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History of New Zealand. Vol. III.

CHAPTER XXI. — 1883 TO 1894

page 354

1883 TO 1894.

The Earl of Derby received an important deputation from Maoria in 1884. Tawhiao, Major Te Wheoro, Patara te Tuhi (Tawhiao's cousin), Major Topia Turoa (who assisted in crushing Te Kooti), and Hori Ropiha (who was able to say that his tribe (Ngatikahungunu) was ever loyal to the Queen, but that they too were suffering from injustice), went to lay their griefs before the Queen. Tawhiao (whom Sir Duncan Cameron had in 1863 reduced to insignificance by crushing the Waikato tribes with 10,000 British troops), and Major Te Wheoro (who was frequently thanked by Sir Duncan for his aid in the campaign) now came as suppliants for justice at the hand of the Queen. It was a spectacle pathetic enough to move even their enemies.

Their memorial was comprehensive. They appealed to the Queen's “tender regard” for the Maori race, they cited the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi, the provisions of which had “been trampled upon without exception;” they recalled the rape of the Waitara, in defiance of the prohibition of Te Rangitake (the Ariki), “the paramount chief of the tribe;” the sweeping confiscations at Waikato without compensation; the disregard of Sir Donald McLean's arrangements for purchase of lands at the West Coast; the tyrannical working of the Acts about native lands, which compelled Te Wheoro to resign his position as assessor when he found that a share in decision was denied to him; they prayed that the tribes might administer their own lands under page 355 a Maori Commissioner appointed by the Queen; that the lands “wrongly obtained” from them might be returned, and that “some person in England” might be commissioned to “investigate the wrongs” done, so that the Treaty of Waitangi might “not be trampled upon.”

Mr. (now Sir) John Gorst introduced the petitioners to Lord Derby at the Colonial Office on the 22nd July. He reminded the Earl of his father's noble protest against “setting aside the Treaty of Waitangi after having obtained the advantage guaranteed by it;” of Mr. Gladstone's declaration in Parliament (while Peel was alive) that “as far as England is concerned there is no more strictly and rigorously binding treaty in existence than that of Waitangi;” and he called attention to those sections of the Constitution Act of New Zealand which enabled the Crown to “set apart” particular districts within which the Maoris might govern themselves in manner “not repugnant to the general principles of humanity.”

Tawhiao briefly stated the object of the petition, adding:—

“I am called a king, not for the purpose of separation, but in order that the natives might be united under one race, ever acknowledging the supremacy of the Queen, and claiming her protection.”

Te Wheoro, chieftain and soldier, said:—

Lord Derby, the representative of the Queen for the colonies, salutations. I am the representative of those tribes who have ever lived loyally to the government, and during the wars we aided the government, thinking that thereby we should be protected and saved, but after the war we found that we had suffered more than those who took up arms in opposition to the government, for we lost both land and property. I was at first made a magistrate in 1857, without a salary; in 1860 I received a salary; in 1863 I was made a captain in the New Zealand militia; in 1866 I was appointed assessor of the Native Land Court, but when I saw the corruption of that court I left it in 1872. In 1873 I was made a major; in 1875 I was made a Maori Commissioner, and then I saw more clearly the unfair dealing of the government towards the natives, and I gave up the post in 1879; and in the same year I was made a member of Parliament, thinking that there, perhaps, the rights of the Maoris would be respected, but when I saw the Maori members were ignored, and that the whole Maori race was under oppression, I came to England with Tawhiao to lay our wrongs before Her Gracious Majesty, for we are tired of laying our complaints before the New Zealand government, who refuse to consider our case, and who continue to trample upon us, and we look to you for redress. May God preserve you!”

Major Topia Turoa said:—“Lord Derby, the Queen's representative for the colonies, salutations. I represent the tribes stretching from Taupo down to Wanganui. During most of the war we remained neutral, but at times aided the government, and when Te Kooti was committing his page 356 murderous raids I completely checked him with my tribe, and yet, together with other tribes, we are suffering wrongs from the New Zealand government, and I support the petition now presented. May God bless the Queen and her government.”

Hori Ropiha said:—“Lord Derby, the Queen's representative for the colonies, salutations. I represent the great Ngatikahungunu tribe, stretching from Wellington to Hawke's Bay. My tribe has ever been loyal and obedient, and yet we find that, together with the other tribes, we are suffering from the wrongs done to us by the New Zealand government, and on behalf of my tribe I support the petition now presented. May God bless and preserve the Queen and her government.”

The chiefs spoke in the Maori language, and the Rev. F. H. Spencer, of New Zealand, interpreted during pauses made to enable him to do so.

Lord Derby, in reply, said:—“This deputation is, I think I may say, alike in regard to its composition and to the matter discussed, the most interesting and important which I have had the pleasure to receive in this office. I have listened carefully, with great interest, and with all the attention that I could give, to the arguments which have been used by the native chiefs who have addressed us, and by you who have come to advocate their cause. I entirely agree with what was said by the gentleman who introduced this deputation as to its being the desire of her Majesty's government to treat with equal justice natives and Europeans, and not to allow native rights to be overridden where it is in our power to help it. I do not forget what has been said as to the treaty of Waitangi. I need hardly say that I concur in the sentiments expressed by my father forty years ago, that a treaty is a serious and a binding thing, whether contracted with natives or with Europeans, and that the fact of its being contracted with natives does not in any degree lessen its validity or its importance, and, therefore, when you ask that treaty obligations shall be respected, and that justice shall be done to the original inhabitants of New Zealand, you express feelings and ideas with which Her Majesty's government entirely agree. You will not, I think, expect me to discuss in detail the very important, but at the same time the very difficult and complicated questions upon which this deputation has touched. Where native and European races are mixed together there is not only frequently, unfortunately, but inevitably, a conflict of interests, and often a conflict of ideas, each party wishing the administration to be carried on upon its own ideas, and believing justice to be on their side. All over the world questions connected with the ownership and occupation of land have been the most fertile cause of disputes and quarrels, and with the best will and the fullest desire to do justice on both sides, it is inevitable that many complications and many disputes must arise where on the one part it is claimed that land can only be held by the tribe, and cannot be parted with except with the consent of the tribe; and where, on the other hand, the European theory of individual holding of land is accepted. There is another difficulty in connection with this question, and I will not conceal from you that it is a very great one. New Zealand is very far off. It is the experience of all the world that countries cannot be effectually administered by persons at a distance, and that the wish of the inhabitants must be consulted. In accordance with that view, the Crown and the government of this country many years ago handed over to the inhabitants of New Zealand an almost entire power of managing their own affairs. Consequently it is for us, as I am sure the members of this deputation are fully aware, a very difficult and a very complicated matter to interfere in questions which we have practically, whether legally or not, handed over for many years past page 357 to be dealt with by local authority. It has been said, and I have no doubt quite accurately, by one speaker here, that the object of this deputation was to obtain home rule for the natives in certain districts of New Zealand where they still retain their lands; and Mr. Gorst has told us that there is legal power in the Crown to reserve certain districts for natives and to separate them from the ordinary administration of the colony by an Order in Council, without reference to the local legislature. I take notice of that contention, because I did not like to pass it over; but I am not at all prepared without further consideration to admit its legality, and, as all of us know, there are many things in a country and a government like ours which, though they may be strictly legal, are yet so contrary to constitutional practice, and to that which has been for so many years understood to be the law, that it would be very difficult to act upon them, whatever the state of the law may be. I am quite sure it will be more in the interests of the Maoris, as well as of the Europeans, that they should not remain forming separate communities within one island; but that, as far as may be, not necessarily in haste—not at once, but in the end—that they should live under one law and be subject to the same rules. With regard to the various statements of fact, and to the various demands made in this memorial which I have received, and which I have read, I need not remind our Maori friends that it is not consistent with justice, and it is not reasonable, to express an opinion upon a case of which one has only heard one side. I do not doubt that they have intended to say nothing except what was true and accurate in this statement; but, at the same time, where there are differences between two parties it is absolutely necessary that both parties should be heard, and therefore it will be necessary for me, before I can express any opinion on this paper, to refer it to the government of New Zealand, and to hear what answer they have to give in regard to those matters as to which it is said that they have done injustice or suffered it to be done. But while I say that, I beg them distinctly to understand that I do not say it merely as a means of delay—that I do not say it to gain time, and I do not say it to save myself or the government the trouble of going into these questions now; but we shall seriously consider and give our best attention to the complaints made, and when we hear what is said on the other side, and what answer is given to those complaints, we will, as far as our power goes, endeavour to do justice. I am obliged to speak with limitation, as all the English gentlemen here will easily understand, because many of the complaints that are contained in this memorial relate to matters which in practice the Queen and government of England hand over to be dealt with by the local legislature of New Zealand. We cannot take back rights which we have given, even if it could be shown in any particular case that those rights had not been used in the best manner. I have no doubt that the legislature of New Zealand and our fellow-Englishmen there—the colonial community there—will be quite willing, even in a matter which is entirely within their own jurisdiction, to listen to any fair representation which we may make, and to remedy any injustice which they may have involuntarily committed. I think, gentlemen, you will very well understand that it is not in my power to go more into detail in regard to these questions; and it only remains for me to thank you for coming here, because the hands of a minister are always strengthened when he finds a large section of the community interested in what passes in his department; and to our Maori friends I would say that nothing shall be left undone on the part of the government to make their stay in England pleasant as long as they may choose to remain here.

page 358

Mr. Gorst thanked the Earl for his courtesy, and said the Maori chiefs would feel confident that they were leaving their case in the hands of a government which would carefully consider it.

A singular scene occurred as the deputation left the Colonial Office. They were in various groups in the quadangle when Mr. Gladstone passed, and conversed with one of them. An eye-witness published the following narrative:—

“As I watched Mr. Gladstone's countenance his words (on the ‘rigorously binding treaty of Waitangi') flashed through my mind, and I was curious to observe how that lip-service of former years would be wrought into action in 1884. I saw a furtive glance; I saw an expression more of aversion than pity; of indignation at being shown to walk crookedly rather than of a desire to walk straightforwardly—and finally, I saw the leader of the House of Commons stride away as if he had been injured by having an opportunity of using his great gift of words in alleviating the sorrows for which he had made himself in some degree responsible, when he ‘indulged a hope’ that the Governor of New Zealand would be able to set aside the decision of Governor Fitzroy at Taranaki, and take those steps which led so disastrously to the unjust war of 1860.”1

Mr. Gladstone knew the object of the deputation, and who the Maoris were. It was notorious that his ministry had recently facilitated the presentation of the Zulu Cetewayo to the Queen. Yet he had only a scowl upon his brow as he gazed upon those Maori chiefs whose descent was traceable to the days of the Plantagenets.

