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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 10

The New Zealand Government and the Native War

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The New Zealand Government and the Native War.

The memorandum prepared by the New-Zealand Government, and which contains their reply to the English address lo Governor Grey,* is a document of far too grave importance to be dismissed without full consideration and necessarily lengthened comment. It must be accepted as the Ministerial defence of the policy to which Mr. Whittaker and his colleagues have committed themselves, and & by which they must stand or fall. By its statements the British public are to judge whether, and lo what extent, the natives now in arms have been the aggressors in the present war; and what just necessity, if any, has arisen to make the proposed sweeping confiscation of native lands a measure of public policy. We have no desire to shrink from a discussion of this nature, whether reference be had to particular facts or to general principles. All that we ask is that one class of facts shall not be taken to the exclusion of another; that both sides of this grave controversy shall be fairly submitted to the national judgment;. and that the obligations of Great Britain as a Christian-Power shall not be eliminated from the discussion. At the outset it must be remembered that the original settlement of New Zealand was based upon principles exceptional in the modem history of colonization; that our position in those islands is determined by the express provisions of a treaty which the highest legal authorities have declared to be as valid as any treaty entered into between two European states and that a compact of this nature involves the performance of mutual and equally binding duties. Having undertaking the colonization of New Zealand on such terms, it is not for us to repudiate the agreement on the ground of inconvenience or self-interest; and if it can be shewn that by any laches on our part, by any dereliction of our self-imposed duty, discontent has been fomented, and evils of a serious character have sprung into existence, it is not for us to turn round upon the natives, and to hold them accountable for the fruits of our own misconduct. To teach them that we may break a treaty but they must not; and that while one day we may treat them as aliens, the next we may, if it suits our pleasure, brand them as rebels; is a line of policy, which, on the lowest ground of expediency, must be as fatal to the welfare of any state,

* This address, which will be found in the Appendix, was signed by members of the Aborigines' Protection Society, and by Lord Chichester and many other influential persons who are not connected with the Society, but who sympathized with this particular object.

The opinion of the late Dr. Phillimore is emphatic on this point, and is set forth with that judicial clearness and impartiality for which this eminent lawyer was distinguished.

page 2 as it is manifestly dishonourable to civilized men. Yet this is what we have practically done. By the treaty of Waitangi we not only guaranteed to the Maories the possession of their lands, but promised to impart to them all the rights of British subjects. Instead of doing this, we have systematically treated them as a foreign people, who were at liberty to govern themselves as they pleased; to declare war and to make peace one with another; and generally to exercise all the rights which appertain to a separate and independent community. If the treaty had been observed in both the spirit and the letter, the natives would have been regarded as a part of the body politic; they would have been invested, as far as was practicable, with all the rights of British subjects; and the constitution which secured to the colonists the privileges of self-government, would have admitted them to a share of the common privileges. But caste prejudices and false notions of expediency prevailed. The natives were excluded from the General Assembly, and from the enjoyment of the franchise, and no attempt was made to prepare the way for the exercise, on their part, of these functions. The result was, that as the natives became more imitative, and, at the same time, more civilized, they endeavoured to develops among themselves those institutions which it should have been our care to provide for them, and to base upon a loyal foundation. The Aborigines' Protection Society may take credit to itself for having, at the time, urged upon the Government the performance of these duties, and for having pointed out that the only sure means of averting future dissension and war, was to be found in a measure which provided for the political amalgamation of the two races. That appeal was unheeded, and no steps were taken to give adequate effect to the principle we laid down until it was too late, and irreparable mischief was done. The time for action had arrived when the king movement was in its infancy. In the hands of statesmen that movement might have been made as plastic as clay, instead of which it was allowed to assume any shape into which the energetic spirits of the Maori race thought fit to mould it, and the result was, that what might have been a source of good, became fruitful of evil.
The non-fulfilment of that clause of the treaty which professedly gave to the natives the status of British subjects was the more mischievous, because another provision of the same treaty, which secured to the Government a pre-emptive right in the sale of native lands was rigidly enforced; so that at last the Maories came to view the British Government simply in the light of land buyers and monopolists, whose chief desire was to diminish the number of Maori proprietors, and to aggrandize the settlers. This conviction, which was strengthened by the proceedings of the officials connected with the land-purchasing department, and by the ludicrous prices which the Government gave the native owners (for millions of acres were bought at a farthing and a halfpenny per acre) gave birth to those land leagues, which, even in this land of combina- page 3 tionsand trades-unions, have been regarded in the light of treasonable organizations. Mr. Buddie,* who cannot be suspected of leaning against the Government, has given lucid and emphatic testimony on this point. In his pamphlet on the Maori king movement, he says:—

"In 1849 the Ngatiapa, whose territory lies between Whanganui and Otaki, sold to the Government a tract of land, reaching from Wangaihu to Rangitake, and containing about 400,000 acres, for the sum of 2500l. This transaction caused no little excitement among the tribes along the western coast, from New Plymouth to Wellington. Some wished to follow the example of Ngatiapa, but numbers declaimed against the small amount received for the land, and contrasting it with the high prices which had been paid by natives for allotments near Wellington, opposed further sales. Hona of Waitotara, and Karipa of Taumaha, proposed to sell a fine block, lying betwee Putea and Manawapou, but many who possessed no claim in the block raised an outcry against the proposal. In May 1849 the entire tribe met at Turangarere on the occasion of the opening of a new church. The subject of land sales was introduced at that meeting, and warmly discussed. It was proposed that no person or family should sell land within the boundary of the Ngatiruanui territory without the general consent of the tribe. This proposal was approved by many, but the meeting was not unanimous. Many asserted their right to do as they pleased with their own; and Hona and Karipa persisted in their determination to sell. The opposition was prompted by various motives: some opposed from patriotic feelings, declaring it to be their wish that the land they had received from their ancestors should be by them handed down to their children. Some of the thoughtful men spoke of the invariable results of colonization, and argued that a Pakeha's town would bring immorality and disorganization among them; that their young women would be debauched, and their young men tempted to drunkenness. How much it is to be regretted that our European settlements, composed as they are of professedly Christian people, should furnish savage tribes with such arguments as these!

