not with the Europeans. “If you choose to arrest me now, you can. I am willing to be arrested without offering resistance. Do not think to frighten me into taking the oath of allegiance by threats. I will not take it.… I quite agree with what you say about offering a reward for me to-morrow.’ The Governor said: “He had better go at once. I will have no further intercourse with him. Topia left, and the friendly chiefs endeavoured to procure his submission; but he would do nothing more till he had consulted his friends. In after years he was to render signal service to the English. By the Governor's direction a body of friendly Maoris with 200 military settlers under Major Atkinson, the Minister of Colonial Defence, took possession of Pipiriki on the Wanganui river on the 3rd April, but did not capture Topia.
In April the Governor sailed for Wellington and the east coast to make inquiries about the murderers of Mr. Volkner. On his way the Ministry advised with him not only on that subject but about rumours, that war was being carried on for the profit and gratification of the colonists, which they warmly resented. On the 7th April, Sir George Grey in a memorandum communicated to his advisers, sympathized with them, and suggested that military aid accompanied by such remarks as those of General Cameron was so undesirable, that it would be better for the colony to see the military force reduced and rely on its own resources. On the 8th, the Ministry concurred; declaring that it could not be hoped that the zeal and energy required for success in the field would be displayed by any officer, however distinguished, in support of a course branded by him with such severe reprobation. The Governor on this occasion wrote his despatch suggesting the withdrawal of troops and an Imperial guarantee for three millions, or a Parliamentary grant for four or five years, which, as has been seen, Mr. Cardwell declined to sanction. On the 4th March, without mentioning the General's comments upon the Waitotara block, the Governor page 293 had recommended that inquiry should be instituted with regard to the purchase, as disparaging rumours had reached him. The Ministry were willing that Sir William Martin should be appointed a Commissioner for the purpose, but they wished to know the name of the Governor's informant. When asked at a later date for his reasons for believing that the purchase was an iniquitous job, the General, whose relations with the Governor were then unfriendly, replied that it was no part of his duty to collect information on such a subject, and he declined to enter into any correspondence with the Governor about it; but he would acquaint Her Majesty's Government with the information on which he had formed his opinions. It was true that the old lust for the Waitara raged in the minds of many. The Defence Minister, Major Atkinson, was one of the Taranaki conspirators who forced upon the Government the robbery of Te Rangitake. But specific proofs were not available for the General. It was difficult for him to show how the passions of men prompted their acts. When he furnished his reasons, they were resolved into a conversation with a stranger.
1 The General was unhappy in singling out Mr. Mantell for reprobation. His voice and pen were often used more eloquently than the General's in demanding justice for the Maoris. The Governor was equally unhappy about the same time. It was in April and May, 1865, that he was lamely defending himself against Mr. Fitzgerald's criticisms on the seizure of the Tataraimaka block, the building of a barrack within the territory of Tawhiao, and other preludes to the invasion of Waikato. Mr. Fitzgerald was to become his Native Minister in August, 1865.
This imputation of carelessness of soldiers' lives had roused Sir George Grey's wrath, when, on the 7th April, he recommended his advisers to dispense with troops; and when, on the 9th, General Cameron informed him that he had sent copies of the correspondence to the Secretary for War, the Governor cast the button from his foil, regretted that such imputations should have been made against himself and the Ministry, still more that they should have been sent to England unaccompanied by any reply, and added: “You will, I am sure, feel that I cannot after this continue a private correspondence which subjects me to difficulties of this nature” (17th April). The familiar style of friendly address between the Governor and General ceased with this letter, which the latter merely acknowledged. The General was in ill humour with his campaign. He followed the Governor to Auckland to obtain definite instructions. On the 3rd May, he grumbled at the publication by the Ministry of the Governor's memorandum about rumours that the Waitotara purchase was iniquitous. Though the Governor had not pointed out the General as the author or abettor, the Ministers' personal attack on the General showed that they “were fully aware of the person to whom the memorandum was intended to refer.” He would forward copies to England to show how, while engaged in the field, he was attacked behind his back. The Governor immediately furnished the incensed soldier with copies of his despatches to Mr. Cardwell, a courtesy which, at a later date, the General declined to reciprocate, illogically averring that it was unadvisable to comply with the Governor's request at the time, and that there was nothing in the despatches of which the Governor was page 295 ignorant. The Governor had already said that he wished to see them, because Mr. Cardwell wrote that there was a discrepancy between the General's despatches to the War Office and those of the Governor to the Colonial Office. He informed the General that Her Majesty's Government must determine whether the General was justified in creating secretly wrong impressions, “and in now shrinking from giving me an opportunity of giving explanations regarding my proceedings (which I have been called on to furnish), by refusing to acquaint me with the statements you did not hesitate to make, but dare not produce” (10th June). The General replied that he cared not what construction his Excellency might be pleased to put upon his actions. Each blamed the other for unduly communicating, to third persons, confidences which should have been kept sacred.
At this time a very crippling blow was aimed at the position of the Colonial Government; for although Mr. Weld professed a self-reliant policy, he, like others, used Imperial troops. The Commissary-General, Jones, suggested that the presence of the Governor and two Ministers at Auckland made it convenient to settle the long open question of supplies to the Colonial Government as advances from the Imperial chest, which Mr. Jones thought might fairly come to an end in a few weeks, except in such special cases as might be, on precise application, approved by the General. The power of the colony to repay the advances seemed to Mr. Jones “very problematical.” The General concurrred with Mr. Jones, and (5th June) forwarded his letter to the Governor, proposing to cancel all existing authorities (for issues of pay and rations) on the 1st August. On the 9th June, Sir George Grey seriously presented the aspect of affairs to the General's consideration. “If you choose to cancel all the existing authorities… I cannot prevent you from taking such a course, and the colonial officers shall be instructed to afford you any information; but I think it my duty to state why I think it would be disadvantageous to the colony as well as to the Imperial Government that you should at the present time follow” such a course. Negotiations in progress should be speedily closed; the regiments to be ordered to England, and the occupation and maintenance of posts should be decided upon; and the extent to which the commissariat should assist in that maintenance page 296 should be determined. On the 21st June, the General intimated that he would refer the commissariat question to the Secretary for War. As to Weraroa, he had frequently explained his opinions, and the commanding Royal Engineer “fully concurred with me, that a siege of the position is not advisable at this season of the year.” The Governor told the Secretary of State that he believed no other commander in New Zealand had ever gone into winter quarters, and that it was pernicious to leave rebels undisturbed for months close to Wanganui.
1 He reported the cause to Sir George Grey, upbraiding him at the same time for communicating the contents of private letters to the Ministers. The Governor replied that the accusations were so serious that they could not be slurred over. The letters containing them could hardly be called merely private, nor had the General treated them as such, for he had himself sent copies of them to the Secretary for War, without giving the Governor or his advisers an opportunity of commenting on them. The Governor had warned his advisers that they ought not to treat the letters as official unless made public by the General. When they were informed that the General had sent copies to England they published them without informing the Governor of their intention, but under the circumstances he thought them entitled to choose their mode of defence against the charges made against them
At Wellington, on the 12th July, the Ministry formally announced that, on the meeting of the Assembly, they would resign. They had on the 11th, with equal formality, declared that they could not recommend an appropriation of £40 per head for Imperial forces in the colony. General Cameron's unfounded charges, and his inactivity, which marred the success of even Colonel Warre's proceedings at Taranaki, prompted the Ministry to abstain from recommending the appropriation for the troops. They based their resignation on the General's conduct. He influenced, if he did not guide, the Imperial page 298 Government. He conveyed hostile criticisms and imputations, and when called on for explanation or information refused to give either. They gratefully acknowledged the constitutional support and efforts of the Governor; they did not doubt the approval of the Assembly; but such an irresponsible authority as that arrogated by the General made their resignations imperative. The Governor enclosed their minute to the Secretary of State, and feared that great political embarrassments would arise. Within a week Sir George Grey was in the field before the Weraroa pah. Already it was suspected, if not known, to be weakly garrisoned. The friendly chiefs had nearly procured a capitulation. Three hundred and eighty Maori allies were camped 2000 yards from it; 130 cavalry (called Bush Rangers), with Major Von Tempsky, were encamped 800 yards from it, and Major Rookes of the militia, under whom Von Tempsky served, was in the Perikamo pah, about 400 yards from Weraroa. Brigadier-General Waddy was with the Governor. Pehimana and Aperahama, chiefs from the pah, awaited his arrival on the 17th July. They admitted that Weraroa pah was built on English property, and were willing to put it in the hands of Hori Kingi, the Wanganui chief friendly to the English. They wished for time to remove the women and children. The Governor granted it. He asked if Hori Kingi would take possession. Hori Kingi had no confidence in Pai Marire fanatics, and declined. The Governor said he would do so, and the chief must accompany him. The rebel chiefs returned to Weraroa to make preparations to receive the Governor. A white flag was flying. The Governor, General Waddy, Major Gray, Captain Bulkeley, Colonel Trevor, and Mr. Parris the interpreter, rode towards it. They were met by Maoris, one of whom inquired whether time to remove women and children would be given. “Yes, that had been arranged.” Were they to be punished for their rebellion? The Governor said all would be pardoned except murderers; and those who returned to their allegiance would be treated in all respects like the Queen's European subjects. The natives said all was satisfactory. Aperahama came out of the pah and requested the Governor and Hori Kingi to enter it. Hori Kingi rode to Sir George Grey's side, saying: “Oh Governor, do not let us go in. Ride up and touch page 299 the fence with your hand, and let that satisfy you. Do not let us go in.” Other natives begged him not to go in, saying that the people in Weraroa were “fanatics, given up to old customs.” Nevertheless, the Governor, Hori Kingi, Hori Kerei, and Mr. Parris, rode on. At 30 yards' distance from the pah, the Hau Hau priest came out and told the natives not to allow the cavalcade to approach nearer. Hori Kingi's keen eyes detected that the guns were prepared in the pah. Chiefs of Weraroa, friendly to the Governor, stood between him and the pah, and begged him to desist. After a time he rode away. Pehimana and Aperahama had not been treacherous, however. Failing to prevail on the garrison to surrender the pah, the former immediately gave himself up. The latter surrendered on the following morning. On the 18th, the garrison made further pretences of surrender, vainly asking the Governor by letter to send away the soldiers.
The Hau Haus did not rely only on diplomacy. Topia Turoa, who bearded Sir George Grey in March, was on the war-track. Captain Brassey, commanding at Pipiriki, was assailed. Friendly natives warned the Governor, and no time was to be lost. On the 19th July, Grey asked General Waddy if his instructions from the General permitted him to invest Weraroa. That officer replied that he could not do so without orders from General Cameron. On the same day the Governor asked if General Waddy would under the circumstances without delay establish a post of 400 men near the camp of Major Von Tempsky, and thus furnish a moral support to the local forces and friendly natives; sending also a detachment of artillery to keep down the fire of the besieged while the local forces and natives worked their way up to the assault. The brave Brigadier consented, alleging as his excuse the time that might elapse if he were to wait for the General's orders from Auckland. The available force consisted of 473 men, viz. 25 Wanganui cavalry, 139 Forest and Bush Rangers, 109 native contingent, and 200 friendly Maoris. In round numbers, therefore, two-thirds of the force were Maoris. Though perched on a high point from which precipices or steep banks descended about 300 feet to the Waitotara river and the Koie where they joined their streams, Weraroa could be commanded by still higher ground on the page 300 opposite or right bank of the Koie, where there was good cover for riflemen. The pah was placed rearwards to the Koie and Waitotara. Its front was strongly fortified, and palisaded rifle-pits seemed to guarantee the darling object of Maori warriors,— the certainty of inflicting loss on their enemy before quitting, if needful, their stronghold. The valleys of the Waitotara and Koie were exposed to fire from the pah, and no danger was apprehended in the rear. A pathway led across the Koie stream, and on the Karaka ridge on the other side was a redoubt built by the Maoris to cover retreat from Weraroa, and facilitate supplies and re-enforcements across the Koie valley, about 500 yards wide. Hori Kerei, to whose father the Karaka range had belonged, explained on the ground the peculiarities of the surrounding forest. At two o'clock in the morning on the 20th July the plan of attack was fixed upon. The Maori allies and native contingent officers unanimously agreed that it was sound. The Karaka height was to be occupied by surprise, a circuitous route to it being taken through dense forest; and thus Weraroa was to be rendered untenable. Early on the 20th, Colonel Trevor arrived with 100 men of the 14th, and encamped on the left front of the pah. At ten o'clock Captain Noblett brought 100 of the 18th, and pitched his tents near those of the 14th. At half-past twelve the colonial and native forces were paraded; and then, by a road unseen from the pah, moved off for the Karaka heights. The weather was cold and rainy. Major Von Tempsky was ill, and Major Rookes took command of the expedition to Karaka. The brave and intelligent Rangihiwinui accompanied him. In front of the pah was Sir George Grey with a few friendly natives, and the moral support of 200 British soldiers, aided by the empty tents which the defenders of the pah believed to be occupied. Till daybreak on the 21st the success of the Karaka expedition was unknown in front of Weraroa. Then some dropping shots announced that Major Rookes and Rangihiwinui had done their work. Cheers were heard from the height, and confusion was in Weraroa. After a march of six hours Major Rookes had gained his position. At half-past four he surprised a native village and outpost, capturing 50 prisoners with their arms, and two kegs of ammunition. They comprised a re-enforcement on the way to join the rebels page 301 in Weraroa. They incommoded him, and he was busy entrenching his position; he could not send them away without dangerously weakening his force. Captain Ross arrived with a letter from him at ten o'clock on the 21st. Colonel Trevor allowed some of the 14th Regiment to guard the prisoners in conjunction with 50 Maoris whom Sir George Grey told Major Rookes to send as escort. To increase the force in front of the pah, the Governor earnestly requested the Colonel in command at Patea to send 200 men immediately to place themselves under command of General Waddy, who was expected on the ground. Captain Brassey was in danger at Pipiriki, and the Maori allies were to help him after the capture of Weraroa. Sir George Grey congratulated Major Rookes.… “We shall make a sham attack on Weraroa from this side to-morrow morning at day-light, and seize a position ourselves.… P.S.—I rely on your having picked shots to give them no peace by day, and ambuscades well planted every night, so that nothing can get in or out in safety.”
To Mr. Cardwell the Governor wrote that his strategic arrangements were defective in one point of view. The force in front was too small; but “the critical position of Captain Brassey and his small force at Pipiriki made it necessary to risk a great deal, and I think that no risk greater than what ought under such circumstances to have been run was incurred.” Major Nixon reported from Wanganui that trustworthy information had arrived that 400 Hau Haus were preparing to attack Captain Brassey. Maori allies wrote to the chiefs before Weraroa: “Friends, the enemy have closed the way to Pipiriki by occupying Te Puha. They have drawn near to the Pakeha; be quick hither.” Before Weraroa the friendly chiefs viewed with alarm the smallness of the force. Blood was thicker than water, and it was felt, though not expressed, that on an emergency Colonel Trevor would convert a moral into a physical force. But the number of the garrison was unknown. Rumours described them variously, from 200 to 600 in number. To remove the just apprehensions of the chiefs, Colonel Trevor ordered up 50 men from Nukumaru, and a like number from Waitotara. Though the 200 men expected from Wanganui had not arrived, and the 200 men at Patea had only just been asked for, the page 302 siege was to be carried on. Colonel Trevor was ready to make his sham attack in the morning. Before sunset the best marks-men in Major Rookes' force dropped rifle-shots into the pah, using sights for a range of 600 yards. The rebels were seen to be in confusion. The Karaka heights commanded their position. They knew not how few were those permitted to fight against them; and their opponents knew not how few formed the garrison. They fled down cliffs and precipices. The Maori allies with Major Rookes perceived that Weraroa was evacuated. At daylight it was entered and handed over to Colonel Trevor by the few Maoris left within it. Far less time was spent in taking than General Cameron had consumed in writing about it, and not a man had been lost. The English knight to whom an Irish garrison surrendered when they saw him bring from the forest a charred log on wheels, which in the Plantagenet days they mistook for a cannon, had been successfully imitated by Sir George Grey, though if the garrison had been as numerous as when General Cameron declined to attack the pah, the result might have been different. The heavy guns ordered from Waitotara were countermanded. The officer at Patea was requested to keep back the 200 troops asked for on the day before. At half-past two in the morning of the 22nd the Governor wrote to Captain Brassey: “I have been in the greatest concern at your position, but have felt the utmost reliance on your courage and prudence, and on the bravery of your men. In the mean time I have risked everything here, to be able at the earliest moment to help you.… We go into the pah at daylight, and at the same hour a large force starts to rescue you. A messenger will take this to you who will manage to get through the enemy. Hold out bravely; within a few hours after you get this you will have help.”
The ‘Gundagai’ steamer and canoes carried the relieving forces. Amongst them were the chiefs Hori Kingi and Te Kepa Rangihiwinui. After the expedition had started a letter was received from Captain Brassey. It was dated 21st July, and announced that he had been attacked on the 19th, but had beaten off the enemy. Ensign Cleary and Sergeant Gourd only were wounded. There were 20 or more casualties amongst the enemy. The Hau Haus were guarding the way to Wanganui. Captain Brassey had page 303 promised the Maori letter-carrier £15 for taking his letter safety to Major Rookes. As some of the rebels could read English the gallant captain added this postcript: “Sumus sine rebus belli satis.” “My cry, if I could make it heard, would be—the M ! M !!” On the 1st August relief reached him. Mete Kingi, Hori Kingi, and others congratulated Captain Brassey in speeches which were published, as was also Mete Kingi's narrative addressed to the Governor. The thanks of the Governor for the conduct of all officers and men engaged in the operations were given in the warmest language. He was not doomed to win applause from his own superiors. The War Office after long incubation hatched new Orders framed to prevent a Governor from interfering, successfully or otherwise, with conduct of a campaign.1
1 Mr. Weld, in July, 1865, wrote a letter to Lord Alfred Churchill, thanking him for advocacy in Parliament of the policy of the New Zealand Government. It was sent to the ‘Times.’ It spoke of the intention of the Ministry to resign, because “all is upset by the political action of Lieutenant-General Sir D. Cameron. He has been writing secretly to the Government, making accusations against the Government and the Ministry, and will not give the particulars or the grounds of his attacks, so that for months we have been condemned unheard… The Governor has been very badly treated, and it will be of course impossible for him to remain in office unless General Cameron is at once recalled… I can hardly believe that 600, or at most 800, half-armed fanatics could battle for months, in a comparatively open country, with upwards of 6000 well-armed Englishmen unless the General was acting upon political motives.” Though it was not written for publication, it was not to be wondered at that Lord Churchill published the letter.