To account for his repellent attitude is difficult, perhaps impossible, not only for others, but for himself. A sense of shame may have “elbowed him.” A reference to documents and to his own speeches suggests the suspicion that the concealment practised by Lord Kimberley was connived at by Gladstone.2

Lord Derby formally desired the Governor of New Zealand to send to England any observations which his advisers might desire to make about Mr. Gorst's contention— page 359 that under the 71st clause of the Constitution Act, 15 and 16 Vict., cap. 72, the Crown had power to “set apart particular districts” within which the Maoris might govern themselves, &c., as contemplated in that Act—and about Tawhiao's memorial.

At that time the ministry had undergone much change since the raid upon Parihaka under Hall. Whitaker succeeded Hall in April, 1882, retaining his other colleagues. In Sept., 1883, Whitaker retired, and Atkinson formed a ministry. After a general election, and much oscillation in the House, a ministry was formed, in which Stout was chief and Attorney-General; while Vogel was Treasurer, and Messrs. E. Richardson, J. Ballance, J. A. Tole, P. A. Buckley, W. H. Reynolds, and W. J. M. Larnach held other offices.

The Earl of Derby's despatch was considered by them, and on the 12th March, 1885, they presented to the Governor their reflections upon it.

They were of opinion that they “would least embarrass Her Majesty's government” by saying nothing about events preceding 1865.

The rape of the Waitara block and the invasion of the Waikato territory were thus put out of sight.

They averred that since 1865 there “had been no infraction of the Treaty of Waitangi;” though the arrest of Te Whiti and of hundreds of women and children in 1881 might have excited some qualms of conscience in the mind of Sir Robert Stout, who had in 1881 published his opinion that the colony seemed bent upon murdering the Maoris.3

As to the 71st section of the Constitution Act, the ministers thought that the Imperial Parliament could only have “contemplated” a temporary resort to it. Two lawyers, Stout and Buckley, were responsible, with their colleagues, for this dispensation with the law. After this it seemed natural for them to allege that some of the Maori requests were such that “ministers do not deem it necessary to point out their unreasonableness and absurdity.” They referred Lord Derby to Sir F. Whitaker's memorandum of 12th Dec., 1882, which asserted that “there is not, and has not been anything on the Statute Book of the colony, page 360 or in the conduct of the colonial Legislature to which reasonable exception can be taken.” Finally they were of opinion that all the Maori allegations had been “dealt with before.”4

The sanction by the Duke of Newcastle of the rape of the Waitara, in spite of Bishop Selwyn's and Sir W. Martin's remonstrance, now bore baleful fruit. The complicity of the Earl of Kimberley with the raid upon Parihaka was a stumbling block to his successor. The noble words of the Lord Derby of 1843, of Sir Robert Peel in 1845, and of Mr. Cardwell in later years, could not annihilate the ill-deeds of unworthy successors.

But yet the Lord Derby of 1885, if he could not arrest wrong-doing, showed sympathy, and strove to procure consideration for the fallen.

The Governor was requested (23rd June, 1885) to acquaint Tawhiao and his friends with what had been done. In a discussion in the House of Commons there had been—

“Many expressions of sympathy for the Maori race, and of belief that their interests and their customs would be guarded and respected by the government of New Zealand. The feeling at the same time appeared to be general that while the government of the Queen in this country has no longer its former power and responsibility in regard to the internal affairs of New Zealand, it should use its offices with the colonial government with the view of obtaining for the natives all the consideration which can be given to them.” All must understand that under the constitution, affairs were controlled by ministers responsible to the general assembly in New Zealand, and that “it is no longer possible to advise the Queen to interfere actively in the administration of native affairs any more than with other questions of internal government.” Although, therefore, the New Zealand government cannot undertake to give you specific instructions as to the applicability at the present time of any particular stipulations of a Treaty which it no longer rests with them to carry into effect, they are confident, as I request you will intimate to your ministers, that the government of New Zealand will not fail to protect and to promote the welfare of the natives by just administration of the law, and by a generous consideration of all their reasonable representations. I cannot doubt that means will be found of maintaining to a sufficient extent the rights and institutions of the Maoris without injury to those other great interests which have grown up in the land, and of securing to them a fair share of that prosperity which has of necessity affected in many ways the conditions of their existence.”

Thus did Lord Derby, whose predecessor, Lord Kimberley, told Parore in 1882 that “it had been decided that the affairs of New Zealand should be managed at the page 361 colony rather than in Downing-street,”5 strive to temper injustice to the Maoris.

Mr. Gladstone, however, could not be deemed a slave to Lord Kimberley's theory. In 1887 he denounced it as “revolutionary.” “Parliament (he said, Times, 4th July, 1887) has never abandoned its right to interfere, if it saw cause, upon Imperial grounds in the proceedings of any of the colonies of this country. Never, at any time, under any circumstances, by any terms, or by any implication, have we abated in the smallest degree the Imperial powers and prerogatives of the Imperial Parliament.”

From which it follows that, not having renounced the power to do right, Mr. Gladstone openly sanctioned the doing of wrong. Therefore, perhaps, he eyed Tawhiao and his companions with malevolence. Though not permitted to see the Queen, they were entertained by the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, and by other persons at private houses. Leaving Te Wheoro in England to promote their interests, they returned to their native land in 1884. Te Wheoro's health gave way as the brumous winter approached; and he also, kindly treated by Mr. Chesson, Sir John Gorst, and Sir Dillon Bell, and receiving condolence from the Colonial Office, left England in December, pouring out his gratitude in a letter to Mr. Chesson.6 “How greatly you have helped us in the difficulties of the poor Maori people in New Zealand!”

It was well that such a deputation as Tawhiao's should have seen the great population of which a swarm had settled upon Maoria; should have themselves found kindliness among Englishmen, and learned, perhaps, something of the difficulties which, in a vast and complicated society, surround attempts to obtain justice for those who are far off and are too weak to inspire fear.

They were remitted to the unteuder mercies of those against whom they had complained; but there were amongst the colonists, as they well knew, many who had page 362 striven to deal justly by them. Sir Wm. Fitzherbert had once rebuked their slanderers in New Zealand by asking, “what greater panegyric could be pronounced on the native race than was contained in the statement of fact that for the past twelve months (1861) we had been living among them with the knowledge in their possession that we were in their power and that they forbore to use that power? It was a fact unparalleled in history.” Sir W. Fitzherbert, and many others, still respected them. In May 1887 he said, at the Royal Colonial Institute, in London—“I have the honour to preside over what is called the Legislative Council—an Upper House—and in that Council there are three members of the native race, and I can assure you that those gentlemen behave just as well as any of their English colleagues.”

Be it brief or be it prolonged, be it shameful or honourable to the intruders, the future of the Maori race depends upon the presence or absence of noble qualities among the colonists.

If they cherish the “kindness ever nobler than revenge,” they will feel that, while it is tyrannous to abuse power which was questionably acquired by their fore-runners, it is base to requite the generosity commended by Sir W. Fitzherbert by such scenes as the raid upon Parihaka, or the subtler schemes by which the heritage of the Maoris has vanished in the law courts.7

The story of New Zealand in connection with its aboriginal lords and the Treaty of Waitangi may be said to end with the desertion of that Treaty by Lord Kimberley and Mr. Gladstone. They severed the knot which bound their country to keep faith, and no repentant countryman could restore it.

page 363

In these pages it may be well to adduce one more instance of the so-called legal processes by which Maori lands were wrested from their owners. It must be borne in mind that when a Land Court was held the natives flocked in numbers to the scene, sometimes vainly exhausting their means of subsistence in efforts to obtain a hearing.

Dissipation too often characterized such gatherings. Witnesses required from a distance were advised by letter, and “if there was no post office” (a judge informed a committee) “then we could not help it.”8

In the Owhaoko case, under examination, a Maori concerned, Hiraka te Rango, testified that, seeing a notice in the Gazette one day, he started for Napier—“went night and day to get there in time,” but on arrival was told that “the case was over.”9

In 1886, Sir Robert Stout being Attorney-General and head of the ministry, Mr. Ballance, as Native Minister, introduced a bill “to provide for a reinvestigation into the native title to lands known as Owhaoko and Kaimanawa-Oruamatua.”

The preamble declared that the Governor on the 4th Feb., 1880, ordered a rehearing in the Native Lands Court of the claim of Renata Kawepo and others to the Owhaoko land. The rehearing was ordered to take place within three years from 31st Oct., 1877.

The Order recited that “at a sitting of the Native Land Court held at Porangahau on 2nd Dec., 1876, the claim of Renata Kawepo and others to Owhaoko was heard and decided and that a certain order was on 31st Oct., 1877, thereupon made by the court;” that thereupon, 31st Jan., 1878, application was made “on behalf of certain aboriginal natives” for a rehearing of the claim, and the Governor, under powers of sec. 58 of the Native Land Act, 1873, ordered a rehearing. The preamble continued thus, “And whereas the said period of three years from the 31st Oct., 1877, was allowed to elapse without the rehearing so ordered being had, though in pretended compliance with such order the Native Land Court afterwards unlawfully assumed, after its authority under the said order in Council had expired, to deal with the said decision;

page 364

And whereas it would be just and right that the benefit of the rehearing ordered as aforesaid should not be denied to the natives interested, by reason of the omission or delay aforesaid: And whereas by decision of the Native Land Court acting under the Native Land Act 1873 land known as Kaimanawa Oruamatua was on evidence before it, apart from any voluntary arrangement, declared to be owned by certain natives whose names were entered on a memorial of ownership as the owners of such land; and whereas in the evidence upon which such decision was arrived at it was stated and not disputed that natives besides those so declared to be owners had a claim on the land, and there is good reason to suppose such evidence was true; and whereas application for a rehearing in respect of the said decision was made, but by reason of an insufficient knowledge of the premises not granted:

And whereas it would be just and right on the premises that there should be a reinvestigation into the title to the said lands:—Be it therefore enacted,” &c.

The second clause declared the lands named to be within the jurisdiction of the Native Land Court, and provided against giving the benefit of the Act to any natives already recognized as owners, who had demised their lands.

