Remarks on Notes,
W. H. Delton, Bookseller to the Quen London 28, Cockspur Street.1861.
The Taranaki Question.
W. H. Dalton, Bookseller to the Queen London 28, Cockspur Street.
Remarks on Notes Published for the New Zealand Government.
* Page 5. Note 2.
Mr. Busby's statement is cited as if it were entirely opposed to mine. In reality, the only difference between us is as to the origin of the rules: a question upon which it is unnecessary to enter.
To shew this I set out the whole paragraph, of which only the first sentence is cited in the Note:—
"I have no hesitation in saying that the rules which Sir W. Martin lays down, as established by a singular concurrence of the best evidence, are not rules of native origin. That they have been' generally accepted and acted upon by the natives' in the later periods of their dealings in rested to lands, I do not dispute; but they are natural and necessary deductions from the proceedings to which our own countrymen bad recourse, in order to obtain an equitable title to the lands which they purchased from the natives. It is not mort than twenty-five or thirty years since the native first began to look upon land as an object of exchangeable value."—(Mr. Busby, page 7.)page 4
In page 8, Mr. Busby again carries back the existence of those rules to a time previous to the foundation of the colony.
"In fine, the result of my experience during the seven years in which I held office, was a conviction that the natives had no idea of property in land, such as exists in the minds of the people where it has been the subject of legislation. And that the rules which Sir W. Martin lays down, were not rules established by natives, but suggested by the precautions adopted by our own countrymen in order to obtain a title which could not be justly disputed."
These admissions are quite sufficient. Indeed there is no real contradiction between Mr. Busby and myself as to the existence of rights of property among the natives. The difference is in the sense given to the word "right." Mr. Busby uses the word in the legal sense, as that which has a corresponding remedy, and is supported by some law.
"In these remarks we have only to do with the rights of property, as they are necessarily understood by jurists and statesmen, implying corresponding obligations to respect such rights. In this sense I do not hesitate to say that, so far as we can trace their history, there is no evidence of the New Zealanders ever having possessed any rights, with the exception of those which were created by the Treaty of Waitangi. Of what use is it, practically, for a man to say I possess a right to my page 5 property, when there is no law to define the obligations which are created by such a right or government with power to administer the law. supposing it to have existed? New Zealand was, in an emphatic sense, a country without a law and without a prince."
I use the term for that which was acknowledged and warranted by custom, though there was no law in our sense to uphold it.
I subjoin a passage from a speech delivered by Mr. Dillon Bell in the House of Representatives, 3rd of August, 1860:—
"We know how at the great original migration the occupants of the first canoes took possession of the land; we know how it became subdivided as the tribes increased, and the hapu branched off from the iwi; we know how particular and distinct titles arose as land was subdued by cultivation, as hunting grounds were claimed for catching the rat, as weirs were erected in the streams, or as numberless other special acts of ownership were exercised; we know horn these distinct titles still merged in the tribal title, and did not destroy it: these are customs universally recognized, lying (as I said) at the foundation of native tenure throughout the islands."—(New Zealander, Aug. 8th, 1860.)
It may be well to say that I have never intended to uphold the tribal or communal right as a good thing in itself. I assert it only as a fact which now page 6 exists and which has existed from time immemorial. It was the only way in which the tribal form of society could be kept up. For to alienate land to a stranger, was to alienate to one who might any day become an enemy. The whole tribe therefore was interested in the matter for the sake of its own independence. It was something like what we call an Alien Law. Afterwards when the Pakeha came, it acquired a new meaning, but one of scarcely less practical importance to them. It is a question of great moment to them, whether a single man or a few men may, without the consent of their fellows, introduce into the midst of their cultivations an ineligible neighbour whose cattle may range over their unfenced land, or who in a variety of other ways may injure or annoy the rest of the community. Nor would the social evil be less. Such a principle would be fertile of quarrels. It would offer an opportunity to every ill-disposed man to gratify private resentment, and to embroil his tribe with the Pakeha. In this very case there are indications of something of this kind.
It is for the interest of both races that individual rights should be substituted for the right of the Community, as far as possible. But this can only be effected by rational means, not by mere force.
* These references are made to the pages of the London edition of "The Taranaki Question," by Sir W. Martin.