1 On seeing this paragraph General Cameron wrote from Auckland: “I positively deny having given any orders to Brigadier-General Waddy, Colonel Trevor, or any other officer which prevented them from taking any active part.”
The General was not tardy in the new campaign allotted to him. His occupation in New Zealand was gone. He hastened to England to stir the War Office against the audacity of a civil officer in taking command in the field; a dangerous innovation, which required to be nipped in the bud. Sir George Grey reported that Colonel Warre marching southwards from Taranaki had met Colonel Weare marching northwards from Waingongoro, and trusted that these events would convince the Secretary of State that he had rightly declined to ask for more troops when importuned by the General, and that if Colonel Warre had been permitted, as requested by Sir G. Grey, to advance from Taranaki when the General marched from Wanganui, the war would have been ended, and vast colonial and Imperial expenditure saved. General Cameron in his last letter about the campaign (26th July), warned the Governor that he would address the Secretary for War on the subversion of discipline, and consequent confusion and disorder, countenanced if not encouraged by the Governor. In unhappy ignorance that Weraroa had already fallen, he defended his indolence about its capture. “All that was to be done was to make the necessary preparations, so that no time might be lost as soon as the weather admitted of the operation being undertaken. In a despatch of the 7th instant, I informed the Secretary for War that I intended to undertake the attack as soon as the weather allowed.” More than common chagrin must have possessed the writer of such a despatch when in a few days he learned that the task which he looked upon as more than could “be done” page 306 had been achieved without loss. If there was in the War Office a spark spretœ injuriœ auctoritatis, he would set a torch to it without delay. In his fury he would include the successful soldier, Colonel Warre. “Privately or semi-officially” he asked certain questions which Colonel Warre answered frankly. The General rejoined (26th August): “It was not without good reason that I asked you the questions, and I fully expected to find what you admit—that you have been in the constant habit of giving your opinions to the Governor and Colonial Minister freely on military subjects of every kind without my knowledge. I can hardly believe that your conduct will be approved by the authorities at home.” He left without giving Colonel Warre opportunity to explain. That officer, in self-defence, informed the Governor that he had exceeded his object when writing to the General, who had arrived at a conclusion contrary to the one intended to be conveyed. “The admissions in my letter to Sir Duncan Cameron were confined to the expression of my opinion privately on all subjects connected with the native insurrection, and in replying to questions verbally on subjects that your Excellency or Ministers, while resident at Taranaki, may have put to me. I appeal to your Excellency whether I ever presumed to offer such opinions as ‘advice,’ or whether I ever originated or suggested any military operations opposed to the known wishes or views of the late Lieutenant-General Commanding.” Sir George Grey sent the appeal to England, with his own assurance that as far as he was concerned the statement of Sir Duncan Cameron was wholly untrue, and he trusted inquiry would be made. It was “but a perilous shot out of an elder-gun that a poor and private displeasure could do” against a General still highly commended and recently knighted in England, and who as he chewed the cud of indignation on the way to Australia, so far lost temper as to write an angry letter to Sir George Grey and insert it in a Melbourne newspaper before it could reach him to whom it was addressed. He charged Sir George Grey with having told General Waddy at Wanganui that had the latter arrived before Weraroa, the Governor would have left the command in his hands. Sir George Grey admitted the charge. “I knew him to be a good and gallant soldier, anxious to do his duty; and I believed if I page 307 only got him into the fray, he would have fought his way well through it, whatever his orders were. The moment therefore I saw him thoroughly engaged in the affair, I should either have left the place, or have served on his staff, if he would have allowed me to do so.” The retort, by comparing Waddy to Cameron, might be effective; but risk to Imperial interests if Governors should in other places involve the Queen's troops in war without the sanction of their commanding officer was too obvious to allow it to be hoped that in this instance success would be honoured. Sir George Grey had done much, but— he had not conformed to military etiquette.
The judgment of the War Office under Earl de Grey in such a case could hardly be doubted, even by those who could not foretell the remarkable treaty of Washington in 1871, by which, under the presidency of the same nobleman, it was determined to scatter international rights and duties to the winds, and coin new terms under which England should admit having done wrong where no wrong was done, and pay a penalty so large that its receivers were unable to apply it in terms of the bond. The decision, or rather indecision, of the War Office, may be told in few words. Lord de Grey thought that Sir Duncan Cameron “had not assumed to himself any latitude inconsistent with the high position he filled” in corresponding with the War Office about the affairs of New Zealand. He admitted that Sir Duncan Cameron ought to have furnished the Governor with copies of despatches “other than those relating to discipline and military routine.” Instead of reprimanding the General for breach of propriety, of a distinct rule of the colonial service, and of a Horse Guards' circular letter (dated February, 1859), he said he would draw the General's attention to the Horse Guards' letter with a view to its being conformed to in future. Sir Duncan Cameron was, it appeared, “not acquainted with the contents of the Horse Guards' letter.” Never was there a grosser instance of a man being less wise than he seemed. Sir Duncan Cameron had left, and was known to have left, New Zealand nearly two months before this injunction was issued. For the General to disobey orders was venial. But Lord de Grey thought Sir George Grey inexcusable for showing to his Ministers the private letters in which they were traduced. page 308 Lord de Grey did not consider the fact that the calumniatory letters had been transmitted to himself justified their being shown to the Ministers, or published by them with their defence, and yet he himself had laid some of them before Parliament without giving Sir George Grey an opportunity of explanation. Mr. Cardwell (25th September), in forwarding Lord de Grey's inane despatch, partially modified its offansiveness to the Governor by saying that it was to be regretted that General Cameron had not observed the regulations. “One of the mischievous consequences of this departure from the rules of the service on his part, probably has been that you, not unnaturally, have suspected that reports had been made unfavourable to yourself and your Ministers to a greater extent than you will find to have been the case.” Mr. Cardwell, assuming that General Cameron's version was correct, pointed out that when the confiscation measures were objected to by the General, the Governor ought to have referred the matter to England, with the General's comments, so that the Secretary or Secretaries of State might decide the matter. It was perhaps impossible to do otherwise than assume the truth of General Cameron's statement that the proclamation of 17th September, 1864, confiscated so much land as to render necessary an augmentation of troops in New Zealand, and was therefore unwise. But by the return mail Sir George Grey forwarded a minute written by the General on the 16th December, 1864, upon a map showing the confiscated lands. The minute declared to the New Zealand Ministry what in the General's opinion “might fairly be considered as conquered territory.” Of two lines, denoted by him, the one selected in the proclamation of the 17th December was that which included least land. How then, asked Sir George Grey, could he suppose that the General objected to the proclamation, and why was he left in ignorance that on the 7th January, 1865, the General had written to the Secretary for War to complain of the terms of the proclamation, which were as much his own measures as the Governor's? The reader need not be wearied by further beating out of the question. The Governor wrote despatch after despatch, which Mr. Cardwell curtly acknowledged and referred to the War Office. Lord de Grey received an explanation from General Cameron, but “did page 309 not think it necessary to send a copy” to Mr. Cardwell, considering “that the time had arrived for putting an end to the painful dispute.” In vain did Sir George Grey appeal for vindication of his character. Lord de Grey's stolidity was more impregnable than the Weraroa pah. When the irate Governor so far officially forgot himself as to state in terms that the General's accusations were “malicious and unfounded,” Cameron was as safe behind the plumbean De Grey as the Hau Haus had been from him behind the Weraroa palisade.
When the Marquis of Hartington (who had been Under-Secretary) became Secretary for War, on Lord de Grey's translation to the India Board, it was hardly to be expected that he would reverse the injustice of his late superior. Mr. Cardwell announced that the new Secretary agreed with the old one.
The skill and gallantry displayed by the colonial forces and friendly natives at the capture of the Weraroa pah were hailed with satisfaction by Mr. Cardwell. As to his personal share the Governor was informed that his assumption of so large a share in the direction of military operations, in presence of the regular forces and of their officers, had given rise to questions on which he would be subsequently addressed.
The proverb that “nothing succeeds like success,” was falsified in Sir George Grey's case. What Lord Palmerston would have done if he had lived, cannot be told. He died in October, 1865. His weaker successor, Earl Russell, either did not try, or failed, to do justice. Sir George Grey was never thanked, although that he had sinned against no defined rule was established by the fact that new Army Regulations were found necessary to prevent a recurrence of the catastrophe which Sir Duncan Cameron had sustained. It was laid down that a Governor, though Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief, “is not therefore entitled to take the immediate direction of any military operations.” Sir George Grey told Mr. Cardwell that he had expected to incur animosity by proving that success could be obtained in the field without the sacrifices sometimes made in New Zealand. He would bear the penalty cheerfully. He knew he had done his duty, and that knowledge would sustain him under any attacks, or under any censures or inconveniences page 310 to which Her Majesty's Government might from want of information subject him.1
Some changes were made in the Ministry during the session of 1865. Mr. Mantell retired from the office of Native Minister in July, and early in August Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, “the orator of New Zealand,” accepted it. He was notable for his desire to accord representation in Parliament to Maoris, and in a few weeks the Governor formally promulgated his readiness to confer with the Maori chiefs as to the manner in which that representation should be conferred. It may be recollected that within a few months of Mr. Fitzgerald's acceptance of office, Sir George Grey had described him as understanding neither Englishmen nor barbarous men.
1 One passage in a despatch of 11th December, 1865, was ill-adapted to win favourable consideration for the Governor. “I assert confidently that Sir Duncan Cameron in making such gross accusations against me privately to Lord de Grey, one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, and his Lordship in privately receiving them, are the wrong-doers, and not myself in treating these accusations as publicly made, and in meeting them as having been so made.” The functionary who thus wrote of one Minister to another courted the spurns of which he complained.
On the capture of Weraroa regular war was deemed at an end, and the savage murders by Hau Haus were not allowed to prevent the proclamation of peace. They indeed, like missiles hurled in the darkness, smote the colonists and made them shudder. Plotted in secrecy, they were executed with hasty and cunning ferocity. On the 22nd July, emboldened by the spread of their faith and their impunity after Volkner's death, the Hau Haus murdered Mr. Fulloon at Whakatane, together with the captain and all but two persons on board the cutter ‘Kate,’ which took them thither. They burned the cutter. Mr. Fulloon, a half-caste Maori interpreter, had been allowed by the Defence Minister to call at Whakatane, at his own request, for the purpose of checking the spread of disaffection. In September, in disregard of the old Maori sense of honour, Kereti Te Ahura, a Maori policeman, while engaged in carrving the Governor's peace proclamation, was mortally wounded and robbed near Weraroa by an ambushed party, but was rescued in time to enable him to make a dying deposition identifying some of his murderers. The Governor offered a reward of £1000 for bringing any of the murderers to justice. Mr. Broughton, an interpreter, in obeying Colonel Waddy's orders, was decoyed to an interview on the west coast and murdered. These and other atrocities Mr. Weld's Ministry saw partially punished by the capture of Opotiki in September.page 313
1 A more detailed account of the expedition may be found in ‘Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand.’ (T. W. Gudgeon.) London: 1879. He complains of the mutinous spirit amongst the Maoris, but excepts from censure Major Kepa, “probably the best Maori officer in New Zealand,” and Lieutenant Wirihana. He tells a singular tale of daring shown by Winiata. During the firing on the Pua pah, Winiata “suddenly rushed to the pah, and regardless of the fire of both friend and foe placed his hand on the palisading, shouting that the pah was his.” That night the enemy pulled down some of their palisading under pretence of surrendering, and rushed out, firing a volley to disconcert the besiegers. In the morning, when the “native contingent were sent forward to attack,” the pah was found abandoned to Winiata and his comrades. Another instance of Maori character is given by Mr. Gudgeon. Amongst the Wanganui men was a prophet Pitau, who, when the expedition started, prophesied: “You will succeed in all things, O Wanganui!—only one man will die, and he will be Pitau.” In the skirmishes Pitau risked his life as if desirous to prove the truth of his prediction. On leaving Opotiki a boat was swamped by the surf, and Pitau was drowned, while all his countrymen escaped by swimming. Mr. Gudgeon thought that Pitau preferred death to loss of “mana” as a prophet, and purposely sunk in the sea.
1 Despatch, ‘New Zealand Gazette,’ 1865. Lieutenant Gudgeon does not record Fraser's published reasons, but says that when success seemed assured, “Major Fraser suddenly ordered the whole force to return to Waiapu, and the chance was lost” (p. 86).
1 “The Maoris, bootless and tronscrless, went up the cliff with tolerable ease, but the Pakehas, encumbered by civilization, laboured behind” (Lieutenant Gudgeon's ‘Reminiseences’). Fraser reported that the cliff was most precipitous, and that “great credit was due to Cornet Tuke and the men who followed him.”
2 Despatch from Biggs, 11th October, 1865. ‘New Zealand Government Gazette,’ 1865, p. 346.
1 Lieutenant Gudgeon (in his ‘Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand’) says of this man: “He was right in his judgment, for Biggs and Ropata fully intended to sacrifice them all; but they, now fully alive to the fact, dashed out of the pah as desperate men will do, and sliding over the precipitons cliff, most of them escaped” (p. 88). The above narrative is drawn from Mr. Gudgeon's book, corrected or amplified by the various reports of the officers concerned. If this assertion of Gudgeon be true, Biggs did not intend to comply with the order to extend clemency which he acknowledged (in his despatch) that he had received.
1 An eye-witness recorded a daring act of Renata Tupara. After a skirmish in which some Hau Haus fell, three of Major Fraser's men, while reconnoitring, saw the bodies of Renata Tupara and two others on the ground. Hearing a noise, after they passed the bodies, they looked round and saw him running away with two guns. He had risked his life to secure them, and feigned death as the Europeans passed. Although fired at, he escaped into the pah.
1 N. Z. P. P. 1864; A. No. 6.
2 Lieutenant Gudgeon, in his book on the war, without assigning reasons, gives a third version at variance with Fraser's earlier and later statements. Fraser mistook the character of the flags, and “called out to the men not to fire upon flags of truce. Luckily Biggs was present; he knew they were fighting flags, and before the mistake could lead to serious consequences, ordered the men to fire.”
The Government spared no trouble in reducing the east coast to the peace of death. In January, 1866, Major Fraser accompanied the chiefs Kopu, Ihaka Whanga, Karauria, Ropata, Hotene, and Paura Paura, who led 520 men from the Upper Wairoa to Waikaremoana. Biggs advised that the force should march in two columns. Ropata contended that in such a rough country the difficulty of making a simultaneous attack with two forces marching by different roads made the plan of Biggs unwise. Ropata's counsel prevailed. The advance-guard encountered an ambuscade. Ropata scaled a hill and stormed the enemy's rifle-pits on the right; Ihaka Whanga though wounded in several places cheered his men in the gorge; Kopu attacked rifle-pits on the enemy's left, and the Hau Haus were driven headlong, chased by a picked body fewer by far than the fliers. Fraser drew “particular attention to the bravery of Ihaka Whanga, and the skill with which Kopu and Ropata outflanked, routed, and followed up the enemy.” The Hau Haus fled past Onepoto at the Waikaremoana lake, and that stronghold fell into possession of the conquerors. A council of war was held on the following day, at which the chiefs decided to shoot four prisoners, three for “having come from other places to fight the Government,” a fourth for “having previously fought against it at Tauranga.” Major Fraser reported the fact as if such a finding and immediate sentence called for no comment. Lieutenant Gudgeon in his ‘Reminiscences’ avers, that one of the prisoners was a chief of high rank; that Fraser told Ropata “the chief ought to be shot”; that Ropata said, “Shoot him”: that Fraser did not act upon his own advice; and that, “some hours after, finding Tamaionarangi still alive, page 323 Ropata said: ‘You all seem afraid to shoot this man, but I am not’; so saying… he shot him.” Thus was war conducted in the name of the Queen of England. No time was lost in confiscating nearly half a million of acres at Opotiki. A word must be said as to the reward which the Government gave to some of their Maori allies. The Arawa had ever been staunch. Had Mr. Weld remained in office their gallantry would perhaps have been more suitably acknowledged. It is painful to find Poihipi Tukeraingi and others petitioning for justice in 1866. “We paid no heed to the fact that it was the time of putting seed into the ground. We thought not of our wives and children, but only that the Pakehas were to be our parents.… We worked on till the work was ended.… Now we have given up those wicked men into your hands; not one escaped from us; neither did you give us any Pakehas to assist us. The only thing you did was to supply one half of the food, I myself finding the greater portion. Eighty days did we stand up to fight. We did not make a backward movement. The Native Minister came to Maketu. He expressed in words his recognition of our services, but it occurs to our minds that thanks expressed in words only will not keep us alive. That Minister then pleaded that the Government was poor, and told us of a sum of £1500. We were much troubled because the amount was so small, and we wept for our wives and children.… Look also upon the fatigue we endured, and our having plunged into the midst of death in scorn of consequences. Suppose it had been Europeans instead of Maoris, would they have been satisfied with this pay,—£2 5s. per man for three months?… Look upon the money spent by us in this work as compared with the army which you landed at Opotiki, to capture Kereopa and Patara, and which did not accomplish its purpose. Look at the cost of that army. Was it not £40,000 ? To us simple-minded persons it appears that the Government is not poor, inasmuch as it can afford to throw money away upon work which fails in its objects.” These allegations could not be contradicted. Returns showed that in 1864, 1865, and 1866, the Arawa had received about £3000 in rations, £250 as pensions to widows of those who had fallen in battle, and £2600 in money; the last award being £1500, in May, 1866, against the insufficiency of page 324 which they remonstrated. The Native Minister who recommended it was Colonel Russell. Mr. J. C. Richmond informed the committee to whom the petition was referred that the services of the tribe had been “emphatically acknowledged by the two last Ministers,” and that though Colonel Russell gave no distinct promise, he “hinted” in May, 1866, at Maketu, that if the tribe would subscribe for schools and roads the Government might supplement their gifts by grants of like amount. The committee recommended the adoption of this suggestion, and their report was ordered to be printed for the use of members of the House. The sympathy of Mr. Stafford's Ministry went no farther, nor did any member suggest in either House that the Arawa should be fed by further words. The Legislators were busy at the time with a Customs Bill, Land Bills, a Superintendents' Deputy Bill; and, as confiscation had not been sweeping enough, there were amendments required in the Native Reserves Act, although the Native Minister was told in April, 1866, that the session of 1865 had demonstrated the enormous facility with which the Maori reserves could by parliamentary manœuvres be translated into English. The process must be described.