The bill itself consisted of two pages only, but attached to it was a memorandum by Sir Robert Stout, narrating the facts which led to the introduction of the bill. The memorandum extended to twenty-six pages.

Bad as the Owhaoko case is, it cannot be put forward as unusually harsh or unjust. Extracts already made from speeches of Dr. Pollen, Mr. Sheehan, Mr. Bryce, and others, show that, whether from malice or proclivity to blundering, injustice to the Maoris was common; and Dr. Pollen went so far as to assert in 1873 that they had been “subjected for years” to a “system of fraud under the authority of the law.”

The specialty in the Owhaoko case is that it was carefully analyzed by a lawyer, the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

It must be borne in mind that usually when natives applied to have their lands brought under the operation of the court there was an intended lessee or purchaser in the page 365 background, and that he had much to do with promoting the case.

Sir R. Stout's memorandum declared that in Sept., 1875, a Native Land Court was held at Napier, under circumstances which made it impossible for some of the natives (interested) to be present; that evidence given in court showed that there were such interested natives; that in Dec., 1875, some of them petitioned for a hearing; that, owing to the absence of maps, or other causes, no order was made at the particular time at which it was afterwards pretended that an order had been made; that contradictory entries were made in the minutes which purported to record the proceedings of the court; that again in Jan., 1878, Maoris applied for a hearing as to their title; that on the 26th March, 1879, a rehearing was sanctioned by Sheehan, the Native Minister, but that on 2nd April, 1879, he arrested it; that Sheehan being out of office in 1880, and Bryce being Native Minister, the rehearing applied for in January, 1878, was directed (on Mr. Bryce's recommendation) by the Governor on 4th of February, 1880; that it was fixed for 30th June, 1880; that on the 10th June it was postponed by a notice giving no reasons, and fixing no other date; that various communications passed subsequently between officials of the Land Court office and the solicitor employed by the lessee, who opposed the rehearing; that some of those who had in January, 1880, applied for a rehearing were persuaded to sign a paper of withdrawal (of their application), which was sent to the Court in October, 1880, by the solicitor who opposed the rehearing, and thus seemed to act for both sides; that some Maoris whose names appeared in the withdrawal wrote in November, 1880, that they had been “cajoled” to sign their names to it; that another wrote that his name had been appended “secretly without his concurrence;” that, though the Governor's Order-in-Council directed the rehearing within three years from 31st October, 1877, it was not so held, but that on the 1st November, 1880, the counsel for the lessee who opposed the rehearing informed the court that he “held a retainer from the natives” who had “applied for the rehearing,” and that he was “instructed to withdraw their application;” page 366 and that on the 3rd November, 1880, the judge dismissed the case.

Then came appeals to the Native Minister which (p. 17 of Stout's Mem.) appear not to have been replied to.

But the case was not clear. The judge, who had on 31st Oct., 1877, signed the order of the Native Land Court about Owhaoko, had referred to an order in the case made at a sitting of the court on the 2nd Dec., 1876, and no such order had been made. On the contrary, there was an entry about that time (p. 417 of the Minutes and p. 5 of Stout's Mem.), “Owhaoko: No order. Map to be altered and put into court.”

But, though ownership of natives may be brushed aside, as in the case of Heremaia Mautai at Christchurch in 1868, or in that of the Dunedin Maori Reserve, the titles of colonists must be more carefully considered, and a case was stated for the Supreme Court in order to ascertain under that august sanction whether the judge of the Native Land Court could make an order in the case.

If anyone imagined that the Maori petitioners for a re-hearing would profit by the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, he was to be disappointed.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was a dry decision that “where an order had been made for the re-hearing, and the applicants subsequently abandon their application, the Native Land Court has power to affirm the original decision.” (Stout's Mem., p. 19.)

This seems, as an abstract statement, irrefragable; but, as far as can be gathered from it, the particulars of the Owhaoko case were not even put before the court. The singular circumstance that to the “document cancelling the application for a re-hearing” names were affixed without the knowledge of the supposed signers, and that the document was transmitted to the Native Land Court judge by the lawyer employed on the other side, cannot be deemed to have been sanctioned by the terms of the judgment.

Rawiri Kahia's letter of 10th Nov., 1880, affirming that his name “had been appended without his knowledge,” may not have been seen by the court.

page 367

According to Sir Robert Stout's summary of the case, no order had been made at all by the Native Land Court, and the applicants had not abandoned their application for a rehearing.

Sir Robert Stout concluded thus:—

  • “1. In my opinion, no valid orders regarding the Owhaoko blocks have ever been made by the Native Land Court.”

  • “2. That, as regards the Kaimanawa-Oruamatua block, the order was improperly made; for the court was informed that other persons had interests in the land.”

  • “3. That the Native Land Court—first, in adjourning the court sine die; second, in not meeting until after the three years mentioned in the Order-in-Council had expired—namely, on the 1st November, 1880; and third, in dealing with the question of withdrawal of the rehearing in the absence of the natives concerned, acted both improperly and illegally.”

“In order to do justice to the Natives concerned, the government ought to introduce a special bill ordering a rehearing of the whole of the blocks.”

“I do not care to comment upon the conduct of the various persons whose action I have had to allude to in this memorandum.”

“The facts are sufficient without comment. Let me only add that if this case is a sample of what has been done under our Native Land Court administration, I am not surprised that many natives decline to bring their land before the courts. A more gross travesty of justice it has never been my fortune to consider.”

18th May, 1886. Robert Stout.

The bill was carried with modifications. The confessions of wrongdoing in the preamble were excised. Nevertheless, under Sir R. Stout's leading, a great step towards the idea of justice had been made since the days when, in 1868, Mr. John Hall framed his order of reference about the Ngaitahu deed at Christchurch; and from 1855 to 1877 those remarkable proceedings occurred with regard to the Maori reserve at Prince's-street, Dunedin, which have been chronicled in these pages.

If the first edition of this work has conduced to make public men more studious than of old to extend justice to the Maoris, the author has cause to be grateful.

There have been within the last ten years indications that a sense of justice has been aroused in the minds of some who, in preceding years, did not care to oppose the harsh treatment of Maoris.

Sir F. Whitaker (in 1889) confessed in Parliament that hardship had been inflicted by the law which enabled ten Maoris, whose names were included as grantees, to deal page 368 (under pressure as at Heretaunga)10with the interests of the true owners. In 1889 also, Mr. Stevens, representing the Atkinson government in the Upper House, obtained a select committee of that body, empowered to sit with a committee of the other Chamber, “to consider and report upon the Middle Island native claims question,” concerning which an inquiry had been impeded by Mr. Bryce in a former year. Continued from year to year, the inquiry proved that there were large grievances—so large that miso-Maoris refused to consider them. But Atkinson—so active in promoting the raid upon Parihaka in 1881—had either relented or had learned that exposure of misdeeds destroys one of the objects aimed at by misdoers. The “final report” of the joint committee was that “though no actual claims of the Ngaitahu could be substantiated as a matter of law, as a matter of honour aud good faith the colony was bound to see, to a certain extent, to the well-being of the Maori inhabitants of that part of the colony.”11 The Treaty of Waitangi seems not to have been deemed capable of creating an “actual claim.”

However, those who denounced the lawless excesses at Parihaka in 1881 may hope that their denunciations, in the New Zealand Parliament and elsewhere, conduced to bring about a better frame of mind among public men in 1889 than was dominant under Hall in 1881, when no law and no considerations of honour were extended to Te Whiti.

The Native Minister visited Otago; and Taiaroa at once, but vainly, brought before him the Maori claim to one-tenth of the lands purchased, as guaranteed by the original terms of purchase of the Middle Island, and formally sanctioned by the Governor12

The government in July, 1893, explained in the Legislative Council by the mouth of their Attorney-General page 369 (Buckley) that they proposed to set apart about 90,000 acres for the Middle Island Maoris, and Taiaroa subsequently remarked that the natives were “willing to accept those lands, but it was understood that they were simply a compassionate gift made by the government. They did not consent to accept these lands as in settlement of any claims.”

Mr. Stevens thereupon, in friendly tones, appealed to his “honourable friend, Taiaroa, to use his influence with the people so that they might accept the settlement rather than remain in a condition of discontent. He would venture to give his opinion that there was not the smallest chance of the natives receiving tenths of the land purchased.”

The chief might consider such a remonstrance a poor compensation for claims which a member of the House had once estimated at two millions sterling; but sympathy is not akin to insult, and a few years previously he had been assailed by a member of a ministry for urging the claims of his people.13 More necessary is it indeed to recognize Mr. Stevens‘humanity, because between the insult and the sympathy had occurred the abandonment by Kimberley and Gladstone of their duty to fulfil honourably that Treaty of Waitanga which Gladstone had solemnly declared to be “strictly and rigorously binding.” The historian may well rejoice at the new humanity.

Information which statistics can best supply is most conveniently given in tabular form, and the official “Yearbooks” now generally promulgated enable authors to present a bird's-eye view of most subjects in which progress is supposed to be indicated by figures. But there are influences which sway men's minds, and which no tables of figures can represent. Amongst them is religious training, which a majority in New Zealand in haste determined to ostracize from the public schools. Not even at the cost of their parents, and apart from other children, page 370 could children in New Zealand learn the doctrines of their parents‘faith while under the shelter of the State.

The secular fervour which deprived parents of their right to demand that their children should have liberty to receive religious instruction at the public schools (in such manner as might in no way militate against the right of other parents to keep their children aloof) has not lost its power in New Zealand. The Education Act of 1877 has received adoration. The Bible is in exile. Vainly did thoughtful people plead that at least there should be in the schools no discouragement of “Reverence, the angel of the world.” The Hon. W. D. Stewart made an effort in 1892, He pointed out that in the United States of America the permission of Bible-reading was within the functions of the local boards. He asked no more freedom for parents in New Zealand than was enjoyed by parents in England under Mr. W. E. Forster's Education Act of 1870. He demanded no active aid from the State. He pleaded only for freedom for parents. He urged that already in New Zealand the absence of religious instruction was tending to degradation of social relations. He received support in the Council, but there was a majority of one against him in spite of his protest that there was “a powerful demand from the people of this country for the reading of the Bible in schools.” Whatever the people yearned for, however, they could obtain nothing but what the product of universal suffrage and wide ignorance would give. Opinions on education were not those upon which a general election depended.