"Others were influenced by exaggerated ideas of the value of native land, derived from the increased value of lands improved by English labour and capital, and argued that to sell land was to enrich the Pakeha and impoverish themselves. And numbers opposed the sale from barbaric pride. Dwelling on these large tracts of land, they felt they could maintain individually a degree of self-respect, importance, and independence, that would be lost when they came to mingle with the better-informed and civilized Europeans; that, in fact, if they parted with their land, they would soon be made to feel their inferiority, and must become

* The Superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions in New Zealand.

page 4 "the Pakeha's slave. These opponents pushed their views, and sought to make it 'Te Tikanga o te Iwi,' (the law of the tribe,) that no individual or family should alienate land without the consent of the whole tribe. To make the law popular and binding, they determined on a more general meeting, and to invite all the tribes along the coast to join them in this measure.

"The meeting was held in 1854: about 1000 persons attended, and the following measures were resolved upon:

"1st. That from this time forward no more land shall be alienated to Europeans without the general consent of this con federation.

"2d. That in reference to the Ngatiruanui and Taranaki tribes, the boundaries of the Pakeha shall be Kai Iwi on the south side, and a place within a short distance of New Plymouth on the north).

"3d. That no European magistrate shall have jurisdiction within native boundaries, but all disputes shall be settled by the runanga.

"To give solemnity to the proceedings, and to confirm the bond into which they entered with each other, they buried a New Testament in the earth, and raised a cairn of stones on the spot; and to reassert and perpetuate their determination, parties have been appointed to beat the boundaries at certain periods."

We have given this extract at 60 much length because Mr. Buddie is an authority whose statements will not be seriously questioned by the colonial party. Taking the version which he gives of the origin of the land leagues, it will be seen that they owed their existence primarily to the low prices fixed for the land under the Government monopoly, and to the fear, that if the natives parted with their ownership of the soil, they would be reduced to a condition of dependence and slavery. Mr. Buddie, it is true, speaks of the influence exerted by what he calls "barbaric pride;" but the feeling which leads men to desire to preserve intact the inheritance of their fathers is not peculiar to barbarous, or semi-civilized, tribes: it prevails in all countries where the law of self-preservation (to say nothing of dignity and self-respect) exercises its legitimate influence over the motives and actions of mankind.

The king movement, both in its origin and development, no doubt brought into play passions of a very mixed nature. It would exhibit little knowledge of human character on our part if we imputed to the natives only a high and patriotic purpose. Like all other communities, they are subject to many errors and imperfections. Many may have joined the king movement to gratify a revengeful or ambitious impulse; some because it gave hope of the ultimate establishment of an independent sovereignty; and others because it might lead to an open and warlike rupture with a Government whose friendship they feared even worse than its hatred. To claim for the entire body of Maories who were parties to this enterprise a perfect single-mindedness of purpose, page 5 an absolute freedom from all selfish or personal ends, would be as absurd as to claim for our own nation the same supremely, virtuous attributes. But, making full allowance for all the unruly and reactionary elements which were at work in the agitation, enough of good remains to justify the assertion, that the natives, in setting up a Maori king, were making a'step in advance. The necessities of their improved social life rendered it needful that their institutions should be reorganized, and some kind of central authority called into existence. William Thompson, the Waikato chief, who, if he did not actually found the movement, yet gave it vitality, said: "I want order and laws. A king could give us these better than "the Governor." In a document which he handed to the king after his election, he expressed the object still more clearly: "The laws for the king are these. The power he is to exercise over men and land is the power of protecting them against quarrels, wars, and murders; a power to extend to all the chiefs and all councils of all the tribes. Second, every man is to live upon his own land, and the king is to defend him against all aggressions against his "land or person." "Christianity, love, and law," says Mr. Buddle, "are the principles that professedly form the basis of the new kingdom." One of their first acts was to order the erection of several places of worship. They inculcated peace and union among themselves, and "peacemakers were sent out to visit contending tribes, and heal existing differences." They proclaimed the supremacy of law. "All disputes and all offences were to be settled by appeal to law." They gave liberally of their means to establish the new kingdom. They purchased a printing-press; and, writing in 1860, Mr. Buddle remarked that perhaps there more educating agency at work in the Waikato district at the "present time, than has existed at any former period." Such were the leading features of one of the most remarkable movements in which a native race, striving to work out for itself a higher destiny, has ever engaged.,