1 Letter from Colonial Secretary Domett to Mr. Mantell, 6th June, 1853 Most of the facts will be found in the ‘Compendium of Official Documents relative to Native Affairs in the South (or Middle) Island,’ compiled by Alexander Mackay, Native Commissioner. Wellington: 1873.
1 The pliant Cutten, in his report of 1858, burlesqued the settlers' claims. He insinuated that they were anterior to those of the Maoris. The Governor could not (he thought) reserve land for natives which had “been already set apart” by the Otago Association !!!
Justice may halt, but it is grateful to reflect that she was not without a witness to denounce at the time the flagrant contempt for right which a majority of the House was so ready to display. Mr. Weld deserves perhaps peculiar honour. He was warned that if he would not sanction robbery, he would lose certain supporters. The ignoble threat was despised. Those who made it were more firm in falsehood than they had been in faith, and Mr. Vogel was able as an ardent advocate of provincialism to move a resolution about the appropriation of a Stamp Tax which caused the deserted Weld to resign. By retributive justice upon the deserters, the advocates of provincial privileges were in their turn abandoned by Vogel. Mr. Weld retired, and Stafford became Premier on the 16th October. The parliamentary session ended a fortnight afterwards, and the way was clear for the Dunedin intriguers. Stafford, who had supported them openly page 331 would not withhold secret aid. The pliant Commissioner of Crown Lands applied on the 4th November for a grant of the reserve to the Superintendent of Otago. He was careful not to describe it. He said it was needed for “public utility.” The schedule containing it mentioned it as “a piece of land situate in Prince's Street, Dunedin.” The description of another grant, applied for in the same schedule, specified the number of the block and of each section thereof, with the purpose in view—a “public hospital.” Mr. Stafford, who knew the ground well, and had with Mr. Richmond examined it in 1859, affected not to observe that the application related to the reserve reported on by the Select Committee on which he had served. He suggested (21st November) to the Superintendent of Otago, Thomas Dick, that “the object of the trust” should be more particularly specified. Dick, with equal affectation, requested that the land should be granted “as a reserve for wharves and quays.” But the plot was to be effected by stratagem. It might be that Sir George Grey would have qualms of conscience if proved to have knowingly signed the grant against the issue of which Mantell, Fitzgerald, Weld, Sewell, and Fitzherbert had openly protested. It was made to appear that the grant was inadvertently signed by the Governor on the 11th January, 1866. As the circumstances were investigated by the Native Affairs Committee in 1877 on the petition of Taiaroa, a Maori representative, two witnesses—Sir George Grey and Mr. Stafford—are perhaps entitled to explain in their own words the part they took in issuing the grant. Both attributed the culmination of the long conspiracy to inadvertence. Sir George Grey said: “Discussions had taken place between myself and law officers, and I had resolved that I ought not to sign the grant until the matter had been further discussed. A number of grants were presented… I believed that one of them… was the grant for this land, but I could not positively identify it. (The vagueness of the schedule will be remembered); and as the Colonial Secretary (Stafford), who presented the grants to me, was perfectly satisfied that it was not the grant for this reserve, I signed it. Subsequently it turned out that the grant had been signed. It was done under a mistake… It was discovered the same day that the grant had been signed improperly, and the Government tried to recover page 332 possession of the grant, but it was found that the grant had been sent off that day in a vessel going to Otago, and in that way the land passed… Mr. Stafford found out that the mistake arose from the negligence of a clerk in the Crown Lands Office.… Mr. Domett, then Commissioner of Crown Lands, whom I sent for, told me how the error had occurred.” Mr. Stafford testified: “As far as I can recollect, I think it probable that neither the Governor nor myself were aware when that particular grant was signed… I think it is very probable that this grant may have come up inadvertently with a number of others, and in the same way may have been sent on by me to the Governor for his signature. I have used the word ‘inadvertently’ because I have some recollection—I will not be quite positive1 about it—that I had given a special instruction that that grant should not be sent on for signature without my attention being called to the fact.… I believe, although I will not be absolutely positive at this length of time, that I gave (such) instructions.… I have been informed that Sir George Grey, who was then Governor, has stated that he put some questions to me with regard to this grant. I have no recollection (that he) ever put questions to me about any grant whatever at any time. But if Sir George Grey says he is perfectly certain he did put such questions to me, I am not at this length of time prepared to say that he did not, but I have certainly no recollection of (his) having at any time questioned me as to a grant, and I think if such an occurrence had taken place I should have recollected it.…”
1 Positive assertion on this point would have somewhat jarred with the recollection of Stafford's connivance in supporting the grant in the House shortly before he presented it for signature.
1 As these pretences may appear incredible in England unless vouched by a responsible Minister, it may be well to quote what Mr. J. G. Richmond (a colleague of Stafford) wrote in October, 1867: “The Government proposed an amicable suit… The Provincial Council never acquiesced… Mr. Stafford was advised that to bring the matter into Court a grant must issue to one party or the other, and had intended to recommend a grant, but in the mean time, inadvertently as regards his Excellency and the Colonial Secretary, a grant which had been prepared on the authority of the resolution of the House of Representatives was presented for signature and issued.” Mr. Richmond exempts others from the excuse he pleads for Stafford. Moreover, though Stafford's offer to try the matter before the Court was made nine months after he had issued the grant, Richmond's memorandum implies that the offer preceded the grant. Shortly after these transactions the Governor told the Secretary of State that the debates, legislation, and Acts of the Assembly would be “admitted to be creditable to their humanity.” If so it was of low type.
In 1866 Stafford introduced a Bill “to declare the Superintendent of Otago entitled to receive” the rents held by the Government. The Lower House passed it without amendment. In the Upper House it was “ordered to be read a second time that day six months.” The foiled conspirators renewed their efforts in 1867. The Parliament had no sooner assembled in July, than Harris, Reynolds, Vogel, and Macandrew (Superintendent of Otago as well as a representative), with twelve other legislators, in a formal document urged Stafford to pay immediately without aid of law the coveted rents. They made no reference to the rejected Bill of 1866, but pleaded that great injustice would be done to the Dunedin municipality if the accrued rents which it had calculated upon should be retained for the defrauded Maoris. The elastic Stafford consented “that the payment requested should be made,” and would “consider in what manner this can be legally effected.” It was found that, as the reserve was vested in the Superintendent of the province, he (Macandrew) “only, and not the Corporation of Dunedin, could be recognized as the recipient of the rents.” Stafford was advised that, as proceedings were threatened in order to obtain “a declaration of the invalidity and cancellation of the Crown grant,” he would not be justified in handing over the accrued rents without an undertaking on behalf of the province, that in the event of the grant being declared invalid in a court or by the legislature, or in the event of the right of other persons to the rents being established, “the moneys paid over will be refunded to the Colonial Treasurer.” On receipt of such an undertaking Stafford would part with the money. Macandrew, page 335 on the 25th July, refused to contract such an obligation; and on the 30th, Mr. F. Dillon Bell placed his services at the disposal of the conspirators and introduced a similar Bill to that of 1866.
Meanwhile the rightful owners were not silent. John Topi Patuki, on his “own behalf, and that of the Ngaitahu and Ngatimamoe tribes,” prayed the Governor (15th July, 1867) to permit and enable them to ascertain before the Courts “whether or not a remedy can be found for a great wrong and infringement of our rights which we conceive to have been committed.” They had received no warning of an intention to take away the reserve; they believed the grant to the Superintendent “illegal and void,” the land having been reserved for the tribes, and Patuki prayed for leave to institute proceedings by scire facias, in the name of the Crown or otherwise, for obtaining the repeal of the grant. His solicitor was informed on the 18th July that the Governor would allow the “use of the name of the Crown” in the proceedings, but expressed no opinion as to the validity of the grant. It is almost needless to say that the upright Mantell was consulted. On the 25th July, Mr. J. C. Richmond, “understanding that he had consented to assist the natives,” informed him that a sum not exceeding £200 would be at their disposal in prosecuting the suit. On being applied to, the Attorney-General (Prendergast) returned the writ with the endorsement (6th August), “upon the usual bond for £500, let the writ issue.” Mr. Mantell wrote (7th August) to Mr. J. C. Richmond, that, as the Government held the accrued rents, exceeding £6000, he had no hesitation in asking him to indicate how the Attorney-General's demand was to be acceded to. On the 19th August, Richmond informed Mantell that the “Government having at or near the time of my promise (of pecuniary aid), entered into an arrangement altogether inconsistent therewith, have considered it proper to withdraw the guarantee in question,” admitting at the same time responsibility for costs incurred to date. The “arrangement” proved to be Stafford's obedience to pressure. He agreed to pay the accrued rents to Macandrew without prejudice to any rights of the natives. The motive of the arrangement was to ensure that no part of the rents should be available for the Maoris. They were to be defrauded of the income as they had been defrauded of the page 336 estate. On the day on which Richmond revoked his promise, Mantell sent to the Governor a petition from Patuki to the Queen. It referred to the honourable engagements entered into by Her Majesty in the treaty of Waitangi, and prayed that any Bill, deciding by legislation questions which ought to be tried judicially, might be disallowed. When the Maoris parted with their lands, they were not “accustomed to scrutinize narrowly deeds” submitted to them for signature, but were “ready to regard as equally sacred and binding” assurances made to them in Her Majesty's name by one of her officers. The petition set out the facts of the case, and the objections to the Bill then before the New Zealand Parliament, wherein the Maoris were unrepresented. Similar petitions were laid before both Houses of the Assembly. Mr. Mantell was justly indignant. Misled by Richmond's recanted promise he had incurred expenses. Patuki had journeyed to the south, and had tendered the bond for £500 demanded by the Attorney-General. “Whether” (Mr. Mantell bitterly said) “that unfortunate chief can withdraw this guarantee with the facility which you appear to believe attends a similar but far less justifiable act on the part of the Government, the Attorney-General can inform you.… In this dilemma the Government proposes now to assume a position of absolute passiveness, withholding from suitors of its own creation enough of their own money to pay their expenses.… Of the choice thus made by the Government there is, I fear, but one opinion open to any man who cares for the reputation of the colony and his own honour.” Richmond, 26th August, replied that Mantell's injurious remarks would require notice when “a more temperate view” could be taken, and that the Bill before Parliament had been amended so as to make it clear that it did not confirm the Crown grant or prejudice suitors. Expenses authorized by Mr. Mantell before Richmond revoked his promise would be paid. The Bill brought in by Mr. F. Dillon Bell, on the 30th July, “declared that the Superintendent of the province of Otago, and his successors, are entitled to the said sum of £6031 18s. 9d.”
On the 6th August, on Mr. Bell's motion, his Bill was laid aside, because “the Government had taken the matter up.” On the 7th, Stafford introduced a similar Bill, but said that it had no other object than to enable the Treasurer to pay certain page 337 moneys to Macandrew, in trust for certain purposes. On the 23rd August, the Petitions Committee recommended (on Patuki's petition) that a clause should be inserted in the Bill to the effect that nothing contained in it should “prejudice the claim and title of the petitioner and his tribe.” On the same day Stafford agreed to omit from his Bill the words, “it is hereby declared that the Superintendent of the province of Otago and his successors are entitled to the said sum of £6031 18s. 9d.” It was trusted that if macandrew could lay hands on the money, the Maoris would never recover it. The Bill was read a third time on the 10th September, and sent on the 12th to the Council, in which Mr. Mantell had a seat. There would seem to be an atmosphere in an Upper House which renders it more trustworthy when honour is involved than the more eager and unscrupulous Chamber, chosen, not so much because the general characters of its members command respect, as because at the period of election they profess concurrence with the clamour of the hour. Drawn from the same elements as the representatives, but by a different process, the Council dealt differently with Patuki's petition that the Bill might not be passed, but “that the whole question be dealt with by a judicial tribunal.” The petition was referred to the Committee on Public Petitions. On the day on which the Bill reached the Council the Committee reported on the petition, that, “inasmuch as the question referred to them… appears to be one which can only be equitably and satisfactorily decided by the Supreme Court, in which it is shown that an action relating to it is already pending, the prayer of the petitioner be acceded to, and that no measure in any way affecting the question should be entertained until such decision has been given.” The Council read the Bill a first time on the 12th September, but on the 17th, on the motion of Mr. Menzies, adopted without a division the report of the Committee on Patuki's petition. The Bill lapsed. But while the Houses were still in session, Stafford (24th September) audaciously paid the accrued rents to Macandrew, who, to secure them, consented on the 12th September to give the guarantee which he had previously refused. So hurriedly was the misappropriation effected, that in the next session a Select Committee of the Lower House reported that it was irregular, and that under page 338 all the circumstances, “special reference being had to the loss of the Bill which was introduced for the purpose of authorizing the payment, the money ought not to have been paid.”
The later arts practised by New Zealand public men in consummating the fraud by which the Maoris were robbed of their reserve at Dunedin, concern the time when the scire facias writ was issued and argued, and an appeal to the Privy Council was made. Maori members had then, taken their seats in the Assembly, and Taiaroa, who represented the southern Maori district, exercised some influence, though he could not altogether thwart the designs of Macandrew and his abettors. Some minor portions of the conspiracy which Stafford's Government aided in 1867 may be briefly alluded to. While apprehensive that the loss of the Bill of 1867 might prevent his acquisition of the accrued rents, Macandrew trafficked with the Government to induce the Maoris through their solicitor to accept another piece of land instead of their own, and promised to spend £1000 in enclosing and building on it a hostelry.
1 The Governor added that he had “sincerely desired that the case should have been compromised in a generous spirit towards the natives in the Middle Island, who parted with large tracts of land to this Government for an almost nominal consideration.”
The reader may desire to know what was the response of the Secretary of State to the petition of Patuki. The Duke of Buckingham (21st December, 1867) informed Governor Bowen that it had “been laid before the Queen, but I have been unable to advise Her Majesty to take any steps in relation to it. I observe, however, that the Bill to which he refers, and which appears to have been intended to legalize the provisional use by the Otago Government of £6000, is alleged to have been withdrawn.” If the Duke had observed the larger questions at stake he kept silence about them. As far as he was concerned the Queen's honour and the guaranteed rights of the Maoris were remitted to the mercy of Macandrew. How it would be exercised may be inferred from the fact that on one occasion Macandrew being arrested for private debt while Superintendent of the province, used his power as such Superintendent to issue a proclamation, and declared his own house a gaol in order to defeat the law. The only safeguard to which the Maoris could look was the dread by their conspiring enemies of exposure by the keen and capable Mantell. But past experience had bitterly shown how difficult it was to wring from public men in New Zealand any justice to Maoris, or to extort respect for the plighted word of the Queen.
1 It appears from a speech made by Taiaroa in Parliament (21st July, 1881), that Hall evaded examination. “Cowlishaw rose in his legal apparel and pranced about the Court, but he failed to find the Honourable John Hall because that honourable gentleman had got on his horse and gone to his own place fifty miles off.” The Governor, Sir G. Bowen, was far away, unconsulted.
The reader will remember the wiles of Lord Howick in the Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1844; how he strove to give effect to them by his Instructions in 1846; how Sir W. Martin and Bishop Selwyn resisted him; how Governors Fitzroy and Grey were constrained to reiterate their assurances that the Queen would honourably maintain the treaty, and how Earl Grey himself was compelled to convey the same assurance in the name of his Sovereign. It ought to have been impossible to cite the nefarious and recalled Instructions of 1846 as cogent, and yet the Judge cited them as a distinct indication of the “view taken by the Imperial Government,” though he admitted that it was “objected to by the natives, and was never carried into practice, and in fact could not have been in a peaceful manner.” Earl Grey would have limited Maori rights to the land “actually occupied or used by means of labour expended thereon,” and the millions of acres not so occupied or used which the Crown had purchased from the natives, practically refuted the “idea” to which Mr. Fenton catachrestically referred page 344 in 1868. Dismissing the treaty he nevertheless found that between 1846 and 1851 a “change took place in the interpretation put by the English authorities on the territorial rights of the aborigines:” but he did not state that the pretensions of Earl Grey were never entitled to be called the views “of English authorities”; that they differed from Lord Stanley's decision; that they were never adopted, but on the contrary were crushed in Parliament by the eloquence and influence of Mr. Gladstone,1 and others; and that Mr. Labouchere in introducing a Bill which abandoned those pretensions promised that the treaty should be “scrupulously and largely interpreted,” which assurance he hoped would satisfy Mr. Gladstone that there was no intention on the part of the Colonial Office to “take any course upon the question of waste lands in New Zealand inconsistent with the rights guaranteed to the natives under the treaty of Waitangi.” Mr. Fenton confessed that in the Constitution Act of 1852, passed when Lord Derby was Prime Minister, “the unoccupied territory in the hands of the aborigines” was “regarded as their distinct and admitted property.”
