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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 10

Origin of the New Zealand war; and who are responsible for the payment of all expenses arising therefrom. By Veritas [pseud.]

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Origin of the New Zealand War;

Printed for Private Circulation

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Stranoeways and Walden, Printers London Castle St. Leicester Sq.

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The New Zealand War.

As the Anglo-Saxon race is now thoroughly involved in an expensive war against the aborigines in New Zealand, and the English Government have been lately asked to sanction the "Suppression of Rebellion Act," and the "Confiscation of "Native Lands Act," recently passed by the local legislature at Auckland, I deem it right to print the following observations, which are the result of personal know ledge and experience, after a long residence in that colony.

The European population, or settlers, about ten years ago, being ambitious of obtaining self-government, got up constant local agitations, and afterwards importuned the mother-country for that novel system of legislation which they chose to designate "responsible government in its integrity." The Imperial Government, I presume, heartily sickened by these pertinacious demands, was induced at last to sanction the appeals. Whether this measure was wise for any colony, much less one so young, with comparatively small and widely scattered communities, while the warlike aborigines were so numerous, is a matter of doubt, if not for grave regret. Sir George Grey was Governor during the period, viz. 1853, and disapproved the demands of the clamorous page 4 settlers; hence arose the hatred towards him of a strong political party; and before they attained their end His Excellency returned to England, not, however, without leaving many indubitable proofs of his foresight and wisdom, one of the principal instances of which was his enactment prohibiting the sale of arms and gunpowder to the natives, except in very small quantities for sporting purposes, and with great restrictions. The late Major-General Wynyard, C.B., became acting Governor during Sir George Grey's absence, and strictly adhered to his policy until he was obliged to inaugurate the new system called "Responsible Government" (May 1854), prior to his being relieved by Governor Gore Browne from England, in September 1855.

The natives were so astonished at the new form of government that they were quite incapable of reconciling it with the Supremacy of the Queen, who prior to this they had been accustomed to consider ruled the colony through Her representative the Governor. They became still more confounded with the election of the Six Superintendents of the various provinces, and of a Colonial Ministry, who seemed to possess, and in reality exercised, the entire control of the Local Legislature, besides quite usurping all the power of patronage in the country. The Maoris used contemptuously to designate the Superintendents "Hickapenny" * Governors. Observing that they were elected by, and called representatives of, the white population in the houses of Local Parliament, the acute natives therefore very

* Meaning "Sixpenny."

page 5 naturally conceived the idea of electing some representative of themselves or of their own interests in the government of the country, which they daily saw, by the large sales of land, to be rapidly passing from their hands. Hence arose the idea of creating a Maori King, which, unfortunately for themselves, was a misnomer; though, had the term been altered to that of a native "Minister," an "Attorney General," or "Superintendent," there would have been no more rebellion in their primitive demands than (as they had so often opportunities of observing) there was in the constant agitations of the democratic body, the chosen "representatives" of the colonists themselves, who enabled the aborigines, by the whole sale supplies of arms and ammunition, to endeavour to obtain their wishes by physical force, instead of the casuistic arguments and sophistry requisite to fit them for coping with the ministerial representatives of the civilized European races, by whom they saw that they were dispossessed of nearly the whole of their country.

His Excellency, Colonel Gore Browne, immediately after his arrival, gave (if not the reins of government) at least such satisfaction to the newly-elected representatives of the colonists, that they at once increased his salary to £1000 per annum more than that of his predecessor, Sir George Grey.

Mr. R. C. Richmond, from Taranaki, was created Colonial Treasurer; Mr. Stafford, from Nelson, Colonial Secretary; and Mr. Whitaker, of Auckland, Colonial Attorney-General. These three gentlemen were chosen representatives of the colonists in the Ex- page 6 ecutive Council of the Governor, and in June 1857,* pressed by their party supporters (wealthy land-jobbers and settlers), deemed it prudent to urge on his Excellency Colonel Gore Browne the advisability of relaxing the ordinance which prohibited the sale of arms and gunpowder to the aborigines. This relaxing, as it was designated, proved afterwards to be quite equivalent to a removal of that very important law.