That this is no ideal picture is proved by the testimony of many impartial witnesses. Mr. Gorst, who, as Commissioner of the Waikato district, had peculiar opportunities of observation, gives ample proof of the ability and moderation of many of the native leaders, and more especially of the high and even patriotic motives by which William Thoupson (Wiremu Tamihana) was animated. "Of the king's council," he says, "I feel bound to speak in the very highest terms. In all questions which I have heard discussed by them, they have argued with calmness and good temper, keeping steadily to the point at issue, and facing all the difficulties. They usually came to a joint decision. Calm in discussion, the strongest opposition never provoked personal rudeness. It would have been impossible to get together a body of Maories with whom the Government could have more advantageously consulted upon the management of the native race. If the king's council had only possessed power equal to their wisdom and moderation, page 6 the present war would never have arisen. But that wise resolutions should but seldom be carried into practical effect is a weakness that appears naturally inherent in all public bodies at the antipodes." The king was only a puppet. He possessed no power to enforce his own decisions. If be had been simply left alone, the movement, so far as his mock sovereignty was supposed to be subversive of the Queen's authority, would, in time, have utterly collapsed. But the elements of good which the agitation had brought to the surface would have remained. Able men of the stamp of Tamihana and Rewi, who endeavoured, through the figment of a king, to give strengih and unity to the Maori people, would have tried methods less likely to wound the loyal susceptibilities of the settlers of Auckland. Mr. Gorst, than whom no more competent or trustworthy authority could be cited, distinctly affirms, that, at the time the war broke out, the leaders of the king movement admitted that their scheme had proved a failure. The king's name was one which would have alarmed no one but colonists who hoped to fatten on rich contracts at the expense of the national exchequer, and to acquire the rich lands of Waikato by denouncing its inhabitants, without distinction of tribe or class, as hatchers of treason. Mr. Gorst is careful to point out the vital difference between the partisans of the Maori king and those who endeavoured to preserve and perpetuate the Maori nationality. The one party was much less numerous than the other; but both have been involved in one common fate.

It has been the fashion with the Colonial Government and the anti-native party in the colony to deal with the Maories on two wholly antagonistic principles. As we have before remarked, they were, at one time, a race having a separate existence from their European neighbours; at liberty to govern themselves according to their own semi-civilized customs; to declare war and to make peace, as they pleased; to exercise, in short, all the functions of an independent nation. But when the light of Christianity so far ' dawned upon them as to make them conscious of the evils of intertribal warfare; and when, owing to the neglect of the Government, they endeavoured to create those institutions which might, in some measure, supply the deficiencies of which their more enlightened chiefs had become painfully sensible, then the New-Zealand public suddenly awaken, not to a sense of their own unfulfilled duties, but to the fealty which the natives owe to their foreign rulers. These remarks apply with peculiar force to the Waikato country. The Waikatos, who are suddenly discovered to be rebels who may be killed off like vermin (as indeed they have been designated), were never instructed in any of the duties of loyalty before the date of their king movement. "So absolutely was Waikato neglected," says Mr. Gorst, "that Mr. Ashwell stated, before a Committee of the House of Representatives, that during nineteen years before the 'king movement,' he could not remember more than three or four visits to the Waikato by officials. The page 7 Maories have been told that the Queen was a hedge around the island to keep off the French, Americans, and other nations, who would have treated them with less humanity than ourselves. To this kind of sovereignty they never had, and have not at the present lime, the slightest objection. But sovereignty or government, in the sense of a government strong enough to put down robbery w and murder, arid increase the common happiness by infusing obedience to laws for the common good, was a thing unknown to the natives of New Zealand when they signed the treaty of Waitangi and unknown to loyal and disloyal alike at the present day. It was not that the Maori race did not present scope for the efforts of a paternal sovereign. For years after the treaty, tribal wars were so common, that Tamihana describes them as 'a river of blood' flowing through the land. But to really govern the natives would have been costly. The revenues of the colony were required to pay for the government and improvement of the European race; the Imperial treasury had no funds to spare; and it was therefore thought most economical and prudent not to attempt to govern at all, to abstain strictly from interference in purely native affairs, and merely to purchase, by presents and pensions, the goodwill of the principal chiefs." Mr. Buddle, in an address which he delivered in Auckland, in March last, mentioned a fact which shews how completely the natives were left to manage their own affairs. He said that "he was in the Waikato long after the sovereignty of the Queen was declared. A murder took place, one Maori killing another Maori. On hearing this, he sent notice to the Government of the murder, and received in reply from the Protectorate Office, that the Government had nothing to do with Maori law, and that the Maories must carry out their own law on the offender. Now he thought, when our Government took possession of the country, they ought to have enforced British law, and he believed that at that time it should have been done, and it could have been done effectually." Governor Browne himself admitted that populous native districts had never been visited by an officer of the Government; and Sir George Grey, writing in 1861, stated, that while, ten years previously, he had deeply felt the imponance, nay, to use his own phrase, the urgent necessity, of introducing municipal institutions among the natives, nothing had been done up to that time to give practical effect to his suggestion. Colonel Browne, in a moment of candour, confessed that "the Government is, and always has been, unable to perform its duty for want of a sufficient number of agents, trained and qualified for the service required of them." Whose fault was this, if it was not the fault of the Government itself? And while it is no part of our object, in making these strictures, to attempt to apportion the blame equitably, to determine to what extent the Imperial Government was responsible, and how far the local authorities were in fault,—it is manifestly impossible to weigh the conduct of the rebellious page 8 natives in a just and righteous balance, unless a knowledge of official shortcomings is first obtained.

We now pass on to a brief review of the principal statements contained in the memorandum addressed to the Governor by the present Government of New Zealand, and signed by the Hon. William Fox, the Colonial Secretary, In doing so, we cannot refrain from making one or two observations of a somewhat personal character, which we should gladly avoid if it were possible to do so with a due regard to justice. Mr. Fox, in his able but (as we shall show) disingenuous reply, prudently abstains from all allusion to the Taranaki war, and the connection which undoubtedly existed between that sanguinary struggle and the present war with the Waikato tribes. It is not difficult to discover the cause of that strange omission. Mr. Fox, four years ago, entertained very different views of native policy from those which he now advocates. In language at once eloquent and convincing, he denounced the attempt to wrest the Waitara from its rightful owners as an outrage upon law and morality. He was then at the head of the peace party—the champion of the spoliated Maori against colonial aggression. We are loth to believe that the change which has come o'er the spirit of his dream is to be attributed to the circumstance of his having exchanged the cold shade of opposition for the substantial advantages of place and power; but the fact that the minister who at that time fought so stoutly for justice and restitution is now urging on a policy of confiscation more ruthless than any of which his former opponents ever dreamed, is an example of political inconsistency as painful as it is suggestive.