1 “As far as England is concerned there is not a more strictly and rigorously binding treaty in existence than that of Waitangi.”—Mr. Gladstone's speech.
Mr. Fenton wronged Te Rangitake. That chief never claimed that his rights barred those of others. He never denied that Teira had tribal rights within the Waitara block. He admitted them. “The land belongs to Teira and to all of us,” was his contention: and it harmonized with that of Heremaia at Kaitorete. If any Ngaitahu could prove that he had not been consulted, had had no opportunity of protesting, and had shared in none of the results of the Ngaitahu purchase, he was fairly entitled to be heard, and not to be stopped by Mr. Hall's fabricated order of reference, and Mr. Fenton's adapted judgment. It might have been deemed difficult to do away with the admissions that the treaty of Waitangi and the Constitution Act of 1852 recognized and guaranteed the rights of the Maoris over all waste lands in New Zealand; but legal sophistry can weave webs in which elaborate details supersede principles. Mr. Fenton descanted upon the rise and fall of the New Zealand Company. Mr. Cowlishaw had impugned, on various grounds, the validity of the Ngaitahu deed of 1848. Mr. Fenton retorted that “the two laws on which Mr. Cowlishaw relied for avoiding the deed” were repealed, and “the provision in the Constitution Acts was not retrospective.” He was wisely silent as to the plain terms of the treaty. He was of opinion that the Ngaitahu deed was sufficiently bad in itself to convey no rights to Colonel Wakefield or his principals, the New Zealand Company, but that “by the common law of the empire that deed did suffice to extinguish the title of the tribe Ngaitahu in the lands described,” although made in presence of and attested by a commander in the navy, who seemed to represent good faith on the page 346 part of the Crown. There was “abundant evidence of the existence of a parol agreement of the Ngaitahu tribe or a majority of them to sell to Wakefield.” The Crown adopted the contract; Mr. Mantell “partially reduced it to writing by making a memorandum of the receipt of £500 in part payment.” … “Now the maxim is, Omnis ratihabitio retrotrahitur et mandato priori aequiparatur. Seemingly unconscious that every word he uttered was a stab at the treaty of Waitangi and the honour of England, the Judge discussed whether “the part performance (of the parol agreement) had been sufficient to render powerless the Statute of Frauds,” which required all agreements relating to lands to be in writing. He cited many English decisions, and beat the New Zealand air, but did not approach the Kaitorete case. “The Court (he concluded) is of opinion that though the several payments made by Mr. Mantell would not of themselves suffice to prevent the operation of the Statute of Frauds… yet those payments combined with the receipt and the amended plan, and the subsequent acts of ownership exercised by the Crown (for a piece of land has been granted) would form sufficient ground to cause a Court of Equity to compel a specific performance, and it will be the duty of the Court under the order of reference to ascertain all the terms of the contract, and to make such orders as will secure the due fulfilment of them by the Crown on one side, and the Ngaitahu tribe on the other.” He dismissed Heremaia's tribal claim as spurious, and touched upon the proved fact that the tribe had exercised of old, and after the Ngaitahu purchase, rights of fishery on the land, which would be regarded in the decree for specific performance. He gave judgment (he said) for the Crown, but it was a violent figure of speech, for the Crown was dishonoured by disregard of the treaty, and was even made a party to a quibble which confiscated the Maori rights on the plea that the Maoris had forfeited their treaty rights by joining in a transaction with the Crown. There were legal maxims which Mr. Fenton did not cite, but which were more cogent than that with which he professed to set aside the Maori claims. Kemp, as Commissioner for the Crown, made the Ngaitahu purchase. It was at his solicitation that the Maoris signed the Ngaitahu deed. Volenti non fit injuria. Even if the supreme authority of the treaty page 347 had not protected the Maori rights it could not be pleaded that the Crown was wronged by the presumed sale, which was the act of the Crown by its accredited officers. Nullus commodum capere potest de injuria sua propria. If the act was wrong the Crown could take no advantage of it. These were maxims not only of English but of more ancient jurisprudence, and ought to have made the Kaitorete judgment impossible. At the closing of the Court at Canterbury, the Judge, nevertheless, expressed his “recognition of the justice, which bordered on liberality, with which the Crown had met the claims of the natives.” Some cases had been dismissed; in some the Maoris were successful; in others it seems that the Crown avoided adverse judgment, for they are recorded as “withdrawn, the grant having been prepared in the claimant's name.”
1 After some days it was pleaded that the Church “had not had sufficient time to get together the evidence required,” and their case was adjourned sine die
The manner in which Mr. Hall fabricated the “order of reference,” in order to defeat Heremaia Mautai, would not, perhaps, have shocked the moral sense of the community if it had not jeopardized the release of the Government from further claims. Mr. Hall's equivocal act was not condemned, but it was found necessary to pass an Act “to remove doubts as to the sufficiency of a certain order of reference,”… signed “as by command and on behalf of the Governor.” It was enacted that it should be deemed as “valid and effectual to all intents and purposes as if the same had been made by and given under the hand of the Governor. The Act offered at the same time a crumb to the Maoris by providing that nothing in it or in the Orders of the Native Land Court should extinguish Maori claims in respect of promises of “schools, hospitals, and other advantages to induce (the natives) to consent to the sale of the said Ngaitahu block.” Otherwise, the Act extinguished all native title in Ngaitahu territory.
1 ‘A Campaign on the West Coast of New Zealand.’ Wanganui, New Zealand: 1866.
2 Colonel Weare's despatch (7th January, 1866) to the Deputy-Assistant Adjutant-General.
1 ‘A Campaign on the West Coast,’ &c.
2 N. Z. P. P. 1866; A. No. 8, p. 9
Chute could not find words to express his gratitude for Dr. Featherston's assistance in “sharing all dangers and privations,” and obtaining information which could not otherwise have been gained. The native contingent was praised. Hori Kingi te Anaua, Rangihiwinui, and Haimona, at all times merited his “warmest approbation.” Majors McDonell and Von Tempsky, and Ensign McDonell were highly commended, and Chute intended to report to England the “noble and gallant conduct of the whole of the troops engaged.” On the 13th February, the Governor told the Secretary of State that Chute had “displayed every quality of a great General.” On the 15th February, the Governor eulogized the General at a banquet. The ghost of the murdered prisoner did not rise to mar the festivities, and the General, we are told, “resumed his seat amidst continued cheers which lasted several minutes.” But though banished from that scene the miserable victim must be remembered in these pages. His death became known in England through a letter written by his captor, Colonel Weare, to his brother, a clergyman. “The General received me very coldly for taking this man alive after his intimation of ‘no prisoners.’ However, I told him I could not order my men to kill a man after he had thrown down his arms and surrendered.… The prisoner was taken to Kakaramea, and kept there till the 11th, on which page 355 morning the General left at 3 a.m.; and at 8 a.m. under instructions from the General, this prisoner was taken down to a gully, tied hand and foot, and then cruelly shot to death by some of the 50th.… I have written to the General to know if Captain—–1 had due authority and orders for this act, as otherwise we consider he has cast a stain on the name of the regiment.… Since the leaving of Sir Duncan, the true sentiments of the Governor and his Government have come out towards the Maoris in their urging General Chute on to all these atrocities of killing and no prisoners.” After denouncing wholesale confiscation of land, and narrating cruelties said to have been committed by the native allies, Colonel Weare hoped that “the degrading and brutalizing manner in which this war is now conducted may be known in England, and the troops no longer be allowed to be demoralized by the colonists for their sole selfishness.”
1 Though I know the name left blank in the published despatch, there is no object in making known the name of the unwilling executioner.
Another despatch proves that the shooting of the prisoner was not altogether unknown at the time, and that the Ministry at least were culpable in not instituting a rigid inquiry before the task was imposed upon them.
Sir George Grey wrote (13th June, 1866) that on seeing “a statement in a local newspaper that the troops under General Chute had shot a prisoner who was said to have been known to be the murderer of a soldier, I immediately called the attention of the Minister of Colonial Defence (Colonel Haultain) to the subject. He informed me that I might make my mind quite easy regarding it, because he had been informed that it had been intended to execute this prisoner, but the Superintendent of the province of Wellington (Dr. Featherston), who was present with the General, hearing what it was intended to do, spoke to the General on the subject, who immediately sent orders that the man's life should be spared. Since I have received your confidential despatch I have again spoken on this matter with the Minister for Colonial Defence, who tells me that he subsequently heard that the General's orders arrived too late, not page 357 reaching the place until the man was executed. This is all I know on the subject. My ignorance regarding it is undoubtedly to be attributed to the fact of the War Department receiving communications from their officers even of a confidential nature reflecting on myself without such communications having been made known to me, and to the system very naturally adopted by the military authorities in this country of making most meagre reports to myself of their proceedings, and refusing or neglecting to furnish me with copies of their reports to the Secretary of State for War.”
If Colonel Haultain deceived Sir George Grey, or was himself deceived in the first instance, no excuse can be found for his not prosecuting an inquiry as soon as the death of the prisoner was known. The grief of the officer who obeyed Chute's orders was no secret within or beyond the camp. Sir George Grey's failure to institute a searching inquiry as to the truth of the newspaper report somewhat mars his later remonstrances. The Minister who declared that he “subsequently heard” that the reprieving order arrived too late, would at once have reported the fact to the Governor, and compelled investigation, if he had not been an accomplice before the fact or ready to condone it. As for the General himself, there is no published allegation of his own that he desired to stay the execution, and as he left the camp shortly before the prisoner was shot, there is an air of improbability about the plea made for him. Colonel Weare, when called upon by General Chute to explain, expressed regret for some of his statements which he called camp rumours, not intended for publication. He disbelieved the rumours against the native allies to which he had given currency. As to the supposed order about prisoners, he was courageous enough to repeat: “I certainly myself understood that the Major-General did not wish prisoners.” He regretted having written his letters, and hoped the General “would consider them withdrawn.” By permission of the General he made the same request to the Governor. He regretted “having in a moment of great excitement given expression in a family letter to thoughts which had come hurriedly into his mind, and which he would not on more calm deliberation have felt himself justified in making or entertaining.” The Governor promised that as regarded Colonel Weare he page 358 would request that no further steps might be taken. At this date the charges were unpublished. But Sir George Grey's repulsion of them brought upon him the wrath of the new Colonial Secretary. The Earl of Carnarvon received the despatch addressed to Mr. Cardwell, and determined to flesh his bureaucratic sword upon the memorandum-writing proconsul. Admitting that the charges against the Governor were completely disposed of, he condemned the tone of the despatches disposing of them. Alleging that the Colonial Office had complied with the custom of requiring complaints against a Governor to be sent through himself, the Earl did not see how justice could have been more effectually secured. He professed sympathy with a Governor who thought himself “left without due protection from cruel and unfounded imputations;” admitted Sir George Grey's high character and public services; and told him that his minute to his Executive Council and despatch to Downing Street were so improper that the right course would be to withdraw them. “In this hope I now refrain from considering what would be the duty of Her Majesty's Government should you unfortunately come to a different conclusion.” The Governor did not accept the suggestion. His minute was the only recorded defence against charges standing against him in the Colonial Office. He could not withdraw it. It defended his Ministers as well as himself. He would not desert them. They had unanimously approved his minute and denounced the barbarities imputed to them. As for the language he had used, he could not detect any impropriety, but might be a wrong judge in his own case, and was willing to withdraw or apologize for any phrases improperly applied. He was willing to meet the common lot of men. Wantonly accused of having given effect to a wicked hatred of one class of the Queen's subjects, and having pressed the army of a great and merciful nation to commit shocking crimes, he had striven earnestly to do his duty to the Queen, to his office, to his reputation, to the Secretary of State, to his advisers, and his fellow-subjects in New Zealand. “On a point on which my future reputation rests, I ought to, and must, decide for myself; and I believe that hereafter it will be admitted (if not now) that the course I have taken was becoming to my office, to the great powers with which the Queen and page 359 nation had entrusted me, and to my own long services; and I still trust that your Lordship will concur in this view of the subject.” The Earl did not receive the Governor's defence. He was sensitive where his own honour was concerned, and, with Lord Cranborne and General Peel, quitted the Ministry when Mr. Disraeli, with the adroitness of a clown, abandoned the protestations of years, and changed front on the question of Electoral Reform before an audience which appreciated the grace and audacity of his acting.
1 In return to an Address of the House of Commons, its publication was elicited in 1869.
Sir George Bowen succeeded him in February, 1868. In that year for the first time were published the letters written to the Colonial Office by the Rev. Mr. Weare, attributing barbarities to the desire of the Colonial Government to have no prisoners. Accusations were contained which had never been made known to the Governor by the Colonial Office. Though then in private station, he promptly sailed to England to demand in person the inquiry which he had vainly asked from the Earl of Carnarvon in 1867, and which the Duke of Buckingham declined to grant in 1868. Rightly or wrongly he had the sympathy of the colonists. Arrayed against him were Earl Granville and the traditions of the War Office. His Ministry had joined him in his first protest against the charge of complicity with the killing of the prisoner. In August, 1867, the Legislative Council; in September the House of Representatives; had earnestly and unanimously addressed the Queen, defending Sir George Grey, and praying that the irregular reception of secret charges might be checked. Their Governor had been maligned. The indictment had revealed the butchery of a prisoner without trial by order of the General. The honour of England was stained. The Duke of Cambridge, at all events, would be guided by a sense of right and a soul of honour. The papers showed that all the facts had not been laid before him. But Earl Granville had no desire to permit the Commander-in-Chief to do justice. Behind a formal veil of politeness he was as obdurate as his predecessors. He would not re-open a question which, he averred, had been decided by competent authority. It was in vain that Sir George Grey, as the Queen's late representative in New Zealand (1866), asked the nature of the decision spoken of, and the authority by which it was pronounced. Those who work in the dark do not drag their deeds to light. Earl Granville cared little whether the Duke of Cambridge might be unjustly charged with the iniquity complained of. It would be forgotten amidst the pressure of new needs. All eyes in page 361 England were intent on the Irish Church. Net because of the alleged injustice of its grey existence, but because it was a party question, the disestablishment of the Church filled the political landscape. The ghost of a Maori could find no room there. Earl Granville improved on the proverb. If it be wise to let a sleeping dog lie, it must be wiser to avoid discussion about a dead Maori, though done to death by an English General. Discussion was objectionable, for though winked at, a foul wrong could not be openly defended in the English Parliament. The case must be strangled. It was unmannerly to bring a slovenly unhandsome corpse betwixt the wind and the Earl's nobility; and he was a fit functionary to reprove Sir George Grey as Hotspur was rated at Holmedon. After one or two supercilious evasions, he declared that he saw no advantage in prolonging the correspondence. It was, perhaps, thought advisable to draw no invidious distinction between a Cameron and a Chute. The first had been knighted, and it was decided to give the same honour to the second. The most notable feature in the conduct of the Secretaries of State was that whereas when Sir George Grey captured Weraroa new instructions were framed to prevent similar feats,—when inquiry was demanded as to the doing to death of a prisoner in cold blood, it was refused, although it was distinctly laid down in the Queen's Regulations that, in all cases of court-martial convictions, sentence of death was to be suspended, until approved, on Her Majesty's behalf, by the Governor. In the case reported by Colonel Weare there was not even a court-martial. If Earl Granville could have destroyed all evidence, his conduct might have been expedient, if not wise, in his own generation. As it was, he only linked himself with crime.
The Earl of Carnarvon succeeded in embittering the relations of the Colonial Office to Sir George Grey. The Governor left him, he said (Dec., 1866), “to learn from the newspapers affairs described by the colonial press as brilliant successes,” which, if impugned in England as merciless attacks upon unoffending persons, the despatches afforded no means of explaining. Sir George Grey furnished an explanation. He was hurt by the imputation; “the more so, in my own case, because I can assure you that your Lordship has written under an entire mistake, and page 362 that I have done nothing to merit the censure inflicted on me.” In July, 1867, the Earl, in the House of Lords, took occasion to express his “full satisfaction at the explanation,” and apologized, not to the Governor, but to his advisers. “I admit my error in this instance, and readily express my regret, because I think now that the words in question were not unreasonably open to complaint on the part of the Colonial Ministers.” In November, 1867, Sir George Grey, referring to the Earl of Carnarvon's speech, wrote (to the Duke of Buckingham, Secretary of State) that if those who were at the head of the Colonial or War Departments, misled by secret correspondence, required blind acquiescence in breach of law and regulations, he owed no obedience in such matters, but he owed a duty to the Queen and empire, and it was right to withstand those who committed violent acts, or supported others in them, with a will as strong as their own, not caring what consequences might fall on himself. The Colonial Office did not allow this protest to see the light until 1869.
While General Chute was marching to Taranaki with a detachment of the native contingent, the main body of that force was left to shoot and to destroy in the Wanganui district. Some of them were stationed at Pipiriki, from which a garrison of the 57th Regiment had been withdrawn. Negotiations were set on foot with the hostile Maoris on the river. Pehi Turoa invited a discussion of terms of peace, and Mete Kingi, with 400 men, in 30 canoes gaily equipped, responded to the invitation. The Hau Haus kept faith. After war-dances, speeches, and feasting, it was resolved that perpetual peace should be maintained on the Wanganui river, but that the men of the coast and the men of the mountains should be free to fight, as they listed, elsewhere. In other districts many chiefs declared allegiance to the Queen. At Lake Taupo, where Mr. Meade was so ill received in 1865, all war was at an end, and many leading men volunteered to assist in maintaining order in 1866.