The late Major-General R. H. Wynyard, C.B., then in command of the forces in New Zealand, and ex officio a member of the Executive Council, was so astounded at the suicidal proposition of the Colonial Ministers just named, that he officially protested against it, and did all in his power to dissuade Governor Browne from being led into this enormous error, but without success; and as his Excellency was nominally the sole ruler in all matters connected with the natives, General Wynyard obtained permission to withdraw his presence from the Executive Council during the time that very impolitic measure was discussed, but left an official memorandum of his individual opposition. Bishop Selwyn, Archdeacons Kissling, and Brown, and Maunsell of the Waikato

* Between 25 th of June, 1857, and 31st of March, 1858, a period of only nine months, there were sold to the natives, by sanction of the colonial councillors, viz., Messrs. Whitaker, Richmond, and Stafford, 7849 pounds of gunpowder, and 752 double and single barrelled guns, in addition to the vast quantities sold clandestinely. These supplies increased monthly and yearly till after the declaration of war at Taranaki in 1860, the merchants and traders in the colony making, all the while, very large profits by this most lucrative traffic.

page 7 district, each at the time endeavoured to dissuade his Excellency* from entertaining such an extraordinary proposition of the Colonial Ministry, but to no purpose. After the withdrawal from the Council Chamber of the Officer commanding the Forces, Governor Browne allowed his ministry to induce him to render nugatory the Arms Ordinance of Sir George Grey. General Wynyard made an official report to the Horse Guards and War Office on the subject on the 4th September, 1857, and again on the 7th January, 1858; he had previously reported to the home authorities as far back as August, 1854, the disturbed state of the native mind, and a tendency to revolt, provoked through European agency. Had this officer's urgent suggestions been attended to by the colonial advisers of the Governor, the late disastrous war at Taranaki, costing a million sterling, and the present one, which will amount to at least five or six millions, would undoubtedly have been avoided.
The plea for arming the Maoris set up by the colonial councillors of Governor Browne, and used in his dispatches to the Secretary of State, as well as afterwards advanced by the supporters of colonial misrule in the Imperial Parliament, was, "that the

* One of the most powerful friendly Native Chiefs (Tamati Waka) likewise waited upon the Governor for the same purpose.

The writer was informed by General Wynyard, that on the same day that he withdrew from the Council, one of the Ministry met him in the street, and jocosely twitted him by saying, "Well, we got on very well without you."

No doubt these important documents can easily be produced if necessary.

page 8 natives were enabled to smuggle from the vessels along the coast any amount of arms and gunpowder;" it was therefore expedient to make such traffic lawful, so that all the merchants and settlers in the colony might derive the benefit of the trade thereby. The consequence of such unwise policy was that almost unlimited supplies of guns, rifles, and gunpowder, were imported and sold to the Maories, who, in fact, scarcely ever spent their money in purchasing anything else from 1857 till the declaration of the war in February, 1860, a period of about three years, during which time many of the chiefs, in the Waikato and elsewhere, built large magazines, and hoarded up the armaments which have since been turned against the troops and colonists. It was quite a common thing to see canoes laden with thirty or forty barrels of powder leaving Auckland; an order from the resident magistrate had only to be obtained for the sale and shipment, but these orders from a servant of the Colonial Government were treated quite as a matter of course, and were commonly signed in blank, and filled up by a clerk when required, either for a barrel or a ton of gunpowder,* or for one gun, or a case of rifles. The latter were invariably imported and sold

* The clerk to the magistrate informed the writer of the above fact.

The writer knows that the large military magazines were used to store many thousands of barrels of gunpowder, which were almost exclusively imported for, and sold to, the aborigines by the merchants and traders in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand. One of these worthies informed him, that he alone cleared £800, by selling guns within a very short time after the relaxing of the "Arms Ordinance," and that it was the finest thing for the colony, because if it now only took two regiments to keep the natives in order, it would very shortly require four; and we, the colonists, should get the advantage of the military expenditure. He, likewise mentioned, that if the Government were fools enough to allow the sale of arms and ammunition to the natives, why should he not, as well as other traders, make a profit by it? The individual who thus expressed himself is, both in the colony and in England, one of the staunchest and most unscrupulous supporters of the Whitaker, Richmond, and Stafford war party.

page 9 under the designation of fowling-pieces, guns, or muskets, the sale of rifles being prohibited by Governor Gore Browne and his ministry.

Supposing that the reasons advanced for this wholesale arming of the aborigines had even been valid, because, occasionally, a few barrels of powder and a few old muskets were smuggled along the coast, common sense dictates that the right course would have been to make the restrictions more stringent than those of Sir George Grey, and the punishment much greater in the event of infringements; but this method the Governor and the same councillors neglected to adopt until the latter end of 1860, long after they had committed themselves to a war with the natives by the forcible seizure of 600 acres of land, before they had completed the purchase there of these acts become, therefore, the best commentaries on the former conduct of those who are morally responsible for such fearful results; and the proof of the difficulties in smuggling "any quantity of arms and gunpowder along the coast, since the restrictions were re-imposed, is evinced by the difficulties the Maoris now have in obtaining additional supplies, one having, it is said, recently offered page 10 600 sovereigns for 300 boxes of percussion caps." And by later accounts a Maori woman offered a sovereign for a few brass eyelet-holes, by filling the centre of which with phosphorus, scraped off lucifer-matches, the natives find them available for use in lieu of percussion caps, thus proving their cleverness as well as the extremities to which they are at present reduced for munitions of war.