Sir John Hall14 declared to the House (16th July, 1891), “if you were to poll the colony from one end to the other you would have four-fifths of the parents in favour of introducing the Bible into the schools, and in favour of instruction in the general principles of religion and morality.” He was told that—“We have nothing specially to do with the parents,” and it remains for the future to show whether the want of a “good conscience towards God” can be caused by a State without entailing woe upon succeeding generations.

page 371

It is creditable to the moral sense of responsibility of many parents that, in spite of the gigantic bribe of free education, no less than 11,238 pupils were reported as being educated at private schools in 1880. Some, at least, have been sturdy enough to refuse to be receivers of alms.

It is notable, but not to be wondered at, that the Minister of Education stated in 1882 (after the raid upon Parihaka) that the attendance of Maori and half-caste children “might be made much larger but for the unwillingness of many parents of both races—European and Maori—to allow their children to be taught in schools equally open to them all. In some Maori settlements that are too small, and too near to public schools to be regarded as entitled to have native schools established in them, the children are growing up in ignorance, being either withheld or excluded on account of antipathy based on difference of race.”

In 1891, the Maori15 children attending schools of all kinds were:—

Boys. Girls. Total.
At public European schools 355 222 577
At native village schools 1,030 789 1,828
At subsidized or endowed boarding schools 119 75 194
At private European or native schools 101 96 197
1,605 1,191 2,796

The total cost of maintenance and inspection was set down as less than £14,000.

The income from reserves in the same year was £34,741, the total grants for education being about £480,000, and the children educated being about 120,000.

The pecuniary cost will weigh upon many purses; but, however great it may be, it will be trivial compared to the heart-sinkings of the patriotic if they are doomed to see the decline of spiritual longings throughout the community.

While Tawhiao and his friends were in England in 1884 the results of a general election in New Zealand had shaken the supremacy of the government which under Hall ravaged Parihaka, and under Whitaker and (subsequently) page 372 under Atkinson was so identified with Hall's measures that it earned the title of “continuous.” It is often the fate of trimmers in trying to serve themselves so to modify electoral machinery that they are “hoist by their own petard.”

Thus it happened with Hall's Representation Bill pertinaciously carried in the manner already described. He obtained a majority under it in 1882, as already shown, but it waned. In 1884 Atkinson pleaded (in reply to taunts to the effect that Sir G. Grey had compelled the ministry to pass radical measures) that the “work has been done, and done by this government, and it does not matter from whom the idea sprang.”

His pleadings were vain. He found himself in a minority, and the House was dissolved in June, 1884.

Sir Julius Vogel, having returned to the colony, was still regarded by some as a financier, and was elected for Christ-church North. It was believed that distrust of the financial arrangements of Atkinson would speedily be pronounced. The new Parliament met on the 7th Aug., 1884, and on the following day Atkinson informed the House that the ministry had resigned.

The Governor, Sir W. Jervois, entrusted Vogel with the task of forming a ministry. He formed one, of which Stout, Attorney-General, was the head; Vogel, the Treasurer; Mr. Ballance, Native Minister; and in which Messrs. Macandrew and Montgomery held important posts. The Middle Island was strongly represented in the ministry, but Sir John Hall had disappeared from the House.

The Governor's Speech (19th Aug.) invited “resolute attention” to “public works”—extension of railways—“settlement of families” on lands adjacent to railways— the putting to “productive uses” lands still held by the Maoris—and the necessity of “establishing an equilibrium between expenditure and receipts.” His advisers proposed to repeal the existing property tax, and preferred “an equal and moderate land tax.” On the debate on the Address on the 20th Aug., Mr. J. W. Thomson moved that the ministry “do not possess the confidence of this House,” and the censure was carried by 52 votes against 33. Mr. Waterhouse, in the Council, carried a motion, though not in hostile spirit, that it was essential to the working of the page 373 constitution that the government of the day should “be represented in the Council by a minister holding a portfolio;” and Colonel Whitmore, who, without a portfolio, represented the Stout government, did not oppose the motion.

Mr. Stout announced the resignation of the ministry, and on the 21st Aug. Mr. J. W. Thomson was requested to form one. He failed to do so; and, on the 22nd, Sir G. Grey (who had voted with the majority) was sent for, but found it impossible “to bring about such an amalgamation of parties” as to form “a ministry of which he was to be a member or the head.” There was general distrust of his theories.

Atkinson was sent for on the 26th Aug., and on the 28th presented himself with five colleagues, none of whom, except Mr. Mitchelson, had been associated with him at the opening of the session. Mr. George McLean held a portfolio, with a seat in the Legislative Council. On the following day Mr. Stout moved that “this House has no confidence in the present ministry.” He insisted that the sole issue put to the country was—“Shall we have the continuous ministry or shall we not?”

Mr. E. Wakefield complained of the infatuation of the followers of Vogel, who would tolerate no ministry which did not include him. After sharp debate Stout's motion was carried by a majority (29th Aug.) of 51 against 43; and on the 3rd Sept. Stout formed a ministry, which differed from his former handiwork by the omission of Messrs. Macandrew, Montgomery, and Sir G. Whitmore, and the inclusion of Mr. Tole in the House and of Messrs. P. A. Buckley and W. J. E. Reynolds in the Council.

The financial condition of the colony formed in 1884 the burden of numerous debates on successive motions of want of confidence, and no one could deny the courage of Atkinson in defending his past administration as Treasurer. The division of the 29th August determined that Vogel should have charge of finance and that Mr. Stout's judgment should control the cabinet.

Atkinson's opponents, with the aid of Vogel's reputation and Stout's recognized ability, drove him from office on financial grounds. Yet even they respected the tenacity page 374 with which he battled in defence of his position, and many of his old supporters adhered to him throughout debates on the Financial Statement, on a Consolidated Stock Bill, and other subjects.

Vogel introduced a South Sea Trading Company Bill, but the sense of the House recoiled from it.

Sir G. Grey was active in the session. Among his proposals for the improvement of mankind were an Elective Justices of the Peace Bill and a measure for referring to the passions of the multitude questions on which the two Houses might disagree.

There were protracted debates on Railway Bills. With regard to one which the Council rejected, Sir G. Grey said he “felt a gladness he could hardly describe in believing that a power had arisen which could save the poor of this country from additional taxation of the most objectionable kind.”

Yet the taxation he denounced had been imposed, so far as their vote could impose it, by the delegates of those to whom he wished, by his referendum, to appeal. When a bill to abolish plurality of votes, though supported by Sir G. Grey and Mr. Stout, was shelved, Sir George prophesied truly that the advocates of ancient principles of English representation would ere long be defeated, and that victory would crown the efforts of his followers in New Zealand. In a bill to amend the Property Assessment Bill he strove to give the people “the right of taxing the unearned increment.” ‘I swear.it will come to that at last,” he said in a fervid peroration. Though supported by two members of the ministry, and though Mr. Stout paired in its favour, the bill was defeated by two votes. Later in the session Vogel, with a large majority, succeeded in reducing the property tax by one-half.

The recurring subject of abolishing the royalty, or export duty, on gold was dealt with, but the bill, though passed in the House, was thrown out by the Council.

Towards the close of the session the relations between the two Houses were warmly discussed in the Lower House in connection with the loss of a District Railways Purchase Bill in the Upper. The difficulty was evaded by a resolution of the House authorizing the government “to enter page 375 into agreements to acquire lines by lease and purchase,” subject to ratification by Parliament. For this resolution the ministry obtained a majority of 25. Mr. Rolleston urged that “if a similar resolution were not brought before the other House, a very great constitutional wrong would be done;” but Mr. Stout contradicted him. As an incident bearing on the relations between the Houses, the subject was notable. From Sir G. Grey it elicited the fervent encomium, on the Upper House, just quoted.

Maori affairs were debated during the session. Mr. Ballance, the Native Minister, passed a Waikato Confiscated Lands Bill (to extend the time within which the dispossessed Maoris might be permitted to return to allotted portions of their native land), and brought in a Native Land Alienation Restriction Bill. Wi Pere, the member for the Eastern Maori District, on the 28th Oct., carried a motion (prompted by a petition from Rangihiwinui and others) that Wahanui, the Ngatimaniapoto, should be heard at the Bar of the House on the bill, and on the 1st Nov. the chieftain appeared there. Lord Derby's reception of Tawhiao in July had perhaps attracted attention to Maori affairs, and a newspaper16 in London reprinted a description of Wahanui as “one of Nature's noblemen, honest, capable, and trust-worthy from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, large-brained and big-hearted, shrewd, genial, and courteous.” … “He presented a perfect picture of composure, made his graceful bow to the Speaker … and with a pleasant smile of recognition all round, entered at once into a clear exposition… He charmed his hearers as much by his felicitous phraseology as by his manly bearing.”

His speech was brief:

“Mr. Speaker, salutations to you. To all the honourable members of this House, salutations. It was my great desire to speak before this House on behalf of my people… The first subject on which I shall speak concerns our lands—the ancestral lands of myself and my people. I say that we wish to have the sole administration of those lands. Secondly I do not wish the action of the Native Land Court to be brought into force over those lands. The reason of this request is that the lands that I speak of are ancestral lands, and the hands of the Europeans have never touched them. No white man's foot has trodden upon those lands, nor has any European obtained authority over them, either by lease or otherwise. page 376 This is the reason why I say that we should have the administration of those lands, but afterwards I will ask this House to help me to devise a law for administering them. I have already mentioned my ideas on this subject to the Native Minister. His word to me was: your ideas are good… When I saw this bill I found that it had great sharp teeth, and there was a sting also in its tail. I saw that its teeth were very sharp, and were designed to swallow up the people, and that the sting also will destroy the land. When I saw those sharp teeth I thought in this way. This watch which I hold in my hand is mine; and if it requires repairs, let me take it to the watchmaker and have it repaired. I will explain to the watchmaker what requires to be done to it, and then he can repair it according to my directions. Then, when he has repaired it, he returns it to me, and I pay him for it; and then it is mine to do what I please with. I apply this idea to my land, and I think it is a parallel case to my land. Do not let the House be carried away with a desire to obtain lands, but rather let the House consider that which is just and right. These are my ideas on this subject, and since I have seen the bill I asked the Native Minister if he would consent to my inserting some provisions. At present there is no embarrassment with regard to my land; the title to it is undisputed. But I am actuated by a fear that trouble will come upon it.