Page 6, Note 1, and Page 7, Note 2.
It is asserted in this Note that when the captives and the persons who had voluntarily migrated to page 7 other places began to return to Taranaki, those families which remained in the new places where they had settled, were never admitted to exercise authority over those who returned, in the disposal by the latter of their own land. It is also asserted, that for the last eighteen years it has been achnowledged amongst themselves that even a family of four people were free to dispose of or to retair their property. In page 7, Note 2, this is asserted broadly as applying to the whole tribe. It is said to have been an acknowledged usage among the Ngati awa that their separate families had secarate rights of alienation.
It is believed that these assertions are incapable of proof. They are directly contradictory to M. McLean's statement, 17th December, 1844, (Taanaki Question, page 19,) and also to Mr. McLean': practice. For, upon the principle now alleged, the visits to Queen Charlotte Sound and Wellington we unnecessary.
So extraordinary an exception to the general rule should have been properly proved, before fore was resorted to.
Page 13, Note 1.
It is believed that the practice of the Land Claim Commissioners was the following:—They travelled throughout the country, investigating each claim on the spot. The persons whose names appeared on each Deed as sellers were examined; and the boundaries of the land were then publicly pointed at. If page 8 this was done without opposition, it was assumed that the Community at large assented. The Note itself states, that there were eases where the tribe or hapu did object.
Page 14, Note 2.
Thinking it not unlikely that the word "Community" would be objected to as novel, I fell back upon the terms ordinarily employed, and used the words "tribe" and "tribal" in the ordinary way, as opposed to "individual." It would no doubt tend to clearness to use the word "Community" throughout, to indicate the separate societies into which the Maori population is broken up.
Page 15, Note 2.
The assertion here referred to is made on the authority of the following statement made by Mr. Forsaith, (formerly of the Native Department,) in his place in the House of Representatives, on the 9th August, 1860:—"Now it was a well-known fact, that W. King and that section of the Ngati awa, tribe whom he represented were never dispossessed by the Waikatos. As a proof of this, he would mention a fact which his honourable friend the Member for the Wallace County would confirm. About the year 1842, Te Pakaru, a Wai kato Chief who had taken part in the invasion of "Taranaki, proceeded to the Waitara for the purpose of taking possession, and had actually commenced felling timber for the purpose of preparing ground for cultivation. William King, who had page 9 not then returned from Waikanae to the home of his fathers, sent a deputation to pana Te Pakaru, i. e. to warn him off. Te Pakaru, conscious that his position was not tenable, gave up the attempt, and returned to Waikato."—(New Zealander, August 15, 1860.)
Page 18, Note 1.
Sir George Grey opposed for a time the return of William King; and his party to the Waitara, seeing the complication that would arise out of such return. When he found that they were bent upon doing that which they had the clearest right to do, he assented to that which he could not prevent. No doubt he desired to prevent their settling on the South bank of the Waitara. Whether William King made any promise, and if so, what were the circumstances and terms of the promise, I know not.
But it should be remembered that the blame (whatever it may be) of disregarding Governor Grey's wishes is not to be confined to William King. Teira returned with William King and settled also on the South bank.
This Note refers to the Note on page 92. In the latter we find a statement, proceeding from persons who must have been acquainted with the facts, that W. Kingi being the head Chief of all Waitara, on both sides of it, it was for himself to choose and to say on which side he was to reside."
I had heard of such a permission as is here al- page 10 leged, but the extent or terms of it I did not know, and do not know even now. At every point the same defect makes itself apparent, the lack of a proper investigation of the facts of the case. The point intended to be noticed is this, that William King was driven off land which he was actually occupying at the time.
The first sentence of this Note misstates my proposition under the form of admitting it. The proposition in the Note is, that the Native cultivators and occupiers of the block could make a title without the consent of the whole tribe. Advantage is taken of the ambiguity of the word "tribe," here, as commonly used to indicate that Community or Society of which the cultivators and occupiers were members. My real meaning is put out of doubt by the next sentence of the text, in which the Government view is expressed in other words, viz.:—"That if Teira's right existed at all, it was of necessity an absolute right," and that it was the purpose "of the Government to disregard all claims but those of the individual holders."