Mr. Fox begins by stating, that at the outset of the war the general body of the rebels "entertained the firm conviction that they could drive the Europeans out of the island;" and he further declares that "they commenced by a desperate attack upon Auckland, the seat of Government." No assertion more monstrous or more unfounded was ever made in a public document, or vouched for by a responsible signature. Mr. Fox in not content with concealing the all-important fact, that the first overt act of war was committed by the British troops; but he must needs charge the natives with having made an attack upon the seat of Government,—a statement which does not contain in it one tittle of truth. A valued correspondent, who is a member of the House of Representatives, and who, for nearly a quarter of a century, has had an intimate personal acquaintance with the natives in every part of the island, writes:—"I have known all the principal Waikato chiefs for years. Many of them are old and sincere friends; and I assure you that it is untrue to say that they ever intended to attack Auckland." The New Zeakmder, a journal which deserves the thanks of every friend of truth for the bold and manly course it has pursued on this question in the face of an overwhelming amount of obloquy, thus aptly comments on page 9 Mr. Fox's extraordinary statements:—"This is news to us. We were not, until now, aware that the seat of Government bad ever been attacked at all; and no citizen of Auckland that we have met "with is cognizant of the occurrence. On this subject we must await some further revelation."

What Mr. Fox probably means is that the country in the immediate neighbourhood of the capital was ravaged by the Maories, and by his subsequent remarks on the subject he would leave it to be inferred that they began the war, and began it by carrying fire and the sword into the heart of the settled districts of the province. This suggestion is as untrue as the allegation that Auckland had been attacked. "Now," again to quote The New Zeafarider, what was the actual sequence of events? In the "week ending Saturday, July 11th, 1863, upwards of one hundred Maories were expelled from their dwellings, being included in the European territory, and within the next three days a still greater number. On Sunday, July 12th, Colonel Murray ordered away the natives settled at Kirikiri, who asked and obtained leave to remain till Monday. On Thursday, July 16th, the old invalid chief Isaac and his father, with twenty-one other persons, young and old, were apprehended; and all these, at a later date, were liberated without any charge having been brought against them. But still all this did not amount to an act of war. The first overt act of hostility, as it was considered by the Maories, and as it was known in Auckland that it would be considered, occurred on one of the before-mentioned days, viz. Sunday, the 12th of July. On the morning of that day the British troops crossed the Maungatawhiri creek, the boundary between the European and Maori territories. It happens to be within our own knowledge, that immediately on this step being known in the city of Auckland, a gentleman resident there despatched an urgent message to certain friends resident between Auckland and Waikato, assuring them that the crossing of the Maungatawhira would be accepted by the Waikatos as a declaration of war, and enforcing the necessity of immediate removal to the city. This advice was taken, and was probably the means of saving life. The invasion of the Waikato territory commenced on Sunday, the 12th of July, and on Friday, the 17th, took place the three following events:—On that day occurred the first engagement of the war, the battle of Koheroa, when our troops attacked and took a native position. On the same day, an attack was made by the Maories on a military escort. And, on the same day, at Shepherd's Bush was perpetrated the murder-as we term it, and as most of the natives acknowledge it—of Mr. Meredith and his son, who were set upon when unarmed, and cruelly put to death. Such was the actual sequence of events, as may be found in the file of New-Zealand newspapers, or in the columns of that convenient summary, the New-Zealand Examiner, published monthly in London.

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It is clear from this well-authenticated statements of facts and dates, that the army had not only been put in motion, but the Waikato territory and actually been invaded before the first shot was fired by the Maories, or the first settler murdered by the straggling bands which are always let loose at the outbreak of every war, and for whose lawless acts of vengeance it is unfair to make an entire people responsible. But Mr. Fox is conveniently silent with regard to certain events which preceded even the invasion of Waikato, and probably provoked the outrages upon the outlying settlers of which he complains. We refer to the cruel and unprovoked deportation or the natives who inhabited the Maori villages in the neighbourhood of Auckland; and who, as Mr. Gorst assures us, were largely composed of "the old and the infirm." They were not only driven from their homes, but when they had sought refuge at a place called Kirikiri, an order was received from the Governor 10 make them prisoners. The expulsion of these poor people against whom no crime was alleged save the crime of being related to the Waikatos, took place on Sunday, the 12th of July, a day on which Christians are supposed to be employed in acts of devotion or deeds of mercy which ill accord with the barbarity which that Sabbath morning saw consummated in New Zealand. A correspondent thus describes the scene:—"If you refer to Mr. Sewell's pamphlet" he writes, "you will see that the Government proclamation was printed and dated 9th July. On Saturday the 11th it was sent round the different settlemenis. There was not time for the oath of allegiance to be taken. On Sunday, old and young, the widow and orphan, were driven from their peaceful homes, and had to fly to the woods. There they were followed by armed men and troops. Their houses and settlements were soon pillaged of every thing. Their neat little church at Ihumata, within a few days, had its sashes, door-bells, communion-table, &c. stolen, and even the floor was torn up for the sake of the timber. Soon their beautiful settlement became a wreck, every thing moveable being taken. Can we wonder at some few Maories taking revenge. Among those they shot were some who had robbed them. But beyond Maungatawari, where the troops crossed the Waikato, there have been no murders, and several settlers have resided in the interior to this date (June 1st, 1864). All down the Waikato, the Thames, Coromandel, (where many Europeans are digging, and an extensive timber trade is going on,) and all down the East Coast, not one settler has been robbed by the natives, and here they might all have been cut off. The natives have acted on the defensive all along; and when we leave off fighting they do the same."