The "Daily Southern Cross" newspaper published at Auckland as recently as the 30th July, 1863, states as follows:—

"Before the commencement of the war at Taranaki, in 1860, scores of Europeans were engaged in the profitable trafficking of arms and ammunition to the Maoris, With the full Knowledge that they would be used against men of their own race.

"War begun, and Government* offered a large reward of £300 for the conviction of offenders, but were afraid to prosecute them or interfere with the Maori purchasers, when information was given by gentlemen residing in the districts where the trade was carried on in a wholesale manner, but contented itself with prosecuting some starving wretch entrapped by the Detective Police Department of Auckland:"

After England has had to pay so many millions of money for the war, consequent upon the arming of the natives, and the illegal seizure of their lands, through the instrumentality, and by special advice, of the colonial representatives, it now transpires that a bloody and costly war, and ruined settlements,

* Viz. Messrs. Whitaker, Richmond, and Stafford.

page 11 have all proceeded from "a mistake" which was not remedied early enough to prevent subsequent evils, the extent of which cannot now he calculated; and the present Governor, Sir George Grey, found himself obliged, in June 1863, to issue a proclamation giving back the said 600 acres to the rightful native owners of the Waitera block at Taranaki. It has since been ascertained that Sir George Grey was unable to give up the Waitera land till after the murders of Lieutenant Tragett's detachment, owing to the Governor being obliged first to obtain the sanction of his colonial responsible ministry, who were in Auckland.

At the present time, the most important question to be considered is, who are responsible for the payment of the war now in progress, produced originally and throughout by acts, brought about by the advice and consent of the colonial councillors, who were the elect of the European population. No one for a moment can suppose that Governor Browne would have acted all through in the way he did, Except with the advice and consent of his Colonial Ministry.

There can be no doubt, also, that the poorer classes of settlers, especially at Taranaki, or those not long in the colony, are innocent of participation in the plots or plans which have been the means of ruining their prospects and properties; the real delinquents are the wealthy settlers, political adventurers, and land-jobbers, Whose More Powerful Influence in the Responsible Government of the colony supported a party which has avowedly, for page 12 many years past, advocated a war of extermination of the aborigines, to produce which they have done everything in their power to encourage, under the pretence and cloak of maintaining the Queen's supremacy, and for the sake of the enormous military expenditure, as well as the acquisition of lands in the Northern Island, which they for so many years have been coveting, intending, all the while, that Great Britain shall pay the cost of their well-matured plans,* which are represented by them as entirely consequent upon the acts of the Governor appointed by the Queen. As the mother-country has given the settlers in New Zealand the government of that colony, and their representatives persuaded the Governor, appointed by the Crown, to commit such a series of mistakes, which they endorsed by their signatures, it is but just that the expenses of the last and present war should be borne by the colony, and not made a tax upon the British public.

Mr. Richmond (the Colonial Treasurer from Taranaki) mentioned in one of his last speeches (session 1861) in the House of Representatives, in support of the policy pursued by his party, that, "for four years prior the Government had indubitable evidence of hostile intentions on the part of the natives against the Europeans; "or, as this gentleman was so fond of saying, "against the Queen's Supremacy:" yet, with such knowledge, in the year 1857 he advised Governor Browne to relax or remove the restriction on the wholesale supply of Arms and Gun-powder to "the warlike and savage race" Mr.

* Or that the native lands shall be confiscated for the purpose.

page 13 Stafford, the Colonial Secretary, in opposition to the Fox party, stated in one of his last speeches (1861), that those who advocated peace with the natives "were cowards, knaves, and slaves;" and, more recently in England, one of the Colonial Ministerial Representatives, Mr, Crosbie Ward, openly advocated sending to Australia for Europeans to aid in defending the colonists from the aborigines, and to reward such hirelings with grants of land from the confiscated territories. Nothing was more common than to hear both settlers and members of the Colonial Houses of Representatives freely advising their "Declaration of Independence" and sending to America and Australia for adventurers to protect themselves from the aborigines, if England would not send British troops at their solicitation. Queere: Who are, in truth, most deserving of the term "Rebels," the natives or such colonists? Captain Sir Everard Home, R.N., many years ago, officially reported that a military force was more requisite to check the rebellion of Europeans than of the natives in New Zealand.