In this Note a passage is set forth which purports to be a part of Governor Fitzroy's speech of 3rd Aug. 1844. It is produced in order to explain away the natural meaning of the words used by himself in his official statement to the Home Government. In fact, the passage set forth is no part of that speech. It is taken from a sort of Leading Article page 11 in the Maori Gazette, published at Auckland 2nd September, 1844. In the same number o the Gazette (pp. 46-47) the speech itself is set forth. Then follows a brief notice of other speakers; then another address without a name, to the absentee owners, urging them to go to the nearest teacher or protector, to register their names and claims to land, so that, if they should not be disposed to sell and their masters should be willing to manumit hem, they might return to their own places.
In page 48 commences the before-mentioned Leading Article, reviewing and commending the Governor's proceedings at Taranaki, contrasting the English and French modes of Colonization and ending by enlarging on divers passages of Scripture. From this Article the words cited in the Note are translated. They appear to apply to the Town Block which Governor Fitzroy insisted on retailing, whilst he was content to recall the settlers from other parts of the District. When a block is to be ceded, of course the marking out of individual holdings becomes necessary in order that the payment nay be apportioned. But before it comes to this stage of the business, the Community must have already assented to the Cession. The contrast which runs throughout the words of Governor Fitzroy and the comments thereon, is not a contrast between the individual right and that of the Community, but a contrast between the rights of the owners on the spot and those of the absentees.page 12
The source of the whole difficulty which Governor Fitzroy found at Taranaki was this: the persons who were on the spot at the time of the arrival of the New Zealand Company's agent, desiring to secure the presence and protection of the Pakeha, had sold a tract of land without the assent of the absentee owners. This fact furnishes the key to all that Governor Fitzroy said. He expressed his desire to avoid the recurrence of such an evil, and all his suggestions pointed that way.
I have thought it necessary to explain this document, to guard against misconception. But in fact Governor Fitzroy's remarks did not apply to the Waitara at all. It is admitted that the people of that district had nothing to do with the sale to the New Zealand Company. (T. Q.p. 20.)
The connection of the argument in the text is missed in the Note. It is therefore necessary to restate it briefly. The letter to William King cited in page 26, and Mr. McLean's notice in page 28, both expressed the new principle quite plainly. Mr. McLean says, You know that every man has a "right (of doing as he pleases) with his portion, "and, no man may interfere to prevent his exercise of this right as respects his portions, for the thought respecting his own is with himself." These declarations were made to a man, with whom the Government had been long dealing as with one whose consent was necessary to the alienation of page 13 land at the Waitara. The new declaration forced him to assert his right in the letter set forth in page 33, and to state the ground of his right, namely, that the land belonged to the whole Community.
I notice that in the third column in this Note, the beginning only of the above sentence of Mr McLean is given, and the conclusion of the very same sentence (distinguished above by Italics) is omitted.
The important subject of the feuds referred to in this Note is reserved for consideration in connection with the Note on page 90.
The ambiguity of the word "tribe" has been admitted. I did not intend to assert that William King is the Chief of the whole tribe of the Ngati awa. He is certainly the Chief of that section of the Ngati awa to which the Waitara belongs.
Before leaving this branch of the subject,: subjoin an extract from a speech delivered be Mr. Dillon Bell, in the House of Representative, 3rd August, 1860:—" Towards the end of 1839, Glonel Wakefield (the Company's agent) arrived in New Zealand, and among other places went to Waikanae, where Wiremu Kingi, even at that tine an intelligent and enterprising man, took great interest in the Colonel's proceedings, and accompanied him in the ship Tory on a visit to the Ngati awa Chiefs "of Queen Charlotte Sound, to buy land. It was on that occasion that Wiremu Kingi sighed the page 14 deed of which so much has been said; but for my "part I never attached much importance to his signature except as it may be held to bar his individual right. About this time the Ngapuhi and "Waikato tribes determined on manumitting their "slaves taken in war, and almost simultaneously "with the ntroduction of European Settlers into Taranaki, numbers of the Ngati awa captives returned to their ancient location; while those who "belonged to the first migration followed their "example, and also began to come up from the South in small detached parties. Wiremu Kingi and his father remained at Waikanae, but according to Maori law were equally entitled to reclaim "their old possessions at Taranaki when they should return. I need not remind the House of the disputes which immediately followed the return of the Ngati awa, in the first years of the settlement, nor how they and the English settlers contested the possession of the soil; still less need I remind them that in 1844 Mr. Spain, the Queen's Commissioner for investigating and determining titles to land, held his Court at Taranaki, and decided that the Company was entitled to a grant of 60,000 acres: or that Governor Fitzroy disallowed that decision, on the ground of its setting aside "the claims of unreturned captives and absentees. I do not believe that Governor Fitzroy meant absolutely to annul the Company's purchase; I think it is clear he intended that compensation should be page 15 given to the absentees as they came in, not that they should have all the land back. But whatever he may have thought, there was never a doubt on "my mind that the natives understood his decision "practically to be a recognition of their ownership "and a giving back of the land"—(New Zealander, 8th August, 1860.)