“That is why I come here now. The object of Tawhiao's visit to England was lest the laws passed in this House should injuriously affect his land, and it has been the head of the government in England that has told Tawhiao to come back to New Zealand.

“Therefore I ask this House to pass just laws with regard to my land. I hope also that this House will carefully consider, carry out, and give effect to the laws of that great lady who lives in England—I mean the Queen—so that the laws for both races, the Natives and Europeans, may be carefully administered. Do not let such laws as some of the clauses in this proposed bill be affirmed. They appear to have been drafted, or designed, without due consideration. These are my words to the House. I claim the consideration of this House, and ask it to give effect to my wish and the wish of my people, and that the authority over our lands may be vested in our committee.

“Another request that I have to make is that the sale of spirits within our district may be stopped absolutely. I do not want that great evil brought upon our people. I hope this House will be strong in preventing this evil coming upon us and upon our people.

“That is all I have to say, and I can only add that it is my grea+ desire and longing that you may pass just laws with respect to my land and my people.”

There was something pathetic in the reference to the “sale of spirits” which Waharoa the king-maker had so sternly forbidden, and Bishop Selwyn had so vehemently protested against.

Mr. Ballance declared that he “was very much struck indeed with the noble sentiments expressed by Wahanui.” The bill underwent many alterations, and when it went to the Council Wahanui was heard there at the bar…

“After I had an opportunity of addressing the other Chamber I found that the government had made improvements in the bill. They drew its page 377 teeth with the exception of one which now remains in it… I request that the court may not have jurisdiction over the districts referred to for the present, I do not say always, but for the present, so that we may have time to consult with the government and to make satisfactory arrangements, and when the law is agreed to, then we can discuss the prospects for the future… I should wish that my committee—that is the Native Committee—should be empowered so that all dealings and transactions within that proclaimed district should be left in the hands of that committee.”

The bill eventually became law after an interchange of reasons between the two Houses.17

Mr. Heke, member for the Northern Maori district, a scion of the family of Honi Heke, who made war at Kororarika in 1844, addressed the House in English while moving the second reading of a Native Rights Bill. Sir Robert Stout “regretted that the Native Minister was not present” on the historical occasion. They had, “speaking that night in fluent English, and with great logical ability, one of the Heke family… this was really an occasion that ought to be taken notice of by members… The mere fact that one whose ancestors had occupied such an important position in the north of this island, and that there were so many Maoris listening to the debate, who were asking for nothing but what was according to strict Parliamentary rules and procedure, was an object lesson to the House.” Mr. G. Hutchison said the occasion was “certainly historical and interesting… He took it that this measure was a protest against the long course of injustice that the native race had suffered… The great error in all our native land legislation had been the endeavour to individualize native titles.” Captain Russell said:— … “After the speech of the honourable member—a gentlemen who was descended from an illustrious line of ancestors, and a gentleman who spoke the English language in a manner very few of those present could imitate—for the hon, member for—–to say what he said was a piece of condescension that was rather amusing.” Another member spoke, and (according to the report) at the close of his own speech called attention to the state of the House, which was immediately “counted out.”

Mr. Heke had said in his speech:—“Honourable members would remember that Tawhiao and other native chiefs went to England for no other purpose than this… These natives, while in England, were confronted by communications sent to the Secretary of State for the Colonies by the Government of New Zealand. And now the time had arrived when the natives had thought it proper to have their wish placed before the House in the shape of a bill.”

The member who, by accident or design, emptied the House was a supporter of the government, the absence of whose Native Minister on the occasion was pointed out by Sir Robert Stout. Hó tibi sunt artes!

On a subsequent occasion (19th Oct., 1894) Mr. Heke made a few remarks upon a Banking Bill which so touched the Treasurer, Mr. Ward, that he said “if there can be anything which is calculated in future to lead to abolition of the special representation of the natives in this House” it was the way in which Mr. Heke addressed it.

page 378

The final debates of the session clustered around the subject of federation.

Rumoured annexation of islands in the Pacific by the French, and an influx of French criminals, excited apprehension throughout Australasia.

In November, representatives from all the Australian colonies were gathered in Sydney. From New Zealand Major Atkinson and Sir F. Whitaker went as delegates. All concurred in deprecating annexations in the Pacific, south of the equator, by any foreign power. A draft bill for the constitution of a federal council was framed by the convention, but the New Zealand visitors held aloof from it. So far as was known, public opinion in Maoriland shrank from any formal connection with Australia.

Major Atkinson felt that he was in a minority when declaring in Parliament (Nov., 1884) that “if we are to preserve our liberties, it will not be by isolation, but by confederation in some form or other.” Sir George Grey was confident of public approval when he said on the same occasion, “if you join the Federal Council of Australasia, the effect will be to weaken our national life, to weaken our patriotism.”

On the last day of the session, the conclusion arrived at was that “further negotiations ought to take place between the Australasian colonies with regard to federation.” In compliance with the request of the convention in Sydney, the Imperial Parliament passed a Federal Council Bill in 1884. Some of the Australian colonies availed themselves of its provisions, and periodically sent delegates to the meetings of the Federal Council, but the attitude of New Zealand was unchanged.

The story of federation, Imperial or Australasian, belongs therefore to the history of Australia rather than to that of New Zealand.

It is true that two New Zealand representatives were present at a conference in Melbourne on Australasian federation in 1890, and that when a convention was held in Sydney in 1891, New Zealand delegates attended.

But the Parliamentary resolution sanctioning their appointment declared that they were “not authorized to page 379 bind this colony to come under any federal constitution which may be adopted by such convention.”

The number of these fast-bound delegates was but three, while the sparse population of Western Australia sent seven.18

That which made and marred ministries was public feeling on the question of finance. Not only the burden of the day, but the gloomy forecast of increased taxation to pay interest on hereditary debt, exercised the minds of the New Zealand Parliament and public. Vogel was accustomed to say that his borrowing policy was preferable to the inevitable alternative of Maori warfare; but he could hardly have expected to be believed, unless on the assumption that no assertion is too absurd to find believers.

Smitten to the ground by General Cameron in 1863–4, with ten thousand British soldiers, the Maoris never raised head again.

The guerilla ravages of Te Kooti, and of Titokowaru, had no more to do with the general body of the Maoris than has brigandage in Italy with the government of that country.

Moreover, both Te Kooti and Titokowaru were roused to their misdeeds by wanton acts of the government. When the colonists, however, at Vogel's instigation, submitted themselves to the yoke of the usurer, they rapidly felt its pressure.

The public debt in 186919 was less than six millions sterling. Under the system adopted in 1870, the debt increased “in gross” to thirty millions in March, 1883.

The rates of interest were 5, 4½, and 4 per cent.20 Ministry after ministry propounded schemes for reduction page 380 of the debt, but all schemes resulted in increasing taxation. In 1892 the debt exceeded thirty-nine millions.21

The administration of which Sir R. Stout was the head, and of which Vogel was the financier, failed to restore financial equilibrium, but Major (become Sir Harry) Atkinson formed a ministry in Oct., 1887, which by herculean labours, at the cost, it was said, of Atkinson's health, succeeded in the task.

After a general election in 1890, which destroyed his majority, Atkinson retired before the Parliament met in Jan., 1891, and was appointed Speaker of the Legislative Council in place of Sir W. Fitzherbert, who had retired in ill-health. (He died in Feb., 1891.) Many reductions in expenditure and variations in taxation were resorted to by Atkinson in order to obtain the much-desired surplus. New Zealand securities were long at a discount. But the end was attained, and Atkinson's successors, when they met the Parliament, were constrained to admit that he had left a credit balance calculated at nearly £300,000 at the end of the financial year. Nay, more, the volume of exports had been greatly enlarged, and, as a consequence of revived confidence, the public securities had increased in value.

Though Atkinson was no longer in the House22 to defend the measures which were followed by such results, his colleague of former days, Sir John Hall, had returned to the scene, and was ever ready to repel animadversions upon the restorer of the finances. The new ministry, of which Mr. Ballance was the head, although admitting the restoration of the finances, proposed vital changes. They announced their intention to re-purchase private lands in order to apportion them to new owners.

Their methods of taxation discouraged enterprise. Mr. Ballance, defending a graduated tax, said—“Let them divide the land, and each family hold their own share, and then there will be no taxation at all. That is exactly what page 381 we want.”23 The belief that the prosperity of England had been promoted by safeguards for personal freedom and property found no place in the minds of Mr. Ballance and some of his associates. They thought it popular to propose to pillage the rich. They would tax men, not in proportion to their possessions, but by the iniquity of leaps and bounds in a graduated scale, so that the presumably rich might be mulcted, with no regard to equity or proportion. The natural, and, therefore, just, graduation by which the man with £10,000 pays ten times as much taxation as the man with £1000 was, in their eyes, feeble and incapable of buying support in the constituencies.

They affected to be wise men propounding great principles, though they were but recurring developments of the mean order which has preyed upon many communities of old. Sir Henry Maine had predicted their conduct as a form of bribery—the necessary result of the decay of the early English form of representative government—which “diminished the difficulties of popular government in exact proportion to the diminution of the number of persons who had to decide public questions.”

The betrayal of 1867 and the contrivances of 1884 had bartered away the principles under which England had thriven, and justice had been an Englishman's birthright.

The corruption of coming days would be, in Sir H. Maine's opinion, the “process of legislating away the property of one class and transferring it to another.24

The Ballances and Seddons were only creatures of a class whose “passes had been looked upon” by the wise long before the electorates in New Zealand enabled them to act after their kind. They were not the first, and will not be the last of irregulous squanderers of the fruits of other men's industry.

Like Juvenal's Græculus, however, they boast that they page 382 can do anything, and dogmatize upon all subjects with equal confidence.

Some recent legislation may be glanced at.

A Government Insurance Office has existed for many years, and it was soon followed (1872) by a Public Trust Office. In Dec., 1893, the Public Trustee had under control more than two thousand estates, representing an aggregate of nearly a million and a-half sterling. Some of his functions—such as the control of intestate estates— were of a kind commonly performed by civil departments, but others were different, and it is claimed that the experiment has been eminently successful.

These efforts in legislation, however, were due to the individual exertions of public men who were able to impress their views upon the legislature.

Far otherwise has it been with regard to the raw legislation which has characterized the laws enacted after the downfall of the ministry of Sir Harry Atkinson in the beginning of 1891.