I am not a great admirer of savages, nor of colonial politicians, unless it be for the cunning and impudent courage they each display to obtain a selfish end. As, however, the former approach nearer to barbarism, there is the greater excuse to be made in charity for their delinquencies. When the British public pay their money to enter the territories of the shareholders of the Zoological Gardens, they at least rely and expect that the managing directors will not bid their keepers open the dens of all the ferm naturtce, so that the carnivora shall rush upon and page 14 devour the innocent adventurers. In the same manner, I hold that the settlers in New Zealand, having the election of their own directors in the Executive Council of the Governors, are, in common justice and equity, responsible for their acts; therefore the colonists are both legally and morally responsible for the payment of all injuries produced through the instrumentality and cupidity of their influence in the government of a country peopled with a semibarbarian race.

The position of the present Governor, Sir George Grey, surrounded by political adventurers, who represent the so-called "responsible government" (qucere, irresponsible), is anything but enviable; and it is very unfortunate that his exigencies have obliged him to acknowledge a Colonial Attorney-General who has all along been one of the "hangerson "and supporters of the Richmond and Stafford war party: this legal adviser held the same situation under Governor Gore Browne, when, with his colleagues, Messrs. Stafford and Richmond, he counselled the relaxing of the restrictions on the sale of arms and gunpowder to the aborigines. The same attorney is now the elected chief law adviser of the local legislature, and has advocated the recent "Rebellion Act," and the Act for confiscating the lands of the natives, by which it is proposed (if the English Government sanction it) to defray the loan of three millions sterling towards the expenses of the war, which he and his colleagues, by their advice and influence over Governor Gore Browne, were mainly instrumental in originating in the year 1860.*

* It appears that Mr. Whitaker, the present Attorney-General of the colonists, introduced and carried, in the New Zealand Parliament (at their last session), the two "Acts" above referred to, against the earnest opposition of Mr. Swainson, formerly Her Majesty s Attorney-General for the Colony, and against all the arguments used by the minority of "Honourable Gentlemen" who are the elected representatives of the settlers in their Houses of legislation. The present New Zealand Colonial Executive Council is composed of the "Attorney-General," the "Colonial Secretary," the "Native Minister," and the "Treasurer;" the three former are lawyers, and the latter is said to be a land-surveyor and house-builder. The Attorney-General, Mr. Whitaker, is a solicitor, well known in connexion with the "Barrier Island," and "Kawau "copper-mining speculations; he owns also a vast tract of land, called the Peako Block, situated on the delta of the Thames and Waikato rivers, which land was purchased for some paltry amount per acre, many years ago, and though said to be rich in itself, was valueless in the market so long as the Waikato territories remained in possession of the aborigines.

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His Excellency Sir George Grey was solicited to give up the government of the Cape of Good Hope, in order to return to New Zealand, in 1861, to endeavour to repair some of the evils which had arisen during his interregnum. He has, however, at present, the co-operation of a skilful and courageous general, with, at least, ten thousand troops at his disposal, which have therefore, now, very nearly completed the realization of a well-arranged systematic colonial plot. It is, notwithstanding, very doubtful, even now, with so large a force, whether the vanquished territory, in the interior of a country where there are no roads, and consisting principally of forests and swamps, can safely be maintained against a race whose chief strength lies in ambush. It will, consequently, perhaps, be more politic, as well as humane, to cut off supplies of every description by a rigid blockade, and after the page 16 establishment of a chain of outposts, compel the so-called "rebels "to act on the offensive, which they are not very apt to do in the comparatively open country—such as would be cleared and in possession of the Europeans. But the cost of this occupation at present amounts to about three millions sterling per annum. Surely the British House of Commons will not sanction this vast military expenditure to be continued at the expense of the Imperial Treasury, and to be paid out of the pockets of the British taxpayers! *

If a rigid blockade was maintained, and the natives find that they are unable to obtain the comforts of civilized life by communications with Europeans, they will, in all probability, be more induced to sue for peace, particularly when the excitement of constant skitrmishing against the military raids ceases; and then, hereafter, it may in truth be said that the Anglo-Saxon race has not, at least in New Zealand, been the means of entirely extirpating from the face of the earth the aboriginal inhabitants of the antipodes.


* By information lately received from a gentleman in one of the New Zealand banks it appears, that the military expenditure from the military chest in that colony is 10,000l. a-day, or three millions six hundred and fifty thousand pounds per annum, the expenses of the Land Transport alone amount to one thousand pounds a-day, owing chiefly to the great distance of the seat of war from Auckland, its base of operation, and the hay and torage for the horses having, it seems, to be imported even from England.

* By information lately received from a gentleman in one of the New Zealand banks it appears, that the military expenditure from the military chest in that colony is 10,000l. a-day, or three millions six hundred and fifty thousand pounds per annum, the expenses of the Land Transport alone amount to one thousand pounds a-day, owing chiefly to the great distance of the seat of war from Auckland, its base of operation, and the hay and torage for the horses having, it seems, to be imported even from England.