Another circumstance should be noticed. Various points are relied on from time to time in support of the Government case: at one time the Waikato Invasion; at another, the Cession to Governor Hobson; at another, Governor Grey's policy; and so forth. Each of these taken singly, supposing it to have the effect ascribed to it, would set aside Teira's title as much as William King's: yet, in some way or other out of the combination or conflict of all, Teira emerges as rightful owner," as undisputed owner," whilst the rights of the Community and of the Chief have been lost. The result of this view is that Teira reappears with a title not worse, nor just as good, but far better than it would have been if none of these adverse circumstances had existed. For he is now conceived to possess a power of alienation, even without the consent of the Community to which he belongs.
It was not sufficiently considered how little the arbitrary severance, made by the Government theory, between the rights of the individual holder and those of the Community and the Chief, could be expected to commend itself to the people of the Waitara. The page 16 Waikato invasion is the point from which Mr. McLean dates the alleged change in the Rules of Tenure at Taranaki, the commencement of the exceptional state of things in that district. If the individual holders were not affected by all that had passed from the Waikato invasion downwards, how could the Community and the Chief regard themselves as deprived of their old rights by those same events?
Surely it is not meant that all publications are to be condemned, except those which approve of the course taken by the Government. In a Dependency, it is possible that the policy pursued by the Government of the Dependency may tend to counteract, or even to defeat, the policy of the Imperial Government. If that is deliberately believed to be the case, is every man to be censured who expresses that belief, with due caution and regard to circumstances?
The Debates in the House of Representatives in August, 1860, made it notorious throughout the country that there was a great difference of opinion amongst the Colonists themselves as to the proceedings of the Government. I believe that notoriety to have had a most wholesome effect in checking the spread of the war. The Natives were thereby encouraged to believe that what was done at the Waitara was not the doing of the Pakeha as a race, and would not be approved by the Queen.page 17
My remarks on the Taranaki Question were put forth in the beginning; of December, after hostilities had continued for nine months.
As to the declarations of the Governor refered to in this Note, it is to be remarked that, with the Natives, words weigh little against deeds.
It does not yet appear whether the assurance conveyed to the Bishop of New Zealand respecting the lawful rights of Chief and Tribe has ever been circulated amongst the leading Native Chiefs.
Pages 34, 35, 36.
There can be no doubt as to the duty of a citizen to communicate to the Government information which he may derive from any private source, respecting matters which seriously affect the public interest or public peace. I do not enter into the circumstances here referred to. The reasons for Archdeacon Hadfield's conduct have already been publicly explained by himself.
One thing however should be said. It is a most unfortunate state of things when a Government allows itself to depend on such sources of information, and omits to take the proper means of obtaining information for itself. And in this particular case, it should in fairness be asked, whether the assertion of right and the expression of determination to hold the Waitara, contained in these letters to Archdeacon Hadfield, had not been already conveyed directly to the Governor by W. King?
There appears to be a misconception as to the page 18 object for which these letters are cited. That object is not to prove any specific facts; but to shew the general facts that there were claims, and what was the nature of those claims. By the aid of the private documents, the writer gropes his way to some notion of the state of things. He endeavours to ascertain, as well as he can, what the Government ought to have ascertained fully and accurately. Had a proper inquiry been instituted by the Govern merit, the use of all these letters would have been superseded.