All this, be it observed, took place several days before the perpetration of the first act of reprisal, timely warning having been given by the natives themselves to the Europeans who had settled in the Waikato country, and who were allowed to remove their goods without molestation. But Mr. Fox is perfectly silent on page 11 this subject. Surely outrage and violence, when committed by Christian Englishmen, are as much deserving of reprobation as similar acts when committed by men who have scarcely begun to emerge from an civilized state.

"Early in the struggle," says Mr. Fox, "Thompson, who may be regarded as the leader of the rebel party, announced in writing, under his own hand, his determination to carry the war to the "utmost extremity, not even sparing unarmed persons." It is to be regretted that the Colonial Secretary did not give the text of this document, so that we might judge of its exact impart and meaning. We presume the honourable gentleman alludes to William Thompson's letter to Archdeacon Brown of Tauranga, which was not a missive threatening the massacre of unarmed persons, but one of simple warning. In a letter to the Governor, dated the 1st of August 1863, he says:—"On this very day I came to Waikato with all my tribe. I have a word to say to you about my letter to Minister Brown. A warning from me to you to bring to the town the defenceless, lest they be killed at their farms in the country. But you are well acquainted with the customs of the Maori race." Thompson would surely never have given this thoughtful warning to the exposed settlers if he had been anxious to carry the war to "the last extremity." There is something absolutely disingenuous in this studied misre-presentation of what was really a chivalric act, especially when we are assured, on good authority, that no settlers' property has been destroyed at Tauranga, the settlement at which Archdeacon Brown resides, and that many of the settlers continue to live at that place, their vessels still trading along the coast as though no such calamity as war had desolated the country. But this calumny is only in keeping with the systematic conduct of the Government towards William Thompson. He is a man, who, if he were a leader of a European people, would be exalted to the skies as a patriot; but who, being a simple New-Zealand Chief, is only deemed worthy of being made food for powder or for slander. It is true that he is called the "rebel leader," but it is not the less true that he advocated peace up to the last moment. When he visited Auckland, seven years ago, he was received with studied coldness, and refused an interview with the Governor, although his influence as the chief of one of the most powerful of the Waikato tribes, and his extraordinary capacity both as a statesman and an orator (the reader need not fear that either word is misapplied), rendered it manifestly desirable that his goodwill should be conciliated, and his offers of service accepted. He upheld the king movement solely with a view to preserve and elevate his own race. Again and again he interposed to prevent his countrymen from provoking a collison with the colonial authorities. Again and again did he risk his influence in order to prevent war. He opposed every attempt made by his great rival, page 12 Rewi, to induce the Waikatos to espouse the quarrel of William King at Taranaki, although he knew (as we now know on the authority of Governor Grey himself) that that quarrel was a just one. He went to Taranaki in person; and, at the risk of his life, endeavoured to persuade the tribes who were at war with us to lay down their arms. His mission was so far successful, that to him belongs the credit of having terminated hostilities which might otherwise have been indefinitely prolonged. Yet war was proclaimed against him equally with the natives who had rendered active assistance to the Taranaki insurgents. No distinction was drawn between him and the chiefs who, against his remon-strances, had taken part in the Waitara contest.' He committed no act of war; and while it is true he has received the title of "the King maker"—the New-Zealand Warwick, he has established a still better claim to the designation of a peace maker. As we have seen, Mr. Fox has made the absurd statement that the Waikatos attacked Auckland. If William Thompson had ever entertained any such design, no one knows better than the Colonial Secretary, that when, during the Taranaki war, Auckland was denuded of troops, the way to the capital lay open to him, and that he had but to give the signal to ensure its destruction. But he did not give that signal, because he did not want war. Yet Mr. Fox can write of him as though he had always been our remorseless foe, as vindictive and unsparing to defenceless settlers as to the soldiers arrayed against him in battle.

All must deplore the atrocities which have been committed during the progress of this war. It is the curse of every war that the innocent suffer with, and sometimes for, the guilty; that non-combatants are often exposed to greater peril than those who fight behind entrenchments, or throw live shells into their enemy's works. We admit, and admit with deep sorrow, that some settlers have been murdered, and that much of their property in the outlying districts has been destroyed.* But it is to the credit

* Not the least of the many unhappy results of this war is the reactionary influence it has exercised on that portion of the natives who have been gradually led back to the practice of many of their old superstitious and barbarous rites. Still we believe that this has been the case only with a small number of the Maories, and that the great body of them have acted in the spirit of the proclamation issued by the Tauranga chiefs:—

"March, 28, 1864: Portriwhi District of Tauranga.—To the Colonel—Friend, salutations to you The end of that. Friend, do you give heed to our laws for the fight. Rule 1. If wounded or whole, and the butt of the musket or hilt of the sword be turned to me (he) will be saved. Rule 2. If any Pakeha, being a soldier by name, shall be travelling unarmed, and meets me, h e will be captured and handed over to the directors of the law. Rule 3. The soldier who flies being carried away by his fears, and goes to the house of the priest with his gun (even though carrying arms) will be saved. I will not go there. Rule 4. The unarmed Pakehas, women, and children, will be spared. The end. These are binding laws Tauranga. By Terea Puimaunka, Wi Kotiro, Peni Ampou, Keteti, Pateriki."

page 13 of William Thompson that he gave timely notice to the Europeans settlers in the Waikato country to leave for a place of safety; and that the New-Zealand chiefs have, with a few exceptions, set their faces against the mutilation of the dead, and other barbarous practices, in which their native predecessors in warfare were wont to indulge. Much has been said about the murders to which we have referred; but although it is not the fashion to apply the epithet of murder to any of the usages' of so-called civilized warfare, we may well doubt whether, in the sight of morality, these false distinctions can be maintained. For example, "Vindex," in writing to the Morning Star, gives the following quotation from a private letter:—
"Auckland, N. Z.,