He had redeemed the finances from distress, and his successor, Mr. Ballance, pledged himself to adhere to Atkinson's “non-borrowing policy.” But he was deeply imbued with wild theories, and was surrounded by supporters ever craving for some new thing.

The House of Representatives had been, before his accession to office, degraded from the status of a body elected by the intelligence and industry of the community, and had become the creature, not of the proletariat, but of the central committees which issue orders as to the candidates who are to be voted for as the friends of the people and of liberty.

Under that name—liberty—(profaned as Madame Roland bitterly deplored) candidates, however immoral or untrustworthy, when branded with the approval of unseen wirepullers, are to be preferred to those who have laboured for years for the good of their neighbours.

The selection of representatives is thus transferred from the conscience of voters to the secret decision of an irresponsible but all-powerful dictation, and many an upright workingman whose good sense might have led him to a page 383 reasonable decision becomes a mere counter in the hands of a “caucus.”

Success at the polls breeds a longing to control the government, and a government which owes its existence to the “caucus” is too often ready to frame its legislation to satisfy its masters. There are those who foresee and dread the result of such abnegation of reason, but submit to it with grief as the result of what they call “the spirit of the age;” like the befooled Gloucester, making “heavenly compulsion” guilty of their disasters.

It is true that rapid communication throughout the world enables plotters in one part of the world to correspond rapidly with plotters in another, but it is not true that the things plotted are in any manner the outcome of a new spirit in the world.

Greece, Rome, Grecian colonies, mediaeval republics and principalities, and the antics of Masaniello, furnish ample evidence that the civium ardor prava jubentium has never been absent in historic times.

It may never be absent from mankind, and when submitted to it may never cease to wreak misery upon states.

Thersites, perhaps, had admirers who preferred him to Ulysses; but the words which the greatest of Englishmen puts in the mouth of Ulysses, as to order and disorder, will survive all ephemeral politics framed in defiance of their wisdom.25

If all voters were to study for themselves it might be hoped that they would vote not only conscientiously, but with knowledge.

If it be thought that only a poet could imagine such things, let the words of the historian Gibbon on the French Revolution, in 1792 (confirmed as they speedily were), correct the thought—“This total subversion of all rank, order, and government could be productive only of a popular monster, which, after devouring everything else, must finally devour itself.”

page 384

This is not the place for disquisition on political economy, and there are wise works which might deter the boldest writer from handling such a topic, even if space were available.

It is sufficient to refer to two works26 recently published in England which handle the subjects which the experimentalists in New Zealand have signally maltreated.

The monstrous claims of the “Labour Socialists” are, perhaps, most fitly exposed by quoting their own words:—“The special ability or energy with which some persons are born is an unearned increment due to the influence of the struggle for existence, and, consequently, having been produced by society is as much due to society as the unearned increment of rent.”

Another of their teachers declared that “the right of a man over his own body and capacities is itself a large assumption, not necessarily admitted by Socialists.”

Those who read “Industry and Property” will find these phrases fitly dealt with.

How many New Zealand legislators are saturated with these notions, or find it profitable to profess that they are, it is needless to inquire, but a few of their works may be referred to. There are, of course, several members who are known as, and style themselves, “labour members,” and do not aspire to the distinction of representatives of New Zealand. They have passed laws which appear in the New Zealand Official Year Book as “labour laws.” Factories Acts (three), Shops and Shop Assistant Acts (two), Employers’ Liability Acts (two), Workmen's Wages Act 1893, Truck Act 1891, Contractors’ and Workmen's Lien Act 1892, Servants’ Registry Offices Act 1892, Industrial and Conciliation Arbitration Act 1894, Shipping and Seamen's Act Amendment Act 1894, are collected together. In the last-named, we are told that “all seamen are to be engaged and discharged at the Custom House,” and that under the Factories Act “laundries, bakeries, packing establishments, freezing works, brickyards, breweries, dairy page 385 factories, &c., all come within the reach of its provisions,” the secretary of the department of labour being the compiler of the article on the subject.

Although Atkinson's toil relieved Mr. Ballance from pressure at the Treasury, his successor plunged into financial legislation which must be mentioned. Mr. Ballance pledged himself to adhere to the “non-borrowing policy” by which Atkinson had restored the finances, and redeemed the credit of New Zealand. His successor, Mr. Seddon, on accession to office in 1893, professed that he would walk in Ballance's footsteps. But the professions of those who strive to retain office by means of what they call the “labour vote” are subject to revulsions. In 1887, alluding to the existing surplus revenue in Victoria, he ascribed it to the high prohibitory duties there. “What is wanted (he said) is for New Zealand to place herself in the same position.” In a few years the Victorian surplus had vanished—a portentous deficiency took its place—and there was apprehension lest Mr. Seddon should succeed in placing New Zealand in the position which he had ignorantly coveted.

On the 24th June, 1894, the New Zealand Parliament was opened with a speech congratulating the members on abounding prosperity. On the 29th of the same month Mr. Seddon urged the House to pass a Bank of New Zealand Share Guarantee Bill for £2,000,000, the Treasurer stating bluntly that the “government felt that there was nothing for it but to submit the proposal for the guarantee of two millions of preference shares.” Challenged by the leader of the Opposition as to the discrepancy between the statement in the speech and the demand for the bill, Mr. Seddon said—“When that statement was written, the colony had every reason to congratulate itself.”27 The bill was passed through both Houses in one day, the Council pausing to examine witnesses, of whom Mr. Seddon was one and a representative of the bank was another.

page 386

Having thus early in the session of 1894 eschewed the “non-borrowing policy” to which they had been pledged, Mr. Seddon's ministry launched into various enterprises, the results of which future writers must chronicle, and under which future taxpayers may groan.28

The items were registered thus in the financial columns of an English newspaper:

Guarantee to the Bank of New Zealand £2,000,000
Repurchase of lands from private owners 250,000
Surveys and roads 250,000
Native lands expenditure 250,000
Advances to settlers 1,500,000
Creation of colonial consols 1,000,000

One subject which the Ballance ministry were enabled by the Marquis of Ripon to meddle with must be referred to. Before Sir H. Atkinson retired from the Lower House in Jan., 1891, and accepted for himself a seat in, and the Speakership of the Upper House, he and his colleagues had urged the Governor (the Earl of Onslow) to appoint several new members in the Council. Lord Onslow thought it his “duty29 to demand from them an assurance that the advice was tendered, less with a view to reward party services than for the purpose of strengthening the efficiency of the Upper House.” That assurance was given, and the Governor accepted the advice. Petitions meanwhile had been presented to the Governor, entreating him to refrain from making any such appointments; but after mature consideration, six new members were formally appointed on the 20th Jan., 1891, the Parliament being convened for the 23rd Jan.

Before the six members were thus appointed, the ministry had advised the Governor to appoint eleven new councillors, the Council at the time being thirty-nine in number. The Governor was averse from creating “a dangerous precedent,” which a minister might use “for party purposes to swamp an adverse vote in the Upper House.” Atkinson, after page 387 some delays, abated his demands, and six new members were appointed by the Governor on the assurance above stated. Lord Onslow reported his proceedings to Lord Knutsford, then Secretary of State, who deemed that the Governor had “acted strictly in accordance with the constitution of the colony,” but offered no “opinion upon the action” of the ministry in tendering their advice.

When the House met in New Zealand, Mr. Ballance (the head of a new ministry) and others condemned the conduct of their predecessors, and one member was permitted to carry through a second reading a bill to cancel the appointments.

Families, institutions, or countries which fail to set their affairs in order in quiet times often reap untoward consequences. An occurrence in New South Wales in 1861 had furnished a precedent which had long guided governors in calling new members to the nominated Upper Houses existing in New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand. The precedent had, however, been created because a scandalous attempt had been made to stifle one branch of a legislature, and it was unwise for any nominated House to desist from effort to fix by law (by limitation of number or otherwise) some bounds which no unscrupulous ministry could overpass. In New Zealand no such law had been enacted, and the natural consequence followed.

The events which had caused the Secretary of State (Duke of Newcastle) to admonish Sir J. Young, the Governor of New South Wales in 1861, belong to Australian history, but the Duke's despatches applied as cogently to New Zealand as to any other colony in which a nominated House existed.

Sir John Young, in May, 1861, consented to appoint twenty-one new members to enable a ministry to force a Land Bill through the Upper House in Sydney. They were appointed; but as they could not take their seats, the object in view was defeated by circumstances over which the plotting ministers and pliable Governor had no control.30

page 388

On the 26th July, the Duke of Newcastle wrote to Sir J. Young:—“I cannot pass by without notice your report of the means which you took, by the advice of your responsible advisers, to ensure the passing of the Land Bills through the Legislative Council, the creation, namely, upon a sudden, and for a single night, of a number of Legislative councillors, which you do not specify, but which must have been sufficient to convert a large majority against the bills into a majority in their favour. I am fully sensible of the very difficult position in which you found yourself when pressed to take such a course, under a threat of resignation, by ministers whom, you say, you could not have replaced. I regret, however, that they should have offered you that advice, and that you, even under the circumstances which you describe, should have accepted it. A measure so violent, and in its nature so unconstitutional, could only be justified by circumstances of the gravest danger and the greatest urgency, which did not, as it appears to me, exist on the present occasion… I have thought it my duty to say so much by way of comment upon a proceeding which is not creditable to the cause of constitutional government in Australia, while it tends to weaken the position of the Governor”.…

For more than a quarter of a century the spirit of this despatch had prevailed in regulating nominations to Legislative Councils, although discussions had taken place as to particular appointments. In 1892, Mr. Ballance, Mr. Seddon, and their colleagues resolved to “better the example” shown by Sir H. Atkinson in 1891. An Act had been passed in 1891 dealing with the constitution of the Council, and that body had unwisely (while consenting that any new members should hold their seats for seven years only instead of for life) abstained from insisting on such a limitation of numbers as would make it impossible for any government to overbear, for party purposes, the general sense of the whole body.

In February, 1892, Mr. Ballance asked the Earl of Onslow to appoint eighteen new members of the Council. Lord Onslow declined to do so, his departure being at hand; and, at his desire, the matter was postponed, as his “stay in the colony would not enable him to see the end of the page 389 consequences which a persistent refusal to accept the advice of his ministers would entail.”