The consideration of this object will explain the omission of the letter of July 27. That letter indicates nothing as to the special nature of the claim made by "William King; whilst it contains a story about Mr. Parris, which I could only regard as unfounded or greatly exaggerated and distorted. At the same time I had experience enough of rumours in this land, to find no difficulty in believing that such reports had reached William King and had been credited by him.
Pages 38, 39, 40.
The second letter appears to me to prove nothing more than that the writer foresaw, what others ought to have foreseen, namely, that the employment of soldiers would end in bloodshed.
A remark towards the end of the Note makes it necessary for me to add, that when these letters came to my hands, the time had long passed when page 19 they could have been of any practical use to the Government.
Pages 49, Note 2.
It was never intended to be alleged that William King is the Chief of the whole Ngati awa tribe. He is certainly the chief of the Community to which the Waitara belongs.
What is meant is, that plain issues are raised even upon these documents. Those issues would have been raised more plainly still, if a proper inquiry had been instituted by the Government.
No complaint is made against the Land Purchase Department; nor any question raised as to its efficiency, whilst kept within the bounds of its proper functions. If there is no dispute between buyer and seller, there is nothing to decide. What is maintained is this, that when a dispute exists, the decision of the Land Purchase Department (in this particular case the decision of Mr. Parris) is not sufficient. It is not sufficient to bind the rights of the Queen's subjects, or to justify the use of military force against the Queen's subjects.
With a view to remove a misconception which seems to "prevail at Home, I notice an important statement in this Note, by which it appears that nearly 30,000,000 acres of land have already been acquired for the Crown in this Colony. The British population is estimated at between 60 and 70,000.
It is by no means the case, that the accusations of not instituting" a proper investigation, after all, resolve themselves into the charge that no investigation was made at Waikanae." The case of Waikanae was dwelt on because it was an admitted fact that no investigation did take place there. The cases of Queen Charlotte's Sound and Wellington were passed over more lightly, for want of information; and that reason was expressly given. It is now clear that the very gravest doubts exist as to the assent of the Natives at Queen Charlotte's Sound. Mr. McLean himself, on his examination before the House of Representatives, produced a letter, dated April 10, 1859, written to him by one of those Natives. The letter stated that the names of certain persons had been signed without their authority, and intimated that the transaction, if it went on, would issue in fighting. (See Mr. McLean's Evidence, Pap. E. No. 4, page 23.)
If any reasonable doubt could remain as to the meaning of the words used by Wi Tako, it would be removed by the following fact.
A short time back, when the excitement arose about the native man found dead near Patu mahoe, some of the people on the Waikato river notified their intention of visiting the spot, and there making inquiry for themselves as to the cause of the death. Ihaka of Pukaki (between Auckland and Waikato) page 21 resisted their interference. In the course of a discussion on this subject, which took place at Pukaki, Ihaka twice used the words No matou tenei he," the very phrase of Wi Tako. They were taken down at the time by a gentleman thoroughly acquainted with the Maori language. Nothing certainly could be farther from Ihaka's meaning than to charge himself and his people with any wrong or fault in the matter. All that he meant was, that the thing which had gone wrong was his own affair, and that their neighbours ought not to meddle with it.
It is to be regretted that the original words of Paora's speech, referred to in this Note, are not given,
Page 67, Note 2.
The admission here made of the desirableness of the establishment of some tribunal for settling questions of Native tenure and custom, is so far satisfactory. The difficulties in the way of doing this appears to be over-estimated. All would depend on the constitution of the Court, and on the order and course of our proceedings with a view to the establishment of it. For the creation of a Court for determining land questions is not the first point to be aimed at. This subject will be discussed more fully in connection with Note, page 90.
What the reasons were which induced The Legislature of the Colony to agree to the Declaration in Section 8, I do not know. That they had page 22 nothing to do with the point here suggested (namely, that the territorial rights of the Natives stand upon Treaty, and therefore that questions between the Government and the Natives belong to the Governor and not to any Court) is shown by the words of the Declaration itself; which apply, not to questions between the Government and the Natives, or between English Colonists and the Natives, but to questions affecting the Title or right of occupancy of the Aboriginal Natives, as amongst themselves." The point here referred to as to the Treaty and its consequences, will be more fully considered below in reference to Mr. Richmond's Memorandum.