Sir George Grey wrote (February, 1866) warmly in praise of the west coast campaign, and in compliance with request of chiefs determined to visit the interior. His arrival at Napier induced the Hau Haus to surrender their flags, and take the oath of allegiance under the guidance of Te Hapuku and his page 363 brother, who thenceforward discountenanced Hau Hauism. Wairoa, Turanga, Waiapu, and Opotiki were tranquil. At Maketu the gallant Arawa waited to receive and to accompany the Governor. There also he received a message from Te Heu Heu, who, with the chief next in rank to himself, was prepared to submit. They were almost the only chiefs known to be in arms against the Queen, and in the end of March they also submitted, and agreed to accompany the Governor in his progress. At Tauranga there was trouble. The arrangement made by Sir G. Grey in 1864, after the defeat at Te Ranga, was in danger. Unsurrendered rebels protested against it. Those who had agreed to it seemed discontented. A meeting was held, and the Governor's eloquence prevailed. The chiefs thenceforward assisted in carrying out the arrangements. At Hamilton, on the Waikato river, he had an interview with Te Waharoa, on the 1st May. Rewi, he learned, was at Hangatiki, determined never to look upon European face again. The Governor persuaded Te Waharoa to visit Wellington at the next meeting of the General Assembly to give information on Maori affairs. The island was at peace. The Hau Hau fanaticism was not abandoned by all; but its founder, Te Ua, had renounced it as a delusion under which he had fancied himself inspired. He himself attended the service of the Church of England on board of H.M.S. ‘Eclipse,’ while his former proselytes worshipped around the Pai Marire staff in Maori villages.
Some of these tidings were acknowledged by Mr. Cardwell, but in June, 1866, he was translated to the War Office, and the Earl of Carnarvon ruled in Downing Street. It was not probable that Sir George Grey would receive sympathy. The fact conformed to the probability. The several accessions of the Duke of Buckingham and Earl Granville produced no change. Secretaries of State were weary of Sir George Grey. They suffered from what Mr. Fitzgerald had called the prevailing “Memorandummiad” in New Zealand.
1 Mr. Stafford drew up a minute to accompany the Acts of 1865. Briefly but significantly it mentioned that proceedings commenced and threatened against persons, military and civil, necessitated the passing of the Indemnity Act.
1 Act No. 39; 10th October, 1867.
1 Mr. Weld was ill at the time. The Under-Secretary, Gisborne, drafted the minute. Mr. Weld was loth to appropriate as his own, another man's production, and wished Mr. Gisborne to sign it, but yielded to the argument that as the minute was to be sent to England it should bear a Minister's name. At the present time it is permissible to record Mr. Weld's fine feeling.
1 Mr. Cardwell (26th April, 1866) read Sir W. Martin's letter with great interest, and doubted not that the “forethought exhibited” would secure for it the consideration it “eminently deserved.” But Her Majesty's Government were “not of opinion that the Home Government could profitably assume that responsibility, or require that delay to occur which would be involved in Sir W. Martin's proposal that Acts affecting the natives should be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure.” But the Constitution Act of 1852 (15 and 16 Vict. cap. 72) distinctly preserved a power for the Crown to guard the natives from wrong; and the Queen was pledged to the treaty of Waitangi.
Early in the session (9th August), Mr. Graham presented a petition from Waharoa, praying that a Commissioner might be appointed to investigate the cause of the war. Mr. Brodie had a notice on the paper condemning the receipt of communications or petitions from natives in rebellion, and Mr. Graham's motion for the reception of the petition was discussed. Mr. Brodie (9th August) denounced its reception, and reprobated Mr. Graham's communications with the rebel chief or rebel race. Mr. Weld entreated the House not to repel the Maori when there was a glimmering of brighter days. Though the language of the petition might be irregular, surely it might be borne with. At least, let the House, “before striking, listen.” Mr. Fitzgerald supported the reception of the petition. When it spoke of Rangiriri as a murder, its language was poetical. Mr. Stafford thought it would be a grievous error to make the petitioner think that Maoris had “nothing to expect from the sympathy or justice” of the House. Mr. Brodie's motion was lost, on division, by 16 votes against 2. On the following day the petition was received. Waharoa's words were heard. “Mr. Fox and his friends have written to Queen Victoria words damaging to my reputation, hence my desire that the whole matter may be seen into, so that it may be found who is right, and who it is that is wrong. Let it be for the law to determine. I agree that some Englishman be appointed as arbitrator—that is to say, if he is an Englishman of good principles, single-hearted, God-fearing, and fearful of doing wrong. I consent to point out an arbitrator.” He would name Sir George Arney, the English Chief Justice. He would abide by the arbitration of any one chosen by the Queen. He recited his efforts for peace. “Did the law protect page 373 Te Rangitake and Waitara? Did a law protect us, our lands and property, at that time? Were the Europeans whom the Governor sent to this island—Europeans who drink spirits, curse, speak evilly, who make light of those in authority,—were these a law? Then did I say, Let me set up my king, for we do not approve of the law. But now, O friends, the law of the Queen is the law to protect my king and the whole people also.”…
Sixteen members voted against the reception of a letter called a petition written by Te Waharoa, in April, before his submission. In it he denounced the conduct of the war. “Look also,—Maoris have been burnt alive in their dwelling-houses.” From a Maori point of view, he argued that the war in Waikato had been unjust. Twenty-seven members decided to receive this document also, and among them were the influential names of Messrs. Dillon Bell, Carleton, Domett, Fitzgerald, Fitzherbert, Graham, Colonel Haultain, Monro, Sewell, Stafford, and Weld. But though they had qualms of conscience with regard to the treatment accorded to Te Waharoa, neither they nor any men in power in New Zealand ever would consent to submit to arbitrament of reason or law the questions he propounded. Nevertheless, something was gained in the cessation of violence. Amongst other proofs of confidence, returns were laid before the Assembly, showing that the number of grants from the Crown to Maoris was rapidly increasing. More than a hundred were in course of preparation at Canterbury alone. It was but a beginning; nevertheless, with cautious kindness on the part of the Government, much might flow from it.
A complicated dispute about a block of land at Manawatu was vainly thought settled to the satisfaction of the natives. The Ngatiraukawa and Rangitane tribes on one side, the Ngatiapa on the other, had almost been at war. Dr. Featherston interposed, and battle was averted in 1865, but the dispute was to be a cause of future dangers. On the 9th August, Mr. Fitzgerald presented a petition from natives at Otaki. They hailed a suggestion made to them by him, and asked that Maoris might sit in the General Assembly. Subsequently the same tribe petitioned that the Maoris might elect representatives to sit on the Commission to be appointed under the Native page 374 Commission Act. Mr. G. Graham vainly endeavoured to incorporate with a general Representation Bill special provision for conferring the elective franchise on Maoris. Mr. Fitzgerald had at the time a notice on the table to provide for special Maori government in the northern districts, but the House was satisfied with neither proposal. Mr. Vogel became the mouth-piece of malcontents, and moved, on the 12th September, that the House had no confidence in the Native Minister (who was thus attracting the goodwill of Maoris), but the motion was negatived without a division. After the retirement of the Weld Ministry, in October, another proposal by Mr. Vogel was brought forward. Each province was to preserve order, subdue its own Maoris, and “enjoy the proceeds of the confiscated lands” it might take from the natives. After discussion this premium for robbery was withdrawn.
When (2nd September) the proclamation of peace was issued, Mr. Colenso made (14th September) a motion condemning omissions from the list of the unpardoned; but in a fuller House the resolution was rescinded on the motion of Mr. Weld. The Prince's Street reserve at Dunedin was the occasion of his losing friends. Mr. Mantell, it may be remembered, had denounced the attempts made to break faith with the beneficiaries under the reserve. Mr. Weld (on an Otago Native Reserves Bill) voted on the side of justice. He was warned that he would lose supporters, and he lost them. Yet the amendment which the majority rejected, and the Government supported, sought to refer the matter to the Supreme Court. When Mr. Fitzgerald tried to introduce a Bill to authorize suitable government in Maori provinces in the Northern Island, the question was shelved for six months, and the Government was evidently failing in strength. Mr. Fox had resigned his seat in May, declaring that it was useless to strive to do good while Sir George Grey was Governor. But though freed from the opposition of Mr. Fox, the Ministry was unsafe. Mr. Stafford was on the watch to overthrow it. Mr. Vogel, in September, on a motion adverse to the financial policy, had found a large following in objecting to fresh taxation until a new Parliament could be convened. He said in a pamphlet, that New Zealand “traded on its weakness in asking England for help.” The ‘Wellington Independent’ called his statement page 375 “a slander worthy of its author.” The propositions of the Treasurer, Mr. Fitzherbert, involved an expenditure of more than £1,500,000. Increase of customs duties and imposition of stamp duties were asked for. It was proposed to repeal the Surplus Revenue Act of 1858, under which sums were disbursed to the provinces; and to give aid, if at all, by annual votes. Each province enjoyed by law the whole of its territorial revenue. But to encroach on provincial privileges was dangerous, and murmurs loud and deep abounded amongst the members. It was resolved to fight to the last against the encroachment. The strife culminated in October. The Surplus Revenu Repeal Bill awaited a second reading. The Stamp Duties Resolutions had, on the 27th September, been carried by a bare majority in a house of 42 members. On the 10th October, the Government referred them back to the Committee of Ways and Means, but only succeeded in doing so by the aid of the Speaker's casting vote, in a house of 40 members. Provincial jealousy diminished the scanty adherents of Mr. Weld still more on the 11th October, when, on a motion by Mr. Vogel,—”that in the distribution of the provincial revenue the stamp duties be placed on the same footing as the customs duties” (of which three-eighths fell to the share of the provinces), the Treasurer had only 16 supporters. Though the Speaker, on constitutional grounds, gave his casting-vote against a resolution which, without a recommendation from the Crown, appropriated revenue by anticipation, Mr. Weld accepted the result as a practical defeat. He had declared that the question was vital, and the division indicated an absence of “that hearty support which would alone justify” Ministers in adhering to their responsibility in the critical condition of affairs, and which would guarantee success in their “policy of self-reliance and self-defence.” To the Governor he expressed their “deep sense of the cordial co-operation always afforded them during their term of office.” In the name of the provinces, which he was afterwards to be the chief means of destroying, Mr. Vogel extinguished Mr. Weld. But as yet he was pulling chesnuts out of the fire for others. Mr. Stafford carried off the spoils. Mr. Weld's friends vainly entreated him to remain in office. Public meetings were held, and there was general discontent at the prospect of a Stafford Administration page 376 Some to whom he applied for assistance declined to serve with him. Mr. Crosbie Ward, an old colleague of Mr. Domett (although in controversy with Mr. Weld at the time), was proof against all entreaties, and Mr. Stafford was fain to patch up a Ministry in which he held three offices, while Messrs. Haultain, Russell, and Paterson, held the remainder. The Representatives deemed themselves entrapped into sanctioning an Administration controlled by Mr. Stafford.
1 Published in the London ‘Times,’ 20th December, 1865.
1 Mr. Fitzgerald can hardly be blamed for not foreseeing the violence done and the justice denied to Maoris by the New Zealand Government in 1831–2.
1 Mr. Fitzgerald said: (Had our Native Lands Acts been) “law during the Waitara purchase,—if Te Rangitake could have gone to the Supreme Court to try his case, there would have been no need of war. We should have saved millions of money.” (The meeting cheered him.) But the lives!
Separation of the islands into two colonies had been seriously discussed. In September, Mr. Russell moved that existing liabilities should be equitably adjusted, and Cook's Strait be made a boundary between two separate colonies. Mr. Weld opposed, and the motion was rejected by 31 votes against 17. From Auckland a petition to the Queen signed by nearly all the European settlers had prayed that a separate colony might be created there. The Weld Ministry strenuously opposed this project, and sent a counter-petition from Hawke's Bay where the inhabitants unanimously differed from their Auckland brethren. Sir George Grey had hinted that some arrangement by which the Imperial Government could exercise control over native affairs in the north until a reconciliation could be effected between the two races seemed essential. His advisers did not agree with him. The north was ill-pleased with the results of the session of 1865. The Provincial Council protested against the new Electoral Act which gave a majority to the south in the House of Representatives. A similar majority existed in the Council. Auckland prayed that it might “no longer be subject to southern legislation.” The southern colonists were “practically not liable to military service,” not exposed to danger, and being “ignorant of native affairs,” might afflict the north with war. Mr. Whitaker, elected Superintendent of the province in 1866, sent a special petition to the Queen at a later date, but Mr. Stafford was as hostile as his predecessor, and Mr. Cardwell held out no hope to the Provincial Council. In a tone almost complaining he said it was “no easy task to retrace the steps” deliberately taken in establishing the existing Government. An ineptitude, rare in his despatches, suggested that local legislation might meet the emergency. Auckland was like a lamb remitted to question with the wolf. The English lion was weary of blunders some of which were his own. No folly is more conspicuous than his who thinks that power over other men's fortunes will willingly be resigned. Yet men continually hug the belief that they can hoodwink crowds, and seduce them into acts which would be like loosening the fastened fangs of a page 380 wild beast. The north was powerless. But the south was only entering upon the heritage which numbers gave it. It complained that it was dragged behind the car of Auckland necessities. In an elaborate address to his Dunedin constituents in 1866, Major Richardson (Mr. Weld's recent colleague) declared: “The fact is that the south has been bound over hand and foot to colonize Auckland.” The expectant south had not long to wait.
1 Mr. Vogel, in December, 1865, proposed a characteristic plan for dealing with “the magnificent land acquired from the natives”; viz. to submit to a lottery a million of acres, valued at £2 an acre. There were to be 6121 lots, varying from one of 100,000 acres to 4200 of 50 acres. The profits of the raffle were to be expended on immigration, and 18,870 steerage and 170 cabin passengers were expected. “Winners of land not using their privileges” within a time to be stated were to forfeit them. Though the plan reeked of an atmosphere to be found between Shoreditch and White-chapel, the immigrants were to be moral, the “settlements model,” and no difficulties were anticipated with the Maoris.
1 Only sums exceeding £1000 are included in these figures.
Early in 1866 writs for election of a new House of Representatives were issued by the Governor. The old names notable in New Zealand reappeared among the three-score-and-ten members, on the 30th June. Sir David Monro, member for Cheviot, again became Speaker. The questions of war and finance pervaded the Governor's speech. Disturbance was almost at an end. Remnants only of hostile bands were at large on the west coast. Some of the ringleaders captured had been “temporarily removed, in 1866, to the Chatham Islands,” and “the hope of return was held out to them as soon as the page 384 suppression of the rebellion and their own good conduct might seem to justify the Government in restoring them to their homes.”1 Murderers had been dealt with by the ordinary tribunals. The majority of the captives had been restored to liberty. The troops were in course of removal, and there were districts for which the Assembly would have to provide force sufficient to maintain Her Majesty's authority. It had been found necessary to appoint a Commission to report on the Civil Service. The tariff was to be revised, and stamp duties—the test which had been fatal to Mr. Weld—were to be imposed. Several new members had been appointed in the Legislative Council, which was thereby enlarged to thirty-five members. With a few amendments in the Council, and with none in the Lower House, the friends of the Ministry carried addresses in reply to the Governor's speech, and Mr. Stafford was firmly seated if not entirely trusted. His manœuvres in 1865, and his assumption of virtue in not having overborne, by new creations, the majority in the Council, were not forgotten. Colonel Whitmore carried, without a division, a resolution that the number of members in the Council ought not to exceed thirty-eight, with a proviso that once, nevertheless, during a session two additional members might be appointed to represent a Government. Subsequent vacancies by death or otherwise were not to be filled up, except to maintain the normal number. A Bill to give effect to this resolution was passed, and sent to the other House. There it encountered the jealousy which springs from self-worship. Though read a second time it was strangled in Committee; a majority, which in justice to the House must be admitted to contain no names of repute, determining to report progress without asking leave to sit again. A ludicrous proposition was made by Mr. Vogel, viz. that after repeated disagreement about a measure, the Governor might summon to the Council the Representatives, who were to be competent to pass the disputed measure—but to be otherwise powerless when seated amongst their victims.
There was warrant for Colonel Whitmore's caution. Already Sir John Young (afterwards Lord Lisgar) had, in 1861, consented to overbear the Legislative Council in Sydney by a wholesale creation of members. Circumstances over which neither he nor his Ministers had control doomed his disorderly procedure to failure, but with the rapidity with which discreditable doings in one colony are proverbially heralded in another, the daring act attempted in New South Wales had been bruited in New Zealand, and it was natural that securities should be demanded against similar violence. That they could not, even in placid times of legislation, be obtained, furnished a warning to all who are inclined in weak moments to subject themselves to the possible tyranny of others. Mr. Stafford was not confronted by serious opposition in the Council; but on the 15th August the Representatives, by 47 votes against 14, resolved that his Ministry did not possess their confidence. He was less sensitive than his predecessor, and being again entrusted with the task of forming a Ministry, resorted to the device of securing Mr. Fitzherbert as Treasurer on the 24th August, 1866. Nor was Mr. Weld's Treasurer the only one of Mr. Weld's colleagues who enlisted under Mr. Stafford. Major J. L. C. Richardson and Mr. J. C. Richmond accompanied him in his return to the piebald Ministry which Mr. Stafford thus created, and which contained active members of the conspiracy which defrauded the Maoris of their reserve at Dunedin. A former colleague of Mr. Weld was still discontented with the guidance of Mr. Stafford. On the 24th September, Mr. Fitzgerald moved resolutions which, while reaffirming the resolutions of December, 1864, on the duty of the colony as to internal defence, declared that the whole of page 386 the military should be under the control of the Civil Government, and that its duties ought not to be measured by the amount of military force which the Home Government might choose to maintain in the colony. Mr. Stafford having added words to the effect that the House was prepared “to provide sufficient means for defence,” the resolutions were shelved by 30 votes against 21, the Government voting in the minority, while Mr. Whitaker, Dr. Featherston, and Mr. Crosbie Ward were in the majority.