A new Governor, the Earl of Glasgow, arrived in June. Mr. Ballance at once advised the appointment of twelve new councillors; and, after consideration, Lord Glasgow declined to appoint more than nine, a number which Mr. Ballance (who probably knew something about the materials at his command) told Lord Glasgow was “worse than useless.” In a long despatch (8th Aug.) to Lord Knuts-ford (then at Downing-street) the Governor explained the position. Admitting that after an appeal to the country in the case of a rejected bill an emergency might arise “to justify the Governor in granting ministers a sufficient number of appointments to bring the Upper House into harmony with the country,” he pointed out that what he was asked to do would subject the freedom of the Council to “the mercy of the ministry”.… “If the constitutional checks which experience has placed on the power of the different bodies are swept away, the result will be a distinct loss of liberty to the colony, and almost absolute power to the ministry.”

The despatch found the Marquis of Ripon at the Colonial Office. It was he who, with the aid of Mr. Gladstone, had so shuffled with terms as to arrange (in the Treaty of Washington, 1871) that the acts done by Governors and British officers during the American War of Secession (with scrupulous anxiety to conform to international law and usages) should be subjected not to that law and those usages, but to a new ex post facto term of which no governor or British officer had warning while doing his duty.

The public protest of Sir A. Cockburn at Geneva availed nothing against the previous machinations of the High Commissioner at Washington in daily touch with the Prime Minister in England. England was fined for not having complied in 1861–2 with a concession made by Gladstone in 1871.

As England suffered in 1871, so were the highest interests of New Zealand to suffer in 1892.

The ignoble Marquis thus instructed the Governor on 24th Sept.:—“I have no hesitation in advising you to accept your ministers’ advice. It does not appear to be a case of page 390 swamping the Legislative Council. The division lists of that body should be considered rather than politics of Premiers who originally nominated the members. I will state fully my reasons by despatch, but you should at once re-open matter with your ministers and waive your objections to their proposals. The Agent-General is anxious for information which I cannot withhold after to-morrow, but I am anxious to give you an opportunity of making your own announcement to your ministers.”

The mingled meanness and ineptitude of such a document may be dismissed in few words.

The Governor of the colony was treated with insolence, because a subordinate of his government was (like a newsagent) importuning for news in an ante-room.

Regulations, long respected as necessary to “the providence in a watchful state,” were abandoned at the behest of a wild theorist puffed beyond measure by sudden accession to place. Wise traditions and instructions were scattered to the winds.

Support due to the Governor was treacherously denied to him. He promptly replied: “27th Sept. Received your telegram; acted according to your advice.”

There were further despatches, in one of which the Governor pointed out that the constitutional solution of the question would more properly have been worked out in the colony, but that he did not wish to “appear to interfere with the undoubted right of his ministers to appeal to the Secretary of State.”

A Secretary of State who informs a Governor that he must within a few hours blab State proceedings to an interviewer, has resources of which the Earl of Glasgow might well be unsuspicious.

As far as Lord Ripon31 was concerned, he dealt a deadly blow to the well-being of all British colonies possessing page 391 nominated Chambers. He was the false steward described in “King Lear”:—

“Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain,
Which are too intrinse to unloose.”

Unless more prudence be found in New South Wales and in Queensland than in New Zealand, those colonies may yet regret the day which inducted to the Colonial Office such a renegade as Lord Ripon from the wiser traditions of his predecessors.

An irregular interference with the judiciary by the Atkinson ministry was the subject of acrimonious contention in the New Zealand Parliament. Mr. Edwards received a commission as judge of the Supreme Court in March, 1890, having been on the previous day informed by Atkinson of his appointment to the office of commissioner under a Native Lands Court Acts Amendment Act of 1890. Five judges were at the time provided for by law, and in order to pay a sixth the government placed in the estimates an item (for the “Salary of Commissioner and Judge Edwards”), which was objected to in the House, as dangerous to the position of a judge, who ought to be independent of an annual vote. Of the contentions in the House no more need be said than that the government did not obtain leave to bring in a bill to legalize the appointment of an additional judge. Edwards’ appointment as commissioner came to an end in March, 1891, the Atkinson ministry having retired, and Mr. Ballance (who had denounced Edwards' original appointment), being at the head of the new ministry. The ministry called on Edwards to show cause why his commission should not be cancelled, and on what authority he claimed to act as a judge. Three Supreme Court judges decided in his favour; two against him. The Ballance government appealed to the Privy Council.

On the 21st May, 1892, the Judicial Committee reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal in New Zealand, holding page 392 that it was not competent for the government to add to the number of judges in existence and duly provided for at the time of Edwards’ irregular nomination. The matter was somewhat complicated by a variety of local Acts, 1841, 1844, the (Imperial) Constitution Act 1852, and succeeding local enactments; but the judgment of the judicial committee found nothing in those Acts which compelled them to decide adversely to the paramount principle that the Executive government shall have no control over the judiciary.

Colonists might well derive comfort from the reflection that no local interests could be suspected of warping the calm justice of the distant tribunal of appeal.

In 1893, votes for members of Parliament were given to women in New Zealand. Sir John Hall, who had (to gain or retain ascendancy) widened the suffrage for men, was credited with earnestness in extending it to women. The ministry were taunted as under-hand opponents of the proposal. They were equal to the occasion, if there was truth in the taunt, and made a merit of necessity when they thought that a majority was in favour of the project.

A general Electoral Bill, containing the new provision, passed through both Houses, but not without an eloquent protest from Mr. Bowen in the Council.32

Payment of members, which in earlier days had been euphuistically disguised as honorarium, was in later time embraced as mercenary; but members of the Upper House received less than the Lower, being rated at £150 each, while the Lower members were valued at £240, in an Act passed in 1892.

When it was found that members’ claims accrued not from the date of appointment or election, but from that of taking their seats, a bill was rapidly passed in 1893 to remove the restriction in future. Mr. Scotland vehemently but vainly remonstrated against the innovation.

In New Zealand, as in other colonies and in England, a grotesque heresy has obtained footing. It is urged that page 393 sections of the people are entitled to representation in Parliament as delegates, to enforce their sectional demands, rather than as representatives labouring for the general good. In Bishop Stubbs’ searching analysis of the English Constitution it has been shown that the representative principle which once distinguished England was based on a totally different foundation; upon representation of various localities, and not upon numbers; upon intelligence and industry, which had borne wholesome fruits, rather than on clamour which had borne no fruit at all or fruit like that of the Dead Sea.

There must be “labour members,” it was said, and by the extension of the suffrage, in England in 1867 and 1884, and in the colonies, the claim was wreaked into fact. Never was there more ample proof that weeds grow apace where continuous toil is needed to produce wholesome crops.

“Labour candidates,” eo nomine, abound, and “labour members.” Mr. Ballance, accordingly, when Lord Ripon conspired with him in overbearing the Upper House in New Zealand,33 was careful to put four “labour members” in the list which the Governor was compelled under the Secretary of State's mandate to accept.

The judicious might grieve, but for them Lord Ripon did not care.

Many of the public men of New Zealand vanished from the scene in the decade ending in 1893.

Sir William Fitzherbert, who in 1867 had persuaded the Colonial Office to forego large pecuniary claims, and had consolidated the New Zealand loans, passed away before the Parliament assembled in June, 1891.

Though advanced in years, he had gone to England to take part in the colonial conference of 1887 summoned by Lord Salisbury's government at the instance of the Imperial Federation League, founded under the guidance of Mr. W. E. Forster. There he worthily maintained his reputation, and, on returning to New Zealand, resumed his page 394 post as Speaker of the Council. When the parting address of that body on his retirement was presented to him, he conveyed, through two of its members, his warm thanks for the honour done to him, and added wise words (on the functions of the Council), which were ordered by that body to be printed.

The death of another member of the Council, Captain Fraser34 (whose manly protest against the Bill of Attainder of Te Whiti is recorded in these pages), occurred in June 1891, and both Houses adjourned in token of respect. Sir John Hall said that “of the most distinguished early colonists there was none more distinguished.”

In the same year Sir Frederick Weld passed away, and though he had long been absent from the colony (had, indeed, been Governor of Tasmania, and of the Straits Settlements, and had retired to England), in both Houses there were touching eulogies upon his undisputed merits.35 In 1892, the seat of Sir Frederick Whitaker, who had for so many years been a power in one or other House, and in various governments, was vacant. His former colleagues did not fail to commend his industry and power. On the 28th June, one of them, Sir Harry Atkinson, as Speaker of the Council, heard another expatiate upon Whitaker's qualities, and none knew that the angel of death was hovering so near that on the following day Atkinson's own death would be announced at the hour of meeting.

For him, the strong man, who, at cost, it seemed, of his own life, had re-established solvency in the State, there was deep lamentation.

Not only his former colleagues in power, but even opponents, testified to his distinguished services. Sir John Hall, Mr. Rolleston, and Mr. Oliver were unmeasured in their praises; and the latter gave pathetic interest to the page 395 event by telling the Council that, after the previous day's sitting, Atkinson said to him—“I should very much like to have said a few words myself on the losses which we have sustained, but I did not dare to attempt it.”

In April, 1893, Mr. Ballance, the head of the ministry, died, after long illness, which had necessitated his occasional absence from the House during the session of 1892.

His successor, Mr. Seddon, was supported by the Opposition leader (Mr. Rolleston) in moving a resolution deploring the “serious loss” sustained by the colony, and it was carried unanimously.

Death hushes the sound of detraction, and his scythe had within a few years mown down many prominent men in New Zealand.

Sir William Fox passed away in the same year, and both Houses paid kindly tribute to his memory and his long services. Sir John Hall was conspicuous for the warmth of his sympathy.