As to Lord Carnarvon's Despatch, is it intended to be inferred that, whereas the British Government was not to be expected to support by military force the decision of the Governor in Council, under the Native Territorial Rights Bill, that Government was to be expected to support by military force the result of Mr. Parris' inquiry? His Lordship's Despatch should rather have suggested, that the full and proper investigation, which we claim as due of right to the Native subjects of the Crown, was no less needed for the protection of the English Colonists and of the tax-paying public of England.
In this Note it is said that the order of things, which the Governor disturbed, was the desperate feud then prevailing at New Plymouth.page 23
It should be remembered that there was no feud subsisting between William King and Teira. We learn from Mr. Parris that after this offer for sale Teira associated with William King the same as before, but never let the subject rest." He states also that they never had recourse to harsh measures after the public offer of the land to His Excellency the Governor, but on the contrary tried to work upon Teira by acts of kindness." (E. No. 3 A. p. 2.)
Mr. Parris is here speaking of peaceful relations subsisting between William King and Teira before the negotiations for peace between the Taranaki tribes began, that is to say, whilst the feud was still subsisting between William King and other parties. Then came the negotiations which brought the feud to an end. Peace had continued for about half a year when the Governor made the military demonstration at the Waitara.
In this Note it is asserted that nearly twelve months of patient investigation were expended on this case. Now Teira's offer was made on the 8th day of March, 1859, and the first instalment was paid on the 29th November, 1859. The whole investigation then lay between those two dates. We are also told that Mr. Parris' inquiry was prolonged till the close of the year 1859; not from any doubt that existed as to the title, but in the hope that the opposing party might be brought to reason." (Pap. E, No. 3, p. 21.)page 24
A portion of time then, which we have no means of defining, is to be interposed between the time when all doubt had ceased as to the title, and the 29th of November. Moreover, Mr. Parris himself states that his inquiry was intermitted for two months, lest he should interfere with the negotiations for peace then pending between the Tribes. (Pap. E, No. 3a, p. 2.) What portion of the residue was actually employed on this particular business, it is impossible to ascertain, as there are no Minutes of his proceeding's.
Yet in the Despatch to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, dated 28th of June, 18(10, it is stated that nine months were occupied by persons constantly engaged in carefully considering and investigating this particular title." And now we are told that "nearly twelve months of patient investigation" were spent upon it.
I notice this, not because the matter in itself is of great moment; for the value of an investigation depends much more on the nature and method of it than on the length of time employed; but as an instance of a looseness of statement much to be regretted in official documents.
This Note furnishes a remarkable instance of a practical fallacy which pervades these Notes. These so-called "rules" and "decisions" were in fact merely plans of proceeding or schemes of policy. They might be very beneficial, if they could be car- page 25 ried out, but they had no binding effect or authority whatever. To induce the Natives to yield up tracts of land and accept compensation for them, was in many cases very proper; and Mr. Clarke and the officers of his department often had influence enough with the Natives to obtain their assent. But no one was bound by those transactions, except the persons who were actually parties to them.
What is here called Governor Grey's decision was no decision at all in any proper sense. Governor Grey found himself in the midst of those difficulties which followed upon that act of Governor Fitaroy, which has been expressly admitted by the present Governor to have been both just and politic, (part. Pap. July, 1860, p. 177.)
Governor Grey did not directly impugn the proceeding of his predecessor, but he felt the practical inconveniences which followed upon it. To escape them, he attempted an intermediate and singular policy. The titles of the returned owners were not to be acknowledged in words by the Government, but their claims were to be bought, if they were disposed to sell, at a rate not exceeding 1s 6d an acre.
It is idle to quote this policy of Governor Grey as an authority or precedent for the present proceedings. That policy has been entirely abandoned by the present Governor. The titles of the individual cultivators, which Governor Grey would not directly acknowledge, have been in this very transaction (not to go further back) fully acknowle dged by the present Government. Teira and his companions. page 26 have been recognized as rightful owners," as undisputed owners." (E. No. 3, p. 22.) And as to the price, have the present sellers received no more than 1s 6d an acre?