It was no Pharaoh who had bound the colonists to their task; but it was not made easier for them because self-imposed. They had determined to make bricks without straw, and were aghast at the work they had to do. Thus it was that they could not speak intelligibly on Mr. Fitzgerald's resolution. Similarly when Mr. Whitaker, earlier in the session, proposed resolutions for remodelling the government of Auckland, the Representatives went into Committee upon them, and went out again—agreeing upon nothing. After a week of futile discussion the Speaker resumed the chair. Two financial statements were made within one month. Mr. Jollie, who had become Treasurer in June, made a statement on the 8th August. A vote of want of confidence, moved by Mr. Moorhouse, the Superintendent of Canterbury, was passed on the 15th by a large majority. Mr. Stafford, to propitiate the House, made room in the Ministry for three of the gentlemen whom he had driven from office a few months previously. Mr. Fitzherbert, having reassumed the control of the Treasury, made his financial statement on the 5th September. Some reduction of expenditure was proposed, and the maintenance of an armed constabulary rather than a rudimentary army was declared to be the policy of the reconstructed Government. Mr. Fitzherbert did not propose to deal in 1866 with his former stumbling-block—The Surplus Revenue Act—but hinted that in a future session, the partnership in revenue between the General and Provincial Government would require to be dealt with. The provincial share (three-eighths) of the Customs revenue was estimated at £318,750. Three days before the session was closed, Mr. Jollie proposed a reduction, but failed to convince his fellow-members. A Stamp Duties Bill was passed, and was expected to produce £50,000 a-year.page 387
The confiscated lands were made a subject of inquiry early in the session, on the motion of Colonel Haultain, the Minister for Colonial Defence. A Select Committee reported that in Taranaki, 1,144,300 acres; in Wellington, 200,000 acres; in Auckland, 1,911,437 acres, had been confiscated. Though instructed to report upon “the best mode of disposing of land available for settlement,” they refrained from doing so. The computation of the extent and value of lands at Waikato was intricate and complex, and at Waikato and Tauranga the lands had on certain terms been handed over to the Provincial Government. At Opotiki, though 480,000 acres had been seized, about half must be restored to the Maoris, of whom about half had remained loyal; and, deducting 25,000 acres for military settlers, and assuming much to be unavailable for settlement, there would remain about 25,000 acres of choice land to be disposed of.1
1 In 1867 a return showed that 87,000 acres at Opotiki were given to the gallant Arawa tribe who had fought for the English. The Crown Agent reported of 58,000 acres,—”Act not enforced.” Of 96,000 acres “given back to rebels,” he said: “The giving back is but nominal, for the natives would not have given it up. But I was required to make the best arrangement I could.” The balance in the hands of the Government, in June, 1867, was 151,000 acres.—N. Z. P. P. 1867; A. No. 18. In the same return Mr. Parris reported that to the hero of Waitara, Te Rangitake, had been restored 25 acres in the Waitara township. In the Taranaki district loyal natives had received 134,000 acres; military settlers, 106,000; rebel natives, 33,000.
The vain striving of an aboriginal race against the vices which accompany European civilization found a faint echo in a petition from six members of the Arawa tribe, who prayed that a house for the sale of spirituous liquors might not be “suffered to be page 389 established within the Arawa territories.” The effort to confer electoral privileges and representation on the Maoris found no record in the Statute-book of 1866; but some of the earnest-minded were labouring to bring about a consummation so devoutly to be desired, as the acceptance by the natives of the rights of British subjects after they had been deprived at the point of the bayonet of their own. But the Assembly was not idle. In three months no less than 92 Acts were passed. The Settlements Act was again amended. The Native Lands Act of 1865 was supplemented. Waste Lands Acts for Otago, Canterbury, and Auckland gave powers to the provinces in dealing with lands. Various enactments dealt with Treasury bills, and with provincial debts. The Wellington Land Purchase Loan Sanction Act sanctioned a loan to the Wellington province to enable it to purchase from Maoris, at a cost of £25,000, the Manawatu block, the titles to which had long been and were to continue in dispute. Gold-fields, Civil Service, distillation, carriers, inn-keepers, oyster fisheries, registration of electors, and various other persons and subjects furnished titles of Acts, some of which, as usual in self-governing colonies, were almost verbal transcripts of Imperial statutes.
Te Waharoa, after his long estrangement from the English, must have pondered long over the restless activity of the members of that which his countrymen had called “the English Committee.” No subject seemed too large for its power, nothing too small for its notice. With English blood and treasure, and the help of native allies, the hostile Maoris had been put down. The thoughtful chieftain must have speculated whether the repugnance to tradition and rude want of reverence, which characterized the Representatives, might not in the end lead them to trample on the authority of the Queen. Already some of the early servants of the voracious New Zealand Company had been in power. One of them, Mr. Fox, had been chief Minister in 1861, and in 1863, with a fellow-lawyer, Whitaker, had made demands of confiscation which the exile of whole tribes would not have satiated. Then, the Governor and Mr. Cardwell had campelled Mr. Fox to yield; but in 1866 a new order of things had arisen. Mr. Stafford, the head of the Ministry which brought about the great injustice of Waitara, was again page 390 in power. The enemies of the Maori seemed ever able to crawl into office. In published despatches and speeches in England it had been confessed that Her Majesty's Ministers disapproved of much of the confiscation policy which they shrunk from restraining. Te Waharoa was familiar with Scripture, and was now brought face to face with a rod which was thus swallowing up its opponents. Old Maoria was passing away. The “korero” of tribes had ceased to be a power in the land. The Parliament of the Pakeha had become, if not an object of respect, an irresistible engine for good or evil. Te Waharoa went back to his own place, whither most of his tribe had been permitted to return, and died in a few months. His friends said he was broken-hearted. His detractors looked upon his death only as the fall of an additional leaf from the tree which civilization was with propriety destroying. Honourable, kind, peaceful, and Christian, he had yearned for the happiness of his people. He had striven with equal honesty against the inexorable Rewi and the machinations and injustice of English colonists. He had been maligned on both sides. After Rangiriri he had laboured for peace. In Maori manner, he sent the General a token of submission—his mĕrĕ. But for the vanity of Mr. Fox, perhaps peace might then have been secured. When General Cameron's overwhelming forces marched up the valley of the Waikato, the baffled king-maker retreated from stronghold to stronghold, finding no refuge, and bitterly complaining that professing Christians burned women and children in Maori whares at Rangiaohia. “Leave it to be for England,” he said, “to adopt the putrefactions of my ancestors, viz. killing women and children, and burning people alive in their sleeping-houses. The Maori people assented to me, and what I said to them.” It was long before he could see a way of reconciliation. The recurrence of the Hau Hau fanatics to the wild orgies in which cannibalism was not a cruelty, but a rite, was soon followed by his submission.
Sir George Grey did what he could to smooth the way. The tidings of the death of the chief caused one of those kindly messages which have often touched the hearts of Englishmen. “The Queen desires that his tribe may be made aware that she laments the loss which they have sustained. She hopes that the example of his self-control, and the wise advice which he has page 391 bequeathed to them, will lead them to forget the contest which is past, and to unite with their European fellow-subjects in those peaceful pursuits which will best ensure their own comfort and improvement, and promote the prosperity of their common country.” Such a message was worthy to be the chieftain's epitaph. The friend of mankind will part with the noble career of Te Waharoa with admiration and regret. Amongst the many actors in stirring times, on him no reproach can truly be cast From the time when, as Tarapipipi, in 1844, he enforced restitution at Remuera, until he died, receiving such tardy assistance and comfort as Sir George Grey's Government afforded him, he is seen as the embodiment of Christian virtue in a Maori nobleman. He failed to redress his country's wrongs; but, it may be, that success was impossible. After the Duke of Newcastle had sanctioned the robbery at Waitara, it could hardly be hoped for. Te Waharoa's example, nevertheless, justified the grant of representation of the Maori race, which Sir G. Grey lived to see accomplished, albeit scantily, in 1867. The enemies of Te Waharoa strove to assail his character by citing the letter in which he announced that the invasion of Waikato compelled him to arm in self-defence, and by asserting that he subsequently joined the Hau Hau fanaticism. His letter seemed to imply that he would not spare the unarmed; but no deed of his conformed to the letter. On the contrary, wherever his influence was great, chivalrous courtesy to the wounded, as at the Gate Pah, prevailed. In a pamphlet published by Mr. Sewell in 1864 (in Auckland), the author stated that he had been assured by Archdeacon Brown that the expression in the letter was “idiomatic, and that the meaning intended to be conveyed was this: ‘I have determined to join the war-party. I am going to fight. The native practice in war is to spare neither unarmed people nor property. You therefore are in danger, and I warn you to go.’” During Waharoa's last illness no Pai Marire ceremony was tolerated near him. He ever carried with him his Bible; and, so long as he had strength, he read it. When moved from place to place, his tribe as they raised him prayed thus: “Almighty God, we beseech Thee to give strength to Te Waharoa while we remove him from this place. If it please Thee, restore him again to perfect strength; if that is not Thy page 392 will, take him, we beseech Thee, to Heaven.” In fine, when Te Oriori asked, “What shall I do, and the Maoris, your children, when you are dead?” the dying chief, with the Bible in his hand, replied: “You must stand by the Government and the law; if there be any evil in the land, the law will make it right.” It could not be said that his peaceful and pious professions were born of weakness. He had ever shown the same tendency. His father, though he invited missionaries to his territory, abandoned none of the ferocity of the national cult. But it was otherwise with the future king-maker. He had no love for the ways of his ancestors, and grieved his father by shrinking from them. When a missionary was robbed, he followed the robbers, stripped them of their booty, and gave it back to its owner. When he was baptized he declared that he would no more join in war, and he resisted the entreaties of the wilder spirits, who pressed him to lead them in battle. At a great meeting he harangued them with the New Testament in his hand, and his counsels then prevailed. But he did not convert them all, and thought fit to establish for his Christian brethren a separate pah where 400 assembled. On one of the posts of the chapel was a code of regulations in his handwriting, for the government of his Christian community. His restitution of the property seized by his countrymen returning from Remuera in 1844 has been told. His determination not to go to war was pursued, through evil report and good report, until General Cameron crossed the Maungatawhiri. “I am now absolved from my promise,” he said, “for this is a war of defence.” It is vain to wish that all English Secretaries of State, Governors, and Colonial Ministers had had the earnest piety and sense of justice which finally enabled Te Waharoa to stand before his Maker, as a good man who had run his course faithfully in the troublous career forced upon him by the crimes of others.
The New Zealand Government, in 1866, while deprecating the attitude of the troops, expressed a high sense of the value of the naval force. In October, a unanimous vote of thanks to the retiring Commodore was passed by the Representatives, echoed by the Ministry, and applauded by the Governor. After his march to Taranaki, General Chute, pleading instructions from the War Office, refused to move his head-quarters from Auck- page 393 land to Wellington, though repeatedly urged to do so. There were rumours of a Maori rising in October, 1866, but he could see no object in absenting himself from Auckland, where “the usual and regular duties” of his command could “be best conducted.” He complained that the Governor would not reply to his letters asking for instructions as to the posts at which the military were to be stationed, and Sir George Grey curtly told him that, if all the troops were to be withdrawn from the outposts to the chief towns, he concurred with his advisers that the troops would be useless to the colony, and he ought not to express any acquiescence with such an arrangement.
The reports of the Commissary-General in the end of 1866 fanned the flames of discontent. He condemned the use of troops in defending confiscated lands, and urged the withdrawal of Imperial aid. As usual, despatches and counter-despatches were multiplied till they filled volumes of blue-books. Secretaries of State were never tired of repeating that the troops should be withdrawn, and Mr. Stafford (16th May, 1867) declared that the Ministry acquiesced in the withdrawal, because the military had been perverted into instruments for defaming the character of the colony, and the commanding officer had been made independent of the constitutional control of the Governor. Even the withdrawal, however, had been effected “in a manner calculated still further to engender animosity, to inspire the disloyal natives with revived hopes, and the loyal with distrust.” To such a pass had England brought the land of the Maoris by subjecting them to the caprice of the heirs of the New Zealand Company. While Lord Stanley and Sir Robert Peel were in power the honour of England had been safe. From neither of them could have been expected the sanction given by the Duke of Newcastle to Colonel Browne's unjust conduct at Waitara. By neither of them could have been approved the abandonment of England's duty towards the Maori race. Without any evil intention, successive Ministries had subscribed to violations of the letter and spirit of the Waitangi treaty, and basely striven to hide their shortcomings by slinking from the field of action or endeavouring to stifle discussion. All their deeds had become evil when they shrunk from adhering to a just principle. Mr. Cardwell's vigorous tone as to treatment of prisoners cast a page 394 momentary gleam upon Downing Street, but, under his successors, the gloom in what Charles Buller called “sighing rooms” thickened again. There was no sympathy for anybody in New Zealand in that atmosphere. Nor was public intelligence aroused to create a virtue unengendered in Downing Street. With lazy immorality the ‘Times’ remarked in 1863 that unless the Maoris were “shortly reduced to submission, the savage race which has shown itself most capable of civilization would probably within a few years have ceased to exist.” In 1865 the same authority declared: “The Hau Hau fanatics will be at once extirpated, and it is not improbable that their countrymen will eventually share their fate.” In a few years the tone of the caterer for London's gossipers was to become more sprightly. “The simple fact that for every native known to be hostile to us, there was another native known to be friendly, ought surely to have guided us to the true military policy for the colony.… Every Maori has a natural taste for war, and this taste can easily be improved for our benefit.… By enlisting New Zealanders we should combine the martial instincts of the savage tribes with the skill, armaments, and organization of European armies.” On the justice of the case not a word was expected from the ‘Times,’ and not a word was said. What was wanted was to assist the Maori race to disappear.
Dark rumours were rife about a new uprising of hostile tribes in October, 1866. In March, a letter to the Queen, purporting to emanate from the Maori king, had been transmitted through the hands of a chaplain to the forces. Half defiant, half beseeching, it sounded the chords which had been struck by the Maori chiefs throughout the war. It asked that “a great Judge from England” might be sent to put an end to strife. Lord Carnarvon's answer was written in October. At that time the General Assembly had been prorogued, and the wilder spirits among the Maoris were craving for war. The intimation that petitioners must send their prayer through the Governor would have fallen on distracted ears if it had reached New Zealand before the outbreaks of the spring of 1866. A Maori friend warned the Government that at Hawaka, Tauranga, Waikato, Taranaki, Wanganui, Turanga, Whakatane, and the east coast generally, a rising had been planned. “The first intimation of page 395 it may be when the weapon has touched.” The perverse bravery of the Maoris was such that no certainty of final failure deterred them from plunging into an affray. They rejoiced in a present victory when they slew more than they lose. They brought to the beginning of a fight the craft of a conspirator with the fanaticism of a Malay. Confidence in the final result was no anodyne to the fears of colonists whose lives were in danger which stalked like a pestilence and might smite, no man knew where. At Napier the danger seemed most imminent. Hau Hau armed bands were encamped in October, 1866, at Omaranui, a few miles from the settlement. They had made no hostile demonstration, and had not molested the settlers, but Mr. Donald McLean, Superintendent of Hawke's Bay, called upon them to surrender their arms and go to their homes. Having laid his plans with Colonel Whitmore, he told them that if they should refuse to surrender within an hour, they would be attacked. As the colonial forces outnumbered fourfold the number of the presumed rebels it might have been supposed that they would yield. They were surrounded by about 200 militia and volunteers, and a like number of Maoris. They were in a Maori village which they had not fortified. They said they thought the time, one hour, rather short. Colonel Whitmore after two hours told them he would wait no longer. They said “there was no reason to do so as they meant to fight.” They fought for nearly an hour and a half. Their losses were considerable. When the majority surrendered, Nikora appeared to be the leader who induced them to do so. A majority endeavoured to escape across a swamp, but cavalry prevented them from gaining the hills. Colonel Whitmore reported in glowing terms the gallantry of the colonial and native forces. Three were killed and 13 wounded among the assailants. The Hau Haus did not hoist a flag of surrender till 23 had been killed and a like number wounded. Seventy-six prisoners were taken, and the conqueror reported, “Nearly all the turbulent spirits are now killed or taken.” The chiefs Tareha and Renata were conspicuous. “Tareha, with a sword alone in his hand, rushed among the enemy to stimulate his men.” Nine only of the enemy were unaccounted for, and it was not known whether they were “dead in the swamp, where they had been heavily page 396 fired upon,” or whether they had escaped. The peace of death had been enforced. Napier breathed freely. A newspaper declared the action, “the most brilliant affair of this guerilla war.” Lord Carnarvon upbraided Sir George Grey for not informing him that a new guerilla war had broken out, and when told that the newspaper included the action as part of all New Zealand warfare, gracefully apologized in the House of Lords to the Colonial Ministry for his charges against Sir George Grey. When an apology is unavoidable there is exquisite ineptitude in making it to the wrong person. Colonel McDonell on the west coast was distinguishing himself in a manner which at a later date demanded inquiry. He spoke the Maori language with fluency. Mr. Stafford's Defence Minister had ordered him in June to be vigorous in inducing (at Patea and Waingongoro) the surrender of the Hau Haus—the waifs and strays left by the army of General Chute. Mr. Parris was, through the agency of Te Ua (the repentant Hau Hau), labouring to procure their submission, but Colonel McDonell repudiated diplomatic triumphs. He ordered that certain chiefs should wait upon him. They did not attend. He construed their absence as a punishable act of rebellion, and on the Ist August, 1866, in the depth of night, with a large force, surprised an undefended village at Pokaikai, scattering its inmates, some of whom, though women, were bayoneted. A Maori woman deposed that one of the attacking party seized an ornament in her ear, and that when he could not tear it away he cut the ear with his knife and secured his booty. Her father and mother were shot. She was taken prisoner. She complained that it was wrong to attack the village while her husband, Natanahira, was absent to negotiate for peace with Mr. Parris. Colonel McDonell said, “Who is Mr. Parris? I am the person with whom peace should be made.” It was maintained by some, and denied by others, that some of the attacking force were drunk. Hori Kingi wrote to Sir George Grey. Mr. Parris was at the time at Wellington; Sir George Grey asked if he would go at once to the district where the outrage had occurred. The Ministers had an interview with Mr. Parris. He went to the district and was not wholly unsuccessful, though some Maoris would not be persuaded. The words of the woman whose father and mother were shot explained the cause of Maori page 397 distrust. The attack was made at “night; at midnight, when the people were asleep. The sleep was the sleep of fools, for the words of the Governor, sent through Te Ua, had lulled us. My children were lying around me in fancied security.” Subsequent treatment of the woman was not calculated to smooth the way to peace. Colonel McDonell wrote to the Defence Minister: “This morning I released Natanahira's wife and sent her to Otapawa with a letter to the rebels, telling them that if they do not immediately submit, I will carry fire and sword through the country, and give no rest by day or night. I have detained his child as a hostage.” Such an agent was condemned by his own words, and a commission of inquiry was afterwards appointed.1 McDonell requested (31st July) that Parris might be “instructed to cease to communicate with the rebel natives.” but the fumes of Pokaikai, and other villages, and the treatment of Natanahira's wife stunk even in Mr. Stafford's nostrils, and McDonell was desired (8th August) to conform to the instructions of Mr. Parris. On the 12th, he was fired at. On the 30th, Parris reported that the Warea natives refused to submit, and McDonell took the field again, suo more. If Parris had supped full of horrors the commander was free from morbid weakness.