"My dear—,

We have had another fight: twenty on our side killed and forty wounded: Captain Ring, 18th Regiment, dead, and another Captain just dying. 1500 British surrounded 250 Maories and forty women and children in an entrenched pah. General Cameron attempted to take it by storm, but was repulsed again and again. He then had recourse to sap, and, after three days' working, blew up the pah. The brave Maori defenders, in a most gallant manner, cut their way through our lines, and escaped, though not without leaving 100 killed, including all the women and children. Credat Judæus! This was truly a most gallant affair on the part of the natives, equal to the famous charge of the 600 at Balaklava. Before General Cameron blew up the place he offered to give them their lives if they would surrender. 'No,' every Maori said: 'we prefer death to slavery, and will fight for ever! for ever! for ever!' Honour to the brave! All the women and children were, it is said, blown up in the pah.

"On the 20th of February the troops surrounded and set fire to some native huts or wharries, and when the poor Maories, who had gone inside for protection, ran out imploring for mercy, they were all shot dead like dogs by the colonial assailants. Since that affair the natives appear to have dispersed; but no doubt they will soon turn up when and where least expected. The troops are shortly to go into quarters for the winter, at fixed stations, and orders have been given by the commissariat for six hundred thousand feet of sawn timber for building huts."

Truly, the shooting down of women and children, the setting fire to native huts, and the refusing of quarter to the inmates when they rushed out, "imploring for mercy," are episodes of the war with which the British public, who are expected to pay the cost of the slaughter, and to be enthusiastic in supporting the colonial cause, should be made acquainted, no less than with those other, page 14 but not darker horrors, which have excited the humane indignation of Mr. Fox and his colleagues.*

But there is another question connected with the war, upon which Mr. Fox does not touch, but which certainly deserves some consideration at the hands of the taxpayers of Great Britain. We allude to the means by which the natives have been able to accumulate those munitions of war, without which they could not have risen in arms, or waged a long and desperate struggle. The mischief was done by the relaxation, in 1857, of the ordinance prohibiting the sale of arms and gunpowder to the natives—a proceeding which was strongly resisted at the time by the Acting-Governor, General Wynyard, and by Bishop Selwyn and the principal Missionaries. But love of profit overcame all sense of prudence; and, in a moment of weakness, Governor Browne yielded to the pressure which was brought to bear upon him by Mr. Richmond's Ministry. Both the character of this measure and its disastrous effects are well described in a pamphlet recently published, and the writer of which, we may remark, is a gentleman who does not write from hearsay, but from a personal knowledge of the facts which he details. That gentleman says:—
"The plea forearming the Maories, set up by the Colonial Councillors of Governor Browne, and used in his despatches to the Secretary of State, as well as afterwards advanced by the supporters of colonial misrule in the Imperial Parliament, was, 'that the 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

* Governor Grey's despatch on this affair is as follows:—

"Government House, Auckland,

April 21, 1864.

"My Lord Duke,—Adverting to my despatch No 55. of this day's date, transmitting the official despatches relating to an attack upon the entrenched position at Orakau, I have the honour to enclose a nominal return of the native prisoners under treatment for wounds received in the action. .Unfortunately, it appears from this return that nearly one-forth of the number are females.

"I have, &c,


The following is the list of the women:—
1.Piririri, gunshot, both hips, died 4th April.
2.Maiata, gunshot, right foot.
3.Harriet, gunshot, left elbow.
4.Mali, gunshot, left arm, cheit.
5.Hica, gunshot, chest.
6.Katai, gunshot, right thigh.

(Signed) "Wm. J. Spencer, Assistant-Surgeon, 18th R.I."

It is unnecessary to give the list of the men who were wounded in this engagement.

page 15 ever spent their money in purchasing any thing 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 under the designation of fowling-pieces, guns, or musket's, 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 thereof: 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 reimposed, is evinced by the difficulties the Maories now have in obtaining additional supplies, one having, it is said, recently offered 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 cap?, thus proving their cleverness as well as the extremities to which they are at present reduced for munitions of war."

No more striking proof could be given of the fact, that to the suicidal policy of the colonists themselves is the ability of the Maories to carry on war mainly due; and, like many other facts which might be cited, it justifies the inference, that so long as the expenses of their wars are paid by a credulous public at home, they will continue reckless of the consequences which might flow from their selfish acts, and regardful only of their own mercenary gains. Money could be made by selling arms to the natives; and so hucksters trafficked with them in the dangerous weapons, heedless page 16 of all warning and remonstrance. Money too is now made out of the huge contracts which war brings in its train, and so, to a class at least, war has its bright and tempting side. It is true it is now being carried on under the mask of patriotism, and professedly to vindicate the outraged majesty of the law; but the same lust for gold is really instigating its prosecution to the bitter end.

But Mr. Fox tells us that no considerable body of the natives have made "the slightest overtures of peace." Let The New Zealander again furnish the reply to this astounding statement:—

"Compare the sweeping declaration of the Memorandum with, for example, the following. In the lately issued Blue Book, the Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, we find the subjoined letters. We take the official translations:—


O Friend, O Governor,—

Salutation! This is to say to you, the fight has been fought, and some are dead, some alive. Restore to us Waikato. Let it suffice for you, the men who are dead. Return to ua those who live. Enough From your friend,

"Pene Pukawhau

"From all the Chiefs of Waikato."

"To the foregoing 'small overture of peace,' the following was the reply [the Italics are ours]:—

"Auckland, "Pene Pukawhau,—

"Your letter has arrived, and the matter has been carefully considered This is the reply to you, and also to all the people of Ngaruawahia.