This Note opens a subject of the utmost importance, and one which needs a fuller discussion. It is most true that feuds productive of many crimes raged among the tribes in the neighbourhood of New Plymouth, for five years, from August, 1854, till July, 1859, peace being finally made in September, 1859.
Here, and elsewhere in these Notes, it seems to be taken as a consequence of that state of things, that the proceedings of the Government at the Waitara were justified. It is implied that there was something in those proceedings tending to put an end to that state of things: or else, that with a people capable of such crimes, all legal and rational modes of dealing were out of the question. Therefore I do not content myself with saying (what indeed would be a sufficient answer to this Note) namely, that these feuds and crimes and our inability to prevent or punish them, furnish no reason why a full and proper inquiry should not have been made into Teira's title to sell; such an inquiry being demanded at once by justice to the Natives, and by due regard to the interests of our own people in the Colony and in England.
These feuds commenced when Rawiri Waiaua, page 27 encouraged by the local Land Purchase Commissioner, attempted to sell a piece of land in violation, as it appears, of the tribal right. (T. Q.p. 139.) The result of this was the crime described in page 115. The Government did not interfere to punish that crime, or to suppress, by military force, the atrocities which followed it. It was apprehended that interference on our part would lead to a war of which the limits, the cost, and the effects, could not be estimated. It was seen also that it would be extremely difficult to prevent our motives from being misunderstood. Many feuds and private wars in different parts of the country had passed without notice. If we interfered in this case, it was likely to be thought that we did so, not so much on account of the crime which Katatore had committed as on account of the land which Rawiri desired to sell. So the Government confined itself to protecting the settlers, and endeavouring by such means as were practicable to check or mitigate those feuds.
The difficulty of the case became still greater when Katatore was murdered. That crime was committed on the Queen's land, on a public road within the settlement. It was a murder of revenge, not directly connected with any piece of land. Still the Government refrained from interfering, beyond issuing a Proclamation in the following month, February, 1858. That Proclamation was not in such general terms as stated in this Note, that is to say," warning all the Natives that this anarchy would no longer he tolerated." It only warned page 28 them against assembling with arms within the boundaries of a certain district. The Proclamation was accompanied by an official comment in the Maori Messenger, which, after explaining; the reasons of our non-interference, proceeded thus:—
"While indulging this hope, we are startled by the news of another and more frightful murder_____Blood is spilt on land which the Queen "has granted. This cannot be allowed to pass in silence. The Governor has therefore spoken his word. He still says, 'I shall not interfere. Both parties are doing wrong, but it is not my present intention to employ force against either while they keep outside the limits of the English settlement, but I will allow neither to come armed within these limits, I will not permit fighting in my presence.'" I do not know whether this limited proclamation has been, as is alleged in the Note, 'openly violated.'
The effect of this state of things on the Natives may be gathered from the following letter:—
March 4, 1858,
To Riwai, Kiripata, Wiremu Tamihana, Apa, Ture, Wiri, Tei, and Hohepa, to you all, Greeting to you. My friends, my fathers, listen. Here we are involved in warfare, that is to say, in grievous, murderous, cannibal, bloodthirsty calamity—in this very grievous calamity. Listen. You are probably imagining that we are going blindly to work. It is not so, but we are proceeding on a clear course. What makes it clear is this, that as far as regards the reference to the Governor, that has page 29 been done. As for murder, we have no intention of murdering. We leave murder to Ihaia and Nikorima. Our Chiefs will act in broad daylight, and indeed they are acting now in broad daylight. As regards the reference to the Governor, that has been made by the Chiefs. You have already heard that Waitere (Katatore) was killed on the ninth day of the month of January. We had to wait till February for the Governor's answer. The answer came, that the Governor could take no steps in the matter, but let there be another murder, then the Governor would consent. Hence our Chiefs concluded that the course taken by the Governor was wrong, because, this is Ihaia's second murder. The words of the former Governor are not attended to now, for steps were taken in the case of the quarrel with Rangihaeata at the Hutt—on that occasion, promptly. In the case of this murder no steps are taken. As he was killed in the midst of the settlers, so now should any man belonging to Ihaia he found in the house of a settler in the town he will be killed there, because this is not as it should be. And now all the pas are surrounded, Te Karaka, Pukerito, and Otehetehe. The pa which we attacked was Pukerito, we got close under the outworks. Those of our party who were killed in the attack on the pa, were Hehe Nga nohoanga, Tamati Tuainane, and Te One. These were from Waitara. Tamati Takua from War***, Maihi from Tapuirau, Heta from te Kawau. These were killed. Of the people of the place Eruini Mangania, Hakaraia Repo, Te Kawhaki Haenga were wounded. Wi Te One mihi was killed in the fight at Te Ika moana. He was shot by Te Kepa Hanawerangia.