The death of the Ngatiawa chief Wi Tako Ngatata in 1887 ought not to be unrecorded. The Legislative Council, of which he was a member, adjourned in respect for his memory. Dr. Grace said:—

“It is impossible for me to consider the disappearance of a man like Wi Tako Ngatata from our midst without giving expression to the boundless feeling of admiration I entertain for men of his type. I say, Sir, that if we have not sufficient greatness of soul to set the proper value on the services rendered to this colony by men like Wi Tako Ngatata we have not been worthy of the services which they have rendered,—we are not worthy of the security which we enjoy, and owe so largely to their services. There was a time when Wi Tako held the balance of power between the Maori king Potatau and the English Queen; a time during the war when he had two thousand armed men under his control, and had he thrown his tomahawk to the right or left, and lent his influence to the Maori king, I do not know what would have become of this settlement. I say we have lost in him one of the greatest natives this country, rich in great men, has ever borne. What sacrifices did the honoirable gentleman make for the benefit of the Europeans! He imperilled by his loyalty to us the whole of his influence with the native race. Every one must know how the spirit of nationality with a volcanic throb moved the Maori people at that time. Who is there that can fail to see the greatness of soul which actuated Te Waharoa when he conceived the idea of a Maori nationality, and who, realizing this, can fail to admit the nicety of the balance of power between the races that existed at that time? It was them Wi Tako, failing to be carried away by the passing impulse of the moment, holding the scales between the two races, gave us the full advantage of his sympathy and ultimately of his support. I have heard the late Dr. Featherston say of him, ‘Wi Tako is the cleverest man, black or white, in the country.”

page 396

That was his estimate of the man's skill, and his appreciation of Wi Tako's power of controlling the wild races he held in the leash. I know that forty years ago, at a time when native troubles were balanced with the greatest nicety in the Hutt, Wi Tako was always found protecting the right of the European. His word was as trusty as ever his tomahawk had been, and, as was well said of him, he had no two tongues—what he promised he performed. I have seen many aspects of the late war; I have seen the Arawa, the Waikato, the Ngatiawa, the Ngatimaniapoto, the Ngatiporou, the Ngatipukeko, the Ngatiruanui, and all the warlike tribes engaged either on one side or the other; and I remember to-day with glowing admiration the chivalry, valour, and magnanimity of this great race of people, who are dying out from our midst, leaving but the memory of their achievements behind them.”

The government accorded a military funeral in honour of the man thus eulogized by Dr. Grace, who knew Ngatata in times of war, and had served with him for many years in the Senate.

In the year 1894 Rewi, the Ngatimaniapoto, passed away at a great age.36

Though it occurred in 1884, the death of William Swainson may here be noted. His legislative labours have already been recorded. His friends were consoled by the testimony of Bishop Cowie, who spoke of him in a funeral sermon as “one of the ablest and most conscientious public servants of his time. William Swainson's life had been a preparation for death. He had kept integrity and observed uprightness, and the issue to him was peace.”

These pages cannot close more fitly than with the name of so wise and good a colonist as Swainson.

1 Aureretanga, pp. 167–168, London, W. Ridgway, 1888.

2 When, in July, 1885, Mr. Gorst, in Parliament, asked the ministry to mediate with the New Zealand government with “a view of securing to the remnant of the Maoris the justice and the rights to which they were entitled under the treaty of Waitangi,” and Lord Randolph Churchill adverted to “the keeping back of information from the House of Commons” Mr. Gladstone retorted that the government “had really provided information sometimes earlier than was altogether justified.”

3 Vide supra, p. 288.

4 Blue Book, 1885, C. 4413, p. 11.

5 Blue Book, C 3382, p. 291.

6 “The Aborigines’ Friend.” May, 1885. “The Aborigines’ Friend” of May, 1886, commenting on Lord Derby's despatch of 23rd June, 1885, sadly asked its readers to contrast its terms with the Earl's promise to the deputation, that after examination, “we will, as far as our power goes, endeavour to do justice.”

7 Mr. Fenton, the Chief Judge of the Native Land Court, told a Committee of the House in 1886 (I No. 8, p. 63.)—“To my mind here is one of the most ruinous results of our Native Lands Acts. These old men, who enlarged the tribe, and preserved the existence of it, are treated, when they get into those titles of the Native Land Court, as a returned slave from Ngapuhi is treated. Being to a certain extent a philo-Maori, if I had seen in 1865 what the result of our Acts would have been, I do not think I should have assisted in their introduction. I should have said ‘Let civilization go to the wall”.’ (Mr. Bryce remarked: “I agree that the effect of these Acts has been very levelling,” and Mr. Fenton added): “Yes, very much. It has destroyed the race.”

8 N.Z. P.P., 1886, I. 8, p. 43.

9 Ib., p. 38.

10 A member told the House in 1889 that a bill of costs was sent in at Gisborne “for £6000; it was imperfectly taxed, but still it was brought down to £1500,” and it was believed that “£300 would have been quite sufficient to cover all proper charges… Two hundred natives were dependent upon the property for existence.” (“N.Z. Hansard,” vol. 66, p. 379.)

11 Speech of Mr. Stevens, 4th July, 1893. (“N.Z. Hansard,” vol. 79, p. 179.)

12 See Vol. I, pp. 249, 264 and n, 307, 338, 364 n, and pp. 87 and 88 in this volume.

13 It was perhaps a sign of moral conversion in other men's minds reflected in his own that Hall, the head of the ministry which made the raid upon Parihaka, said, in. 1892 (“N.Z. Hansard,” vol. 78, p. 577)—“The members of the House were guardians of the native race… When they had grievances to redress, it was the sacred duty of that House to see that these people were given their rights.” Such morality in 1880 would have left Te Whiti unmolested.

14 See his protest against the Education Bill of 1877, p. 137, in this volume.

15 The last census of the Maori population (1891) has been repeated in subsequent official handbooks, and will be found in the appendices.

16 “The Colonies and India,” 13th Feb., 1885.

17 In Sept., 1894, a speech was made in the New Zealand Parliament which ought to be chronicled. The Maori members were accustomed to use the Maori language, and interpreters translated their speeches.

18 Mr. Ballance (soon to be the head of a New Zealand ministry) said in the debate in 1891—“From every point of view the whole weight of the argument is against New Zealand entering into any federation except a federation with the mother country;” whereupon “attention was called to the state of the House,” and there was a count out. In a previous year (1885) Mr. Ballance, speaking of Mr. W. E. Forster's efforts on behalf of Imperial Federation, had said—“In my opinion the whole thing is a dream until we get rid of monarchy—until we have a republic.” (“N.Z. Hansard,” 1885, vol. 53, p. 541.)

19 “Official Hand-book of New Zealand.” Edited by the Agent-General (Sir F. D. Bell); London: Stanford, 1883. P. 31.

20 Ib.

21 “The Seven Colonies of Australasia;” T. B. Coghlan, Government Statistician, N.S.W., 1893.

22 Vogel's name disappears from the “N. Z. Hansard” in 1889. It appeared in Sept., 1885, in a petition averring that he had received no commission on a loan when he was agent, and that when his appointment was cancelled “no compensation was allowed him.”

23 “N.Z. Hansard,” vol. 78, p. 256.

24 Popular Government, p. 106. The sagacity of Hamilton and his coadjutors in framing the constitution of the United States has been lately (1895) illustrated by a decision of the Supreme Court that a recent impost was unconstitutional and therefore void. Certain forms of pillage by process of legislation which have been practised in English colonies, and resorted to by Sir W. Harcourt and Lord Rosebery in England, encounter a serious obstacle in the United States.


“Take but degree away…
And hark! what discord follows… right or wrong
Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then everything includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite.
And appetite, a universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce a universal prey,
And last eat up himself.”

26 “Labour and the Popular Welfare,” W. H. Mallock, A. & C. Black, London, 1894. “Industry and Property,” George Brooks, 2 vols., 1894, The Duke of Argyll's “Foundations of Society” is another work which cannot be too widely read on the same subjects.

27 “N.Z. Hansard,” 1894, vol. 83, p. 171. On another occasion, when reminded of precedents adverse to his contention, Mr. Seddon retorted—“The New Zealand Parliament is considerably in advance of other Parliaments, and I myself do not lay much stress upon precedents, or upon what occurs elsewhere.”—“N.Z. Hansard,” vol. 82, p. 644.

28 “Addressing his constituents to-night (in New Zealand), Mr. Lawry, the government whip, said he believed that a great scheme of borrowing would be submitted by the government at the next general election, for the purposes of railway construction.”—Melbourne “Argus,” 7th June, 1895.

29 Blue-Book, 1893.—New Zealand and Colonies. (Upper House). 198.

30 Blue-Book, 1893.—New Zealand and Colonies. (Upper House). 198, p. 74; also in a New South Wales Parliamentary Paper, 1872.

31 The subject was discussed in the New Zealand Parliament. Sir G. Grey said—“If we are performing a revolutionary act in swelling a body in that way, let us act as revolutionists, and sweep away the Council altogether—let us get rid of the other House at once.” Mr. G. Hutchison said—“We are no longer governed by ourselves, but by the ministry of the day in London.” One of the twelve nominees thus raked into the Council by Lord Ripon, informed his brethren there that an “owner of land is simply a unit of society, and on that ground I think the municipality or local body has a right to put the whole of its taxation on the unimproved value of the land.” In 1889, Mr. Seddon (Mr. Ballance's colleague in stifling the Upper House in 1892) asked if the ministry of the day would offer a bonus for a history of New Zealand. O ccecas hominum mentes! Only an expurgated history could serve Mr. Seddon's purposes.

32 The gallant Ropata Wahawaha reminded the Council that when the Europeans arrived in New Zealand, “no women were allowed to preach. There were no women ministers, neither did you allow them to appear in your assemblies. It is only within the last few years that the voices of fanatical women have been heard in the streets of Wellington and Gisborne, and other places.”

33 Earl of Onslow's address at Royal Colonial Institute, 14th Nov., 1893. Though the action of Lord Ripon and Mr. Ballance was, perhaps, unprecedented, their motives were common enough, and were thus stated at a public meeting at Blackheath, in 1450:—“It is said Labour in thy vocation, which is as much as to say as—let the magistrates be labouring men; and therefore should we be magistrates.” (Henry VI.)

34 The hearty manner in which Captain Fraser thanked the author of this history in England for the manner in which the story of the Maoris is told in it, was a grateful reward for past labour, and an antidote to future obloquy. It was, he said, what he and other lovers of justice had long-sighed for.

35 The author had some correspondence with Sir F. Weld while writing this history, and knew him personally afterwards, and though his views did not coincide with those of Sir Frederick as to the rape of the Waitara, there was no breach of friendship. In 1890 Sir Frederick did the honours of the old family house, “Chidcock Manor,” to his critic.

36 When Rewi was more than fourscore years old, the author heard him close a Maori discussion in which a young chief appeared to Rewi some what forward. When the young man sat down, Rewi rose, and leaning on his staff said—“When an important matter is debated, the low places speak to the little hills, the hills speak to the mountains, and (significantly raising his right hand to his head) the mountains settle it.” There was no further debate.