The Governor will hold in communication with you while you continue in arms; but give up all your guns, your powder, and all your arms to the Governor: then only will a way of communication he open for you: at present there is none. That is the word. From your friend,

"W. Fox."

"Before this reply of Mr. Fox reached its destination, the anxious chiefs renewed their solicitation as follows:—



"O Friend, O Governor,

"Salutations ! O Friend, we are awaiting the reply to our letter. Can it have reached you or not? These are the words of that letter: Restore the Waikato men; suffice for you the dead. Enough.

"From the Chiefs of Waikato.

"From Pene Pukawhau."

"To this reiterated appeal the following answer was vouchsafed:—

"Government House


"O all you Chiefs of Waikato,
"O Pene Pukewhau,—

"Your letter of the 2nd December has readied me. Sons, my words to you are these. The General must go uninterrupted to Ngaruawahia; the flag of the Queen must be hoisted there. Then I will talk to you.


G. Grey, Governor"

"Do these letters comprise no overture of peace, not even 'the page 17 smallest from a leading tribe ? Was such the opinion of Mr. Fox when he wrote the foregoing letter ? Was it the opinion of His Excellency the Governor when he promised to talk to the Waikato chiefs, after Ngaruawahia should have been taken? But the Colonial Ministers are honourable men, and they do declare to us—or rather, they declare to the Earl of Chichester and the other gentlemen of the Aborigines' Protection Society,—the 'regret' which they feel in having to 'state, that down to this date,' the 5th of May 1864, 'the rebels have not as a body, nor have any leading tribes, made the smallest overture of peace.' Such is the ministerial declaration officially signed by the Honourable 'W. Fox.'"

"It is a well-known fact," says Mr. Fox, "that in their intertribal wars, the natives universally regard any overtures of peace as a sign that the party who makes it is beaten, and that it is an acknowledgment of defeat." This does not explain why the letter of the Waikato chiefs was only met by a declaration that Ngaruawahia must be captured before any overtures could be listened to; or why Bishop Selwyn's and Mr. George Graham's offer to act as mediators was refused. Still less does it justify a Christian Government in coolly electing to act in accordance with the usages of a semi-civilized race, and in deliberately putting aside every generous and magnanimous impulse. What better is the civilization which we make it our boast that we have established in New Zealand, than the barbarism which it is designed to supplant, if the Christian rulers of the colony have not the courage to act in accordance with its humanizing ideas ? The truth is, that when they wish to punish the natives, or to hold them up to public reprobation, they stigmatize their customs as barbarous; but when it suits their convenience, they make the existence, or rather, in this case, the alleged existence of those customs the pretext for acting upon precisely the same principles. But while Mr. Fox has sought for a precedent in the barbarous practices of uncivilized tribes, unfortunately for his argument, the precedent is rather the other way. For example, when the famous New-Zealand warrior, Hongi Hike, conquered the Waikato country, he was the first to offer terms of peace; and he gave up to his vanquished foes the very territories which he had subdued. And when the Waikatos, in their turn, conquered Taranaki, they were the first to make overtures of peace, and they, too, abstained from retaining the lands which they had acquired by the power of their arms. Again, the New-Zealand Ministry, in vindicating the confiscation of the Maori lands, aver hat "it is a custom which has been always recognised by the Maories themselves."*

Herein Mr. Fox confounds two things

* In an able article on this subject, the New Zealander says:—"Confiscation is not customary among the natives of New Zealand, never having been recognised by Maori law. The New Zealanders, in the darkest days of their heathenism, evinced a high appreciation of natural justice, and their moral perceptions on this head have been sharpened by their acceptance of Christianity. It is admitted that certain lands, accidentally, as it were, occasionally fell into the hands of conquerors, but their title thereto was never acknowledged while an individual member of the vanquished tribe remained alive. The conquerors, in taking possession of the deserted territory, were looked upon as unlicensed squatters, nor did they consider their title valid during the lifetime of any individual man, woman, or child, of the original owners of the soil. In land transactions with the native tribes, this law seems to have been almost always respected by Europeans, and, when ignored, the Maories resented this violation of their ancient statute, by force of arms; hence the native feuds, to prevent which uprisings a number of leading chiefs instituted the system gene rally known as the 'Land League.' As for fighting for the mere acquisition of land, no one dared to avow such a motive, as he would have been looked upon as a common robber. Their boundary lines were well defined, for any encroachment upon which they would fight to the death; but to raise an army for the ostensible purpose of confiscation was, in no era of New Zealand history, so far as we can learn, ever attempted by the Maori tribes."

page 18 which essentially differ. The natives, in their inter-tribal wars, have unquestionably recognised the right of confiscation; but they have never done so as regards the lands of rebels. Archdeacon Hadfield puts the matter so clearly, in a private letter, that we cannot do better than quote his words. He says:—"Confiscation is the act of the sovereign power in reference to the property of its rebellious subjects. Now I have no hesitation in saying that no Maori ruler ever so acted in regard to the property of their own people; that confiscation of the property of any so called rebels was unknown to Maori custom.

"It is possible that (through a confusion of ideas very common with our colonial statesmen) Mr. Fox is referring to the annexation of the lands of conquered enemies. But if so, it seems a strange mistake of Mr. Fox to make, inasmuch as he, on assuming office, brought prominently forward, as an essential part of his policy, that the Maories were not to be treated as foreign enemies, but as rebels.