1 Some years afterwards Major (become Colonel) McDonell published his own defence in pamphlet form. He stated that on the 3rd August, he “scoured the bush inland of Matutahi; found out and burnt two villages just located… This brought the natives to their senses, and on the 4th August they sent me a message suing for peace…” On the 7th, “I went into the bush with the native contingent, and met them at the site of a village named Ohangae, which had been burnt during General Chute's campaign. There we made peace.… That peace I could have firmly maintained even with the small force then under my command (he had previously applied for 500 more men), were it not for the suicidal course pursued by Mr. Commissioner Parris, to whose conduct must be attributed the subsequent hostility of the natives, and the frustration of all my plans.… All went on well, until in an evil hour, Mr. Parris, who had been to Wellington to earwig the Government, appeared amongst us.”
The Ngatiruanui hapu surprised at Pungarehu was that of Titokowaru and Toi. About a week afterwards a re-enforcement of Maoris from Wanganui arrived in McDonell's camp, and some of the enemy surrendered, saying that the whole of their people would do so, as soon as the subsidence of a freshet page 399 might enable them to cross the Waingongoro river. Toi himself, with 12 men, in a few days tendered his submission. McDonell refused to receive the submission of less than the whole tribe, and told Toi to go away. Toi complied, but six of his people remained. One of them was Katene. He had done his best for his people, he said, and was weary of the war which was destroying them. By degrees his own hapu, to the number of 70, including women and children, joined him Availing himself of Maori manners, McDonell employed Katene as a guide and soldier. The Te Umu pah was destroyed, but the enemy's scouts had given warning, and only two men were killed. A village named Popoia was to be attacked on the 18th October. Katene guided McDonell's force to it during the night, and having reached the edge of the forest unseen, advised a halt till daylight, as it was unwise to penetrate the forest in the darkness. For an hour or two his counsel was respected, but Captain W. McDonell became impatient, and induced his brother officers to discard Katene's counsel. In single file the force advanced on the narrow track, and suddenly, flashing through the gloom, sheets of flame on front and right showed that the foe was on the watch. Captain McDonell fell, severely wounded. The invaders knelt to avoid the bullets which flew over their heads. None could see friend or foe. A retreat ensued. At dawn the force emerged from the forest and the enemy fired volleys from their shelter. Enraged at the indignity, Winiata, of the Wanganui contingent, shouted: “Behold, a challenge! If nothing be done, we shall be disgraced. I go to defy them.” Stripping off his clothes, he dashed back towards the forest, and with insulting words and gestures dared the Hau Haus to fight him in the open space. He was fired at, but not struck. His old Maori comrades consoled themselves in the retreat by saying: “Never mind; the Hau Haus are beaten. They dared not to accept the challenge of Winiata.” The midnight attack upon Pungarehu had put the Maoris upon their guard. Sir George Grey visited the scene of action, and Colonel Rooke with some of his regiment (18th) on the 25th October accompanied McDonell's force. Again the enemy fired from an ambuscade, but the troops rushed forward, and Popoia was captured and burnt. One life was lost in the colonial force. Two Hau Haus were shot. A page 400 plot was laid for Titokowaru's fighting man, Te Waka. Katene was to entrap him in an ambuscade with the promise of a store of percussion-caps. Te Waka, greedy for ammunition, walked into the trap. As he approached the ambush, his treacherous guide, Katene, seized Te Waka's gun and called on his accomplices to fire. Te Waka relinquished his gun and with a bound reached a precipitous river-bank. Before he could hurl himself over the cliff a shot struck him, and with a convulsive spring he disappeared and was found dead at the river-side. Katene was asked why he seized the gun instead of the man. He replied: “You would have spared him. I wished him dead, for he had done me wrong.” McDonell made a vain attempt to surprise a pah, Tirotiromoana, on the 5th November. On the march it was noticed that Winiata, usually the foremost man, remained in the rear of his column. An officer asked the reason. He answered: “I dreamed last night that I was leading the advance as usual, and was killed from an ambush. I felt the bullet; it went in at one hip and out at the other.” The march was continued. A deep ravine was crossed. As the advance-guard mounted the opposite hill a volley was fired from an ambuscade, and a private (Economedes, a Greek) fell dead. Winiata rushed forward to examine the wound. It was as he had dreamed. “Look,” he shouted,—”this man is killed by the bullet I dreamed of. This is the first time he has led. On all other occasions I have done so. My dream has saved my life.”1
1 ‘Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand,’ p. 139. Lieutenant Gudgeon. Mr. Gudgeon adds: “After this incident no one doubted that Winiata had a very strong God of his own.”
1 Despatch, 28th December, 1866.
But still there lurked in men's minds, even in New Zealand, a suspicion that the occurrences at Pokaikai did not deserve the name of war. The Governor appointed (1868) a commission to inquire into “certain alleged acts of cruelty stated to have been committed” there. The conduct of the inquiry seemed to McDonell “incredible.” The charges had not been specified, and he had to find out from the “evidence what atrocities were being trumped up.” The attempt to “drag the ornament out of the ear of a native woman,” was proved, but McDonell's witnesses denied that it succeeded, and it was sworn that the culprit, a volunteer, was placed under arrest by McDonell. Two members of the commission, Mr. Cracroft Wilson and Mr. J. Cargill, drew up a report (August, 1868), highly favourable to McDonell, and declaring “that no wanton outrage was committed by any member of the enrolled force.” There was a protest by one member, Mr. George Graham. He curtly wrote: “I protest against this report.” He declared the attack on Pokaikai unnecessary, and that by unjustly lulling the natives into security while intending to attack them, McDonell had acted in a manner which might seriously complicate the relations of the Government with the tribe. McDonell averred that the sitting of the commission lowered his prestige in the eyes of the natives, and raised that of Titokowaru, who “commenced disturbances almost immediately after the close of this inquiry.” The motives of Titokowaru, and his deeds, must be told hereafter.
It may be mentioned that Sir George Grey in his explanation studiously avoided any allusion to the attack upon Pokaikai. page 403 He justified that upon Pungarehu on the ground that its inmates were amongst “the worst and most desperate characters in New Zealand,” and said that the “escape” (of McDonell's force) “was a very narrow one.”1
When the Earl of Carnarvon resigned office, in March, 1867, only one regiment, the 18th, had not been ordered to leave New Zealand. It was to be under the direction and control, but not under command, of the Queen's representative. Perhaps no other regiment was the subject of so much correspondence. In October, 1867, the Ministry wrote that they did not ask for its retention, and would not be responsible for any payments on account of it, but they recommended, and the Governor ordered, that the head-quarters and six companies should be stationed at Auckland, two companies at Taranaki, and two at Napier. The Earl of Carnarvon, hoping that Sir George Grey would recall his defence against Colonel's Weare's charges, had refrained from considering what the Government ought to do if Sir George Grey should decline to cancel his despatch. It has been seen that he declined. The Duke of Buckingham, in May, curtly acknowledged the lengthy despatch in which the refusal was couched. In June, replying to a despatch in which Sir George Grey represented that General Chute “allowed him to have no knowledge of the times at which or the routes by which troops were to be marched,” or temporarily massed, and that the Government was therefore unable to warn or act in concert with friendly or doubtful tribes, the Duke regretted the controversies which had so long existed between the Governor and officers in command, and wound up a short despatch with the words: “I shall then also be able to inform you of the appointment of your successor, and of the time at which he may be expected to arrive in the colony.”
1 Lord Carnarvon had not alluded to Pokaikai in direct terms, but Sir George Grey would have done more justice to his office by a comprehensive statement than by confining himself to the Pungarehu affair on the ground that “I can only guess, and I think rightly, that it is an affair which took place at Pungarehu.”
1 ‘Fortnightly Review,’ February, 1870. Mr. Merivale had been Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and was therefore an expert.
Earl Granville was Colonial Secretary when the despatches on the subject were laid before Parliament in July, 1869. It then appeared that of the address of the Council no notice was taken by the Duke of Buckingham, and that the despatch (23rd November, 1867), entered as a reply to the address of the Representatives, made no allusion to them or to their prayers, but curtly repeated to Sir George Grey an intimation already made (22nd August, 1867), that Sir George Bowen, the Governor of Queensland, had been appointed Governor of New Zealand. When the insolence of office descends to such petty insults, their reprobation becomes a duty untainted with the meanness of the things condemned. But the studied discourtesy which had been practised was to be partially, though disingenuously, disavowed by the Duke. On the 16th September, the New Zealand Ministers drew up a formal protest—against the subjection of a Governor to a subordinate military officer, as directed by the Earl of Carnarvon; against the rash disposition of troops made by General Chute without concert with the Government; against the conduct of the Imperial Government with respect to Colonel Weare's and other secret charges; and against the silencing of truth in the matter of the illegal killing of a prisoner without trial. As to the recall of the Governor, they recognized the absolute right of Her Majesty to recall and appoint Governors at pleasure, but they regretted that the despatch summarily recalling a Governor who had for 26 years rendered great services to the empire, contained not one word of explanation. “Ministers desire to express their sympathy with his Excellency at having been by so unusual a proceeding subjected to what appears to be a studied act of discourtesy; and they are unable to divest themselves of the belief that the recall of his Excellency has in a great measure resulted from the uncompromising manner in which he has upheld the constitutional position of the representative of the Crown; a position upon the due observance of which the rights and liberties of Her Majesty's subjects in New Zealand so greatly depend.”
Forced to say something, the Duke of Buckingham (28th December, 1867) made it as like to nothing as possible, but page 407 rounded off with a palpable equivocation. He had carefully examined the ministerial memorandum, but thought it neither necessary nor desirable to add to what he had written five months before in a despatch which contained no word about the slaughter of a Maori prisoner of war. As if the intelligence of colonists might be slighted with as much contempt as the life of a Maori, he added: “I may observe, however, that the intimation given for your convenience at the end of your term of office, that your successor would very shortly be appointed, seems to be mistaken for a premature recall.” Such an equivocation could not even deceive himself, but it asserted the hereditary right of a Grenville to blunder and to create disaffection amongst distant subjects of the Queen. Fortunately the Grenville of 1867 was less potent for evil than his namesake of 1776.
In acknowledging the formal despatch in which the Duke of Buckingham announced the appointment of Sir George Bowen, Sir George Grey wrote: “I request your Grace to be pleased to state to the Queen that I present my duty to Her Majesty, and in receiving this notification of my Sovereign's pleasure, I beg to be permitted humbly to represent to Her Majesty that in the year 1845, a rebellion prevailing in New Zealand, I was by Her Majesty's commands especially sent to this country, and that when I relinquished the Government in the year 1854 it was my happiness to leave it in a state of tranquillity and prosperity; that in the year 1861, a rebellion having again broken out in New Zealand, I was once more specially sent here; and that it is again my happiness upon being removed by your Grace's advice from this Government, to leave New Zealand in a state of tranquillity and returning prosperity, and that I humbly represent to Her Majesty that I desire to claim no merit for these circumstances, but rather to attribute them to the blessing of Divine Providence, and to the abilities and exertions of Her Majesty's subjects who have advised me and aided me in my duties; and further, that I humbly trust that the almost unanimous voice of Her Majesty's subjects in New Zealand, amongst whom I have laboured in Her Majesty's service, will satisfy Her Majesty that I have done my utmost to promote the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of this part of Her Majesty's page 408 possessions.” The Duke replied that this statement was evidently made under the misapprehension that Sir George was prematurely recalled, but he would “nevertheless lay the despatch before Her Majesty.” There were various ways of keeping his promise, and it may safely be assumed that he took no noble way. Lord Derby, whose generous instincts might have otherwise exercised influence, was in failing health, and on the point of resignation. An alien, except with the buskin, to English life, was about to succeed him, and a gracious Queen was never asked to grant distinction or express common thanks to one who had rendered no common services. No further despatch on the subject was laid before Parliament.
The session of 1867 was marked by the introduction of a Bill to confer partial representation on the Maori race. The Governor congratulated the Assembly on the re-establishment of peace generally throughout the North Island, in no part of which was “systematic hostility” to be expected again. During the recess he had made a journey, partly on foot, and traversed native districts previously deemed unsafe. “I everywhere found the embers of disaffection dying out, and I was received by the Maori population, even in districts recently in rebellion, in such a manner as to inspire confidence in the future peace of the country.” The Assembly met in July, and in August the Maori Representation Bill was brought in by Mr. McLean and Mr. Williamson. Mr. McLean proposed four members, and an attempt to reduce the number to two was defeated in Committee. On the 30th August, just after the despatch recalling Sir George Grey was laid before the Assembly, Mr. Reynolds (notorious for his activity in robbing the Maoris of their reserve at Dunedin) moved that the third reading of the Bill be postponed for six months, but only one “teller” was found on his side when a division was called for. In the Council the second reading was affirmed by 13 votes against 3, and amendments moved in Committee were successfully resisted; Colonel Whitmore's name being found, in each division, supporting the Bill, which was passed without amendment. An Act was also passed for the endowment of Maori education. The Native Lands Act was again amended, and one of its clauses enabled the Governor to refer the Manawatu land dispute to a Court. A Confiscated page 409 Lands Bill enlarged the powers of the Governor. Among nearly a hundred Bills, passed in three months, was one “to authorize a loan of £7,000,000 sterling for the purpose of converting and consolidating the public loans of New Zealand,” and a patriotic Maori might be pardoned for reflecting sadly that the lands which were chargeable to so vast an extent had been obtained for mere trifles; in many instances under cajolery, and in some by wrong and violence. More than £500,000 had fallen into the Colonial Treasury in 1866 from sales of land. The Loan Bill was amended in the Council. A conference failed to reconcile the Committees on the 4th October; but, on the 8th, a second conference was terminated by concession, and the amendments made by the Council were agreed to. By this measure various provincial loans were adopted as charges on the colony. A Public Debts Bill converted provincial into colonial securities. It was introduced late in the session, and was amended in the Council, but an important amendment was abandoned by that body after conference. Four members of the Council protested against the measure because it burdened the colony for the benefit of a few provincial creditors, and because the adoption of provincial debts by the colony bestowed an unjust boon on the bondholders,—the provincial bonds being in the market at a great discount as compared with the colonial. The Surplus Revenue Act was amended so as to relieve the northern provinces of some war liabilities, and Mr. Stafford thus strengthened himself in the House and the provinces at the expense of his consistency. At the latter end of the session he received so much support from Auckland members as to excite uncomplimentary remarks. Mr. Fitzherbert, the Treasurer (who also had been Treasurer to Mr. Weld), with candour which must have amused the House, reminded it that he had in four consecutive sessions made financial statements “not uninterruptedly, for the wisdom or fickleness of the New Zealand Parliament forbade such indulgence in the sweets of office.” Content with driving out Mr. Stafford's first Treasurer, the House could afford to see him financially controlled by the man who under Mr. Weld had been driven from office on a financial question. After many years, the overdraft at the Bank of New Zealand had been swept away. Income and expenditure were page 410 nearly balanced. The ordinary receipts exceeded the ordinary outgoings, and the extraordinary barely weighed down the contrary scale.