I cannot tell all. Enough.
Ritatota Te Iwa.
It seems that the letter from the Governor, referred to above, has not yet been printed.
Now what view of the Queen's Sovereignty could the Natives acquire under these circumstance? I do not censure the Government, but I ask for a fair consideration of the facts. Instead of throwing the page 30 whole blame upon the Natives, let us rather look upon that state of things as the common calamity of both races. Let us not keep back the fact that in the origin of these evils we also had a share, and that they were aggravated by injudicious acts and by violent language on the part of some of our own people. No greater misfortune could have befallen the Natives than to see that the Government was powerless, and so to be driven back into their old barbarism. It would have been the greatest blessing for both races, if it had been possible from the beginning to follow up and punish every act of bloodshed. The manifest benefit, flowing from the action of the Queen's Sovereignty, would have reconciled the Natives to the action of that Sovereignty in other ways. But every consideration which had made it unwise and inexpedient to interfere against crime, made it still more unwise and inexpedient to interfere in a question of land.
The feuds at last wore themselves out and peace was made. A few months after that, the Colonial Government employed military force at the Waitara. The power which had not protected life or property, came forward to take possession of land. What I assert is, that no coarse could have been more un fortunate than this, no course less likely to effect the great object of establishing practically the Queen's Sovereignty throughout this island. We did not interfere even when we should have been sure of a strong body of allies; when the instinctive sense of justice and retribution for crime would have been in page 31 our favour, on the spot and throughout the island. When the feuds and crimes had ceased, we began to employ military force, and that in a case wholly inconnected with crime. So we did all in our power to confirm the evil notion, already widely spread among the Natives, that we care for nothing but to get their land.
We often hear strong language used about what is called a defiance of the Queen's Sovereignty. It were better for both races if we set ourselves dispassionately to consider what we hate done towards commending that Sovereignty, towards showing the value and benefit of it. In what light must the case appear to them? The Queen's power has not saved their lives or property, but it takes possession of their land. It appears to them not as a protector but as an invader; not as a stayer of bloodshed, but as itself a shedder of blood. We have taken the course which tends not to advance, but to hinder, our great object. We have begun at the wrong end.
I do not mean to say that the Queen's Sovereignty could be imposed wholly from without, even by a Government regarded with confidence by the Native population. We must act oh the principle, which has been of late so often enunciated and so often forgotten, that the Natives are to be governed through themselves; but we can only effect our great object by proceeding in the right order. We must invert the whole course of our proceedings. We must begin by suppressing bloodshed and crime, and so ad- page 32 vance in minor, matters. The next Native Conference will furnish an opening for our efforts towards securing that great end.
Our present mode of proceeding provokes resistance. Let us proceed in the proper order, and we shall find support in all parts of the country.
We boast of our superiority, and especially of our skill in government. Let us prove our skill, by commending rather than discrediting the object we have in view. The Natives have been repelled from that to which they ought to have been attracted by the strongest sense of their own interest.
Many and very intelligent men amongst them are now drawn towards the King party most unwillingly. They know and say, that the chiefs of that party possess neither the knowledge nor the means needed for elevating their race, and rescuing them from the evils of their present condition. Yet they turn to them as a protection against a power, which they fear and cannot trust.
When the present evils shall have ceased, and confidence shall have been restored by a fair investigation of their grievances, and by an earnest practical effort to provide for them the institutions, and secure the social benefits, they so greatly need and desire, the combination which is now opposed to our authority will disappear like a mist, and the Native race will regard the Sovereignty of the Queen as a boon and a privilege.
* For this translation I am indebted to the same gentlemen as before.