"It is true that Maories did annex portions of the territory of opposing tribes whenever victory gave them an opportunity of so doing; but it is equally true that the conquered tribe did not acquiesce in the spoliation, but considered itself bound in honour to recover its lost possessions whenever an opportunity offered. It is true, as stated by Mr. Fox, that such acquired possessions have frequently been purchased by the Government; but the Government had no alternative but to acknowledge rights to property as they found them when the treaty of Waitangi was made. This, however, is hardly an adequate statement of the case, for in almost every instance with which I am acquainted, compensation has been given to the injured owner. There can be no doubt that the confiscation policy has driven numbers into rebellion who otherwise would have kept aloof from war. It will also lay the foundation of future troubles: outrages will be perpetually committed on any occupants of the confiscated page 19 lands. Nothing could have been more unwise than an imitation of Maori proceedings in former wars. Imitations are proverbially bad. Rangiheata, whom Mr. Fox cites as an authority, once said that he was the undisputed owner of some conquered lands, for—he had eaten the original occupants. If Mr. Fox were prepared to follow his example in this also, future occupants of the Waikato and other confiscated districts might reside in security on their acquisitions. You will gather from what I say that I condemn in the most unqualified terms the the whole plan of confiscation. The bitterest enemy of the Government could not have suggested a policy more detrimental and more pregnant with evil for the future."

It is unnecessary to follow Mr. Fox through the specious arguments by which he endeavours to prove that the complete defeat of the Maories in the field, coupled with the confiscation of a portion of their lands, as "a material guarantee," is necessary to insure their submission. If such a policy is persisted in, it can only lead to the extermination of the entire race; and this is a result from which we hope Mr. Fox would shrink, however gratifying it might be to some of his supporters. Mr. Fox dilates upon the danger with which the rebellion has menaced the very existence of the colony; but the justice of his cause cannot be proved by any considerations of this kind. In considering what punishment should be inflicted upon the rebels, regard must he had to the origin of the war. Who provoked the natives to embark in a struggle which has cost them far more than it has or will cost the colony ? Mr. Fox's only hope for the future of the race is in compelling them to acknowledge "the supremacy of law," and not only to convince them that they have made a mistake, but to make them bear its consequences. He forgets that no effort was made to teach them "the supremacy of law," until the lesson was too late to be efficacious; that they had been uniformly treated, not as subjects, but as a virtually independent people; that the treaty which imparted to them all the rights of British subjects, has been practically regarded as so much waste paper, except that provison of it which couferred upon the Government the privileges of land-buying monopolists. His whole argument for confiscation is based upon the assumption, that as every other method, save war, had been previously tried by the dominant race, in their efforts to win the obedience and to promote the elevation of the Maories, there is now no alternative but to administer to them the severest chastisement which Armstrong guns and Enfield rifles can inflict, and to add thereto the loss of their lands. He entirely overlooks the fact that the other plan has never been tried; that the natives have only been British subjects in name; and that their ideas of the intentions of the Government towards them have been not unnaturally derived from the shameless columns of the anti-aboriginal portion of the press, and the unscrupulous speeches of the annexation party in the General Assembly. To his eye the native is simply a rebel deserv- page 20 ing of condign punishment, and that punishment must assume the form of confiscation; not, of course, because the settlers want the land but because the Maories will only respect a peace which is accompanied by "a material guarantee." It is worthy of remark, that when Governor Grey made peace with the natives of the Bay of Islands in 1846, he did not confiscate their lands, and the result has been that they have remained our stedfast friends to this hour, and have sold all their waste lands to the Government at the rate of sixpence an acre. When the war in the province of Wellington was brought to a termination, the same enlightened Governor abstained from that policy of confiscation which Mr. Fox so highly enlogises, and the natives have from that time to the present exhibited an unbroken loyalty; and they also (perhaps unwisely) have sold immense districts of their lands for a few pence per acre. When Mr. Fox urges that confiscation is necessary to ensure submission, he strangely overlooks these indisputable and most suggestive facts in the history of the colony. The truth is, that confiscation is persisted in, because the colonists want the land, and they would rather that the last Maori should cease to exist, than forego their insatiable cupidity. But Waikato has been conquered, and the rebels have been driven to the East Coast Why, therefore, should not Mr. Fox and his colleagues be satisfied with having accomplished what they admit was the chief object of the war? Why hunt the Maori like a beast of prey to his lust place of refuge? True, terms of peace were offered at Ngaruawahia; but were the unfortunate natives likely to confide in the assurance that their personal liberty would be respected, while their unfortunate countrymen, who had previously been made prisoners of war at Rangiriri, were kept in close confinement in a hulk at Auckland, and so retained against the remonstrances of the Governor? The truth is, that the war is, on our side, a contest for the acquisition of land, and that the object of the contractors and land speculators of the northern province is to carry it on until the Waikatos are so completely conquered or exterminated, that the work of spoliation may be accomplished without endangering the future peace of the colony.

It is certain that if the New-Zealand ministry had been permitted to carry out the Confiscation Act in all its cruel severity, nothing short of the total extirpation of the Maori race would have ensued. Mr. Cardwell, however, has fortunately saved his country from the awful guilt and dishonour of such a crime. If, in addition, he will give a new assurance to the natives that their ownership of the soil, as secured by the treaty of Waitangi, will be scrupulously maintained; if he will detach the Government from the undignified and mischievous business of land-buying, and give his sanction to a well considered plan for the establishment of municipal institutions in the native districts, and the representation of the Maories in the General Assembly, he will do much to avert from a noble race the doom with which it is threatened. But we can page 21 not hope for the adoption or the success of any policy of the kind, until the colonial Government is deprived of the management of native affairs, and the Governor, in attempting a just settlement of the native difficulty, is no longer liable to be thwarted by the selfish intrigues or the fluctuating opinions of the local Parliament.

Signed on behalf of the Committee of the Aborigines' Protection Society,

R. N. Fowler, M.A.

, Chairman.

Thomas Hodgkin, M.D.

, Secretaries.

F. W. Chesson

, Secretaries.