Among the causes which had swollen the Exchequer were the presence of an Imperial force, the consequent inflation of trade, and the rifling of the soil, which in seven years had yielded £13,000,000 sterling of its gold. Mr. Weld's efforts had reduced the colonial defence expenditure. It had been nearly £900,000 a-year when he took office. It was reduced in 1867 to ££327,000. Commissary-General Jones had laboured with Major Richardson, a member (without portfolio) of Mr. Stafford's Government, to adjust the claims of the Imperial Government. The claims, as stated by Mr. Fitzherbert, were,—for capitation charge for troops, £353,817 10s.; compound interest capitalized annually, £167,278 7s. 1d.; advances for colonial troops, £582,156 17s. 7d.; miscellaneous, £201,710 14s. 7d.;—total, £1,304,963 9s. 3d. Major Richardson considered that more than half a million of the claim was inadmissible. After much correspondence, Mr. Jones quitted New Zealand abruptly, leaving his task unfinished, and assigning his failure to the fact that Major Richardson's commission pointed to inquiry into subjects beyond mere accounts, into which Mr. Jones had no authority to enter. The counter-claims put forward by Major Richardson were,—for colonial debentures sold at par, £500,000; military roads, £102,875 9s. 10d.; proportion of river transport charges, £97,329 Os. 11d.; miscellaneous, £206,652 4s. 11d.;— total, £906,856 15s. 8d. But besides these claims Major Richardson pleaded that further claims might justly be preferred, arising out of the peculiar relations of the colony and the Home Government when liability was incurred in repressing rebellion. The arguments recurred to the time when the Colonial Ministry under stress of their own misdoings at Waitara gave to Colonel Browne in 1860 a pledge to reimburse the Imperial Government for advances to militia and volunteers. Mr. Stafford's sins had come home to him. To coerce the Maoris he had made pledges of which when again in power he felt the pressure. But the axiom which declares that anything may be proved by figures implies that anything may in like manner be disproved. With much adroitness Major Richardson dealt not only with them, page 411 but with the provocation to war which was represented in general terms, not as the act of its arch-promoters, but as that of Governor Browne. Indirect losses could thus be put forward much as under shelter of Mr. Gladstone's negotiations at Washington in 1871 they were urged by the United States as assets created by new retrospective arrangements. Speaking of Waitara, Major Richardson thought it “sufficient to state that the Governor (Browne) reported that the title of Teira and others having been minutely examined for several months, proved and extinguished by the Crown, a survey had been ordered in the usual manner, and that it was his intention in case of the rumoured resistance of Te Rangitake taking place, to enforce Her Majesty's right to deal with her own subjects without hindrance from any one not having a legitimate interest in the transaction.” On the subsequent revelations that the alleged minute examination of title was untrustworthy—that Te Rangitake and his adherents had indisputable rights—and that in over-riding them the Government had violated the treaty of Waitangi—private and tribal rights, as well as their own repeated promises,—Major Richardson's report was almost silent, though it recorded the formal abandonment of the Waitara block. Those revelations have already been told in part. The result of a legal investigation will follow in due time. As to the Waikato war, Major Richardson admitted that, to avoid risk of murderous invasions, “the initiative was taken by General Cameron”; but with an inconsequential deduction that destroys the historical value of his laboured report, he concluded that the whole war “has unmistakably arisen from the necessity of vindicating Her Majesty's supremacy and the rights of British native subjects guaranteed by treaty with the Crown!” In the hands of such a mispriser of facts, figures might yield equally startling results; but Major Richardson relied mainly on the moral responsibility of the Crown, and the equitable claims of the colony. If the Duke of Newcastle had sternly checked the Waitara injustice, no complicity could have been imputed to the Imperial Government; but as accessary after the fact, he had made it difficult for the Imperial Government to hold aloof from the crime. On this point his colonial associates did not press that they were relieved by his sanction. Yet it was their strongest ground; for, page 412 on the Duke's adoption of the course into which Colonel Browne was led in 1860, the subsequent events followed in hideous order. It may, however, have been felt, though not confessed, by New Zealand statesmen, that the Waitara case would not bear a strong light without revealing that the war of 1860 was not a rebellion, but resistance by a man wronged and attacked in his home. Major Richardson impeached the Imperial claims for compound interest,—denied that the colony was liable after 1st December, 1864, for the £40 per soldier, inasmuch as it had urged that the troops should be withdrawn if the demand were insisted on,—was of opinion that the Imperial Government would withdraw the claim for cost of the New Zealand Fencibles (£68,000) incurred when England was solely responsible for peace; —and after challenging various items, concluded his paper (for which Mr. Stafford expressed the thanks of the Government), by declaring that Great Britain was, as an accomplice in the war and the cause of much expenditure, bound to give substantial aid in lightening the burdens of a colony which “had passed not willingly but by force from the position of a co-operator to that of a principal in the suppression of the rebellion.” The irony of facts was never more severe than on this occasion. Major Richardson as a colleague of Mr. Stafford sent these words to the Governor in July, 1867, and Mr. Stafford thanked him for them with effusion. Nevertheless, in the previous year, facts had been proved at Taranaki which induced the Stafford Government to arrest inquiry, and by private compositions to withdraw from a court of law the further consideration of a case which threatened to show conclusively that the reiterated assertions made on behalf of the Government,—viz. that Teira's claim had been “minutely examined for several months,” found good, and fairly extinguished, were glaringly false. Although the Government eluded judgment in 1866, documents had been laid on the table of the Assembly in that year which refuted beyond all doubt the traditional untruth which the Stafford Ministry of 1866 inherited from its predecessor of 1860, and which Major Richardson endorsed. Those documents will be described hereafter. The financial policy of Mr. Stafford, though brought forward by him who had been Treasurer for Mr. Weld, was not unchallenged. Mr. Vogel impugned it in a motion page 413 which was only rejected after repeated adjournments. Mr. Vogel's criticisms were heeded on various fiscal questions; and it was evident that he was about to be a power in the House, although in an attempt to shelve the Surplus Revenues Adjustment Bill he found only five coadjutors in opposing Mr. Fitzherbert.
1 A singular episode in the changing Maori life occurred early in 1867. The Rev. Richard Taylor was about to visit England. He had been the fast friend of John Williams Hipango, the Christian chief who arrested the murderers of the Gilfillan family in 1846, had accompanied Mr. Taylor to England in 1855, presented in person Maori gifts to the Queen and to Prince Albert, and had in after years fallen in battle against the Hau Haus. The loyal chiefs now sent petitions to the Queen by the hand of Mr. Taylor, who was accompanied by young Hipango. Sir George Grey wrote a despatch, begging that the young chief might be presented to Her Majesty. Sorrow was expressed in the petitions about the taking of Maori lands. They did not know whether the law which confiscated them came from England, or from Wellington. They implored that some of them might be restored. Another subject of bitterness was the absence of Maoris from the Councils of Government. It was not right for one race only to judge. Wrong was thus perpetuated. “An unjust Court is summoned and much money wasted; the Court sits, and all is in confusion,—the spirit is wearied. … O Queen! let your love for us be expressed.” They had fought for her. “If you behold this letter let your reply float over the ocean to us, —to your loving children.” Amongst the petitioners were Hori Kingi, Mete Kingi, and Rangihiwinui. They had no word to say against Sir George Grey. They were satisfied with him, but disapproved of his Ministry. Mr. Taylor besought some mark of distinction for young Hipango. The Duke of Buckingham evinced no sympathy. The petitioners were politely told that they must apply through the Governor, but that the Home Government would not reverse decisions in New Zealand on the matters to which the petitions related.
The Committee did not think it politic to re-open such claims. Two hundred and fifty-six Turanga natives petitioned. “These are our troubles: our land that the Government is constantly trying to take away from us. After the cessation of hostilities some people were transported to the Chatham Islands, but the land was left untouched, neither was there anything said about taking our pieces of land… we inferred the only punishment this people were to suffer was in the dead who had fallen and the prisoners sent to the Chatham Islands. The blood has since dried, during two years, yet the word of the Government that we are to be deprived of our lands has only now come forth. It has been heard only during this year: had it been uttered during the fighting it would not have pained us so much, though page 416 we did not join in the offence of the Hau Haus. Give heed, Assembly of Gentlemen! We are in great trouble by reason of what the Government has done in deceiving us, so that we might lose the whole of the level land of this district. It has been owing to the influence of us, the chiefs, that the greater portion of the country has been kept quiet, and our reward is that we are to be washed away by the tide.” The Judge of the Lands Court had promised to hold a Court; twice they were deceived when they attended.… “We all assembled, but there was no Court. We wondered why we were annoyed everlastingly, and after considering for some time, we heard a word about the land being taken. The life-giving words came first; namely, the Native Lands Court was to be holden here. These were followed by the death-causing words, namely, the land was taken. We have waited for relief by law, but in vain.” Captain Biggs had negotiated with them. “What he wanted was to get all the level country, and we might perch on the mountains. Thereupon we told him it must be left for the Land Court to give us relief. He replied, he would bring the land-taking Court. This was the first time we had heard such a name for the Court, and we were surprised.” They appealed to the “gentlemen elected to devise such measures as promote the peace of the country.”
Their allegations were found by the Committee to be correct. Neither the Native Lands Court, nor the Court appointed under “the East Coast Titles Investigation Act, 1866,” had kept the times appointed and notified. The assembled natives retired disappointed. Mr. McLean's negotiations at the close of hostilities had unfortunately not been acted upon by the Government. When the two Courts failed, Captain Biggs and Mr. J. C. Richmond had failed also to solve disputes. The fiery Captain Biggs then recommended the Government to work under the New Zealand Settlements Act (the land-taking Court), but the Government shrunk from doing so, pending the session of 1867. The Committee recommended that there should be no farther delay in allowing the established Courts to go into operation in the district. After making all possible allowance it is hard to excuse the dilatoriness displayed by the Government at Turanga. A matter small in itself, but like a page 417 spark in a magazine capable of much mischief, reflects little credit on the Government. Eight Turanga natives petitioned for the return of their “very valuable carved house, taken away without pretext by the Government.” Mr. Richmond, a member of the Executive Council, had asked for it, and was told he could not have it. He replied, “That is all. I will cease to urge you.” But after he departed a steamer arrived, and Captain Biggs carried away the house without sanction from the tribe. The name of Rahurui was first in order of the petitioners. The Committee reported that the house (Whare Waikaro) was a very fine specimen of native workmanship, and would be properly taken care of in the Wellington museum; that some money had been paid for it by Biggs to some Maoris; and that the house and land having belonged to rebel natives were, “strictly speaking, forfeited to the Government.” It was admitted that the house stood on the land of the petitioner Rahurui.
There was no prophet to step in and say to the covetous Pakeha—Thou art the man!—and there was little attempt to gloze the transaction, which yet could not fail to embitter the feelings of the disaffected at Turanga, as well as those who were confined at the Chatham Islands, and were expectant of the release of which the Government had spoken to them. On the west coast, Te Kepa Rangihiwinui used persuasions in favour of peace in November, 1867. Titokowaru also called a meeting at Te Ngutu-o-te Manu, a village built after the destruction of Pungarehu. Mr. Booth, resident magistrate at Patea, was present by invitation, and heard the speeches. Mr. Booth reported that Titokowaru had shown untiring energy in bringing other tribes to make peace from the date of the “first overtures for friendly relations.” The Manawatu-block disputes still furnished petitioners, praying that the Native Lands Court might be brought into operation. That Court early obtained praise, and in 1886, the Pakeha Maori, Mr. Maning, officially reported that the Native Lands Act 1865 would “prove the most beneficial action we have ever attempted in native affairs, and that the good effects we may expect from it can scarcely be over-rated.” The removal by that Act of restrictions upon sales by Maoris to Europeans, had been so freely adopted in some page 418 places that the resident magistrate at Hawke's Bay appealed to the Government to protect the Maori from himself. Prima peregrinos obscena Pecunia mores intulit. Suddenly invested with unchecked control, prone to exchange land for the means of idleness and debauchery, the Maori was in many instances parting with his heritage so recklessly that a future of pauperism was in store for him, unless the Government would use their power of declining to assent to the alienation of reserves, and thus debar the existing generation from waste. The Pakeha Maori (Maning) was called upon to exercise a strange judicial function during the Parliamentary session of 1867. Quarrels arose about land, the title to which was to be brought before him. Two Ngapuhi warriors tottering with age stirred up the young, prone as themselves, to fight. Ancient tribal feuds were ransacked to envenom differences. The Judge in olden time had known the combatants, but kept himself aloof to do official justice. The Surveyor asked whether he should carry on the survey, backed by force. The Judge replied that he believed the man must be mad to ask such a question. The case had not come into Court, when two grantees and a claimant had been shot.
In June, the resident magistrate, Edward Williams (a son of Archdeacon Henry Williams), found the two parties on the brink of battle. They were within a few yards of each other, when he rode between them, and out of respect for him they retired; and subsequently agreed that he should be their arbitrator. He had not received the thanks of the Government for his intervention when the disputants met again, and though he endeavoured to interpose they commenced firing before his eyes. On the 10th July, he saw five killed and two wounded as he stood by the Ngarehauata. Fighting was more acceptable than law, and the magistrate's entreaties were disregarded, until, on the 16th July, the death of Archdeacon Williams drew off the sorrowing Maoris to attend his funeral. The scene which followed has been told in relation to his death. Judge Maning's proceedings deserve special mention. Before peace was finally made the hostile parties offered to make a truce, to attend the Court unarmed, and keep the peace while the Court was sitting. He declined to authorize in such a manner, page 419 indirectly, a return to violence after his departure, adjourned his Court sine die, or until hostilities should cease, and intimated that probably all the Courts in the district would be closed. Meanwhile he joined his peaceful persuasions to those of others. The Hokianga chief, Abraham Taonui, aided the sons of the deceased Archdeacon, peace was made, and the land had rest.
Such was the aspect of New Zealand life, while the General Assembly in 1867 was busy with many things—passing an “Old Metal and Marine Store-dealers' Bill,” regulating Friendly Societies, empowering a race-course board at Wairarapa to exchange certain lands, and dealing with the thousand objects which in all communities of Englishmen engross their time, but which, as common to all, require no special notice. The session was the last to be convened by Sir George Grey. The addresses he received from the two Houses and the remonstrance drawn up in his praise by his responsible advisers have been quoted. In December, 1867, he was requested to forward the final testimony of his Executive Council. “When immediately on the receipt of the first intimation that your Excellency would shortly be informed of the name of your successor, both Houses of the Legislature, by simultaneous addresses, marked their high regard for your Excellency personally, and their appreciation of your distinguished public services; and while numerous bodies of colonists hastened to re-echo those sentiments of respect which everywhere greeted you in your late visit throughout the provinces, we abstained from approaching your Excellency with any expression of sympathy, because we could not but believe that, at the close of your career in New Zealand, Her Majesty would have been advised to mark her appreciation of your services; but the tone of the late despatches addressed to your Excellency, impels us no longer to withhold the expression of the sentiments entertained towards you, by those who have witnessed, near at hand, the devotion to the empire and to public duty which has distinguished your long career. Seldom has a Governor been placed in circumstances more trying, and amid duties more conflicting and embarrassing. In so difficult a position we cannot but think that your Excellency might reasonably have expected that you would not have been left unprotected to bear the unjust aspersions to which you have page 420 been exposed. Again and again during the last twenty-six years, where there has been danger and difficulty in the administration of colonial affairs, your Excellency's aid has been invoked by the most eminent statesmen of the day. Sacrifices you have disregarded, and trials have served as opportunities of evincing devotion to public duty, and we cannot but regard it as indicative of the indifference, if not positive disfavour, with which the colonies of the empire are regarded when loyalty, zeal, and high intelligence displayed in the administration of their affairs are passed by without even the courtesy of a cold acknowledgment. Nevertheless, it will be no mean gratification to your Excellency to feel assured that upon your retirement from the Government of New Zealand, it is universally recognized that in defence of constitutional Government, the honour of the colony entrusted to your guardianship, and the best interests of the empire, you have added to your other sacrifices that of the assured prospect of some still more honourable position in Her Majesty's service, or a distinguished retirement from the cares of office. We trust that the day may not be far distant when the high services you have so freely and ably rendered will meet with a fitting recognition. We pray your Excellency to accept these words as expressing the sentiment of Ministers who have had the honour of being associated with you in the administration of the affairs of New Zealand.” The names of E. W. Stafford, William Fitzherbert, John Hall, T. M. Haultain, J. C. Richmond, J. H. Harris, and Major Richardson were attached to the address.
Sir George Grey replied: “It is fitting that I should briefly acknowledge the far more than friendly words which you have addressed to me on my removal from my office of Governor of New Zealand. These words coming from those who not only have seen and known the trials and difficulties I have had to encounter, but who also amidst those difficulties have been my advisers and fellow-labourers, are very valuable to me, and I shall often think of them in my retirement. I will only further say to those who by their advice, by their sympathy, and by their own toils and devotion to public duty, have so often guided my path in difficulties, and lightened the labours imposed upon me, that I thank them for the services they have page 421 rendered their Queen and country; that I also thank them for their affectionate farewell, and that whatever may be the future trials and changes of my life, I shall always think myself fortunate that they were so long given me as companions and associates in the trying duties I had to perform in New Zealand.” The framers of the address could not complain of any terms applied to it by the Duke of Buckingham. Its receipt was acknowledged without a word of comment. Well might Rajah (Sir James) Brooke groan in bitterness of spirit that the fiction that honours were conferred by the Queen could barely make them respectable. Well might one who had been Under-Secretary for the Colonies1 declare that the manner in which distinctions were conferred by the Colonial Office was fitted to degrade them. When the Duke of Buckingham thus superciliously set aside the protestations of the Executive Council of New Zealand with regard to the public services of a man for whom several of them could in no manner be supposed to be prejudiced, there was in a neighbouring colony another man in full career on the path to titular honour obtained in the manner denounced by Mr. Merivale. Convicted of sedition in 1844, but set at large on technical grounds,—reverting to seditious practices but evading the personal risks to which he incited others, for the desertion of whom one of the most resolute among them branded him as “a pitiable blaspheming traitor,”—intriguing against his Sovereign, against his reputed leader Daniel O'Connell, against his country and his oaths in the House of Commons and in a colony,—fawning upon his countryman O'Shanassy in Victoria, until he had obtained a title and a pension, and then spurning the patron whom he no longer needed,—Mr. Charles G. Duffy pursued the primrose way to the favours of Downing Street. They could not convert him from that to which he was in a manner born, but the method of their distribution might sour the minds of others more loyal than he. History has different garlands to dispense, and strikes a juster balance between the ignoble and the worthy. One gathers honour with time, while the distinctions of the other excite disgust.
1 Herman Merivale.