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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 10

J. — (Copy.)

page 66



Otaki, Wellington, New Zealand,

My Lord Duke,—I request to be allowed to draw your Grace's attention to some very serious charges brought against me in an official document contained in certain "Miscellaneous Papers "forming part of an Appendix to a Memorandum by Mr. Richmond, on Sir W. Martin's "Taranaki Question." The document referred to is—"Copy of a letter from the Chief-Land-Purchase Commissioner to the Governor," dated 1st December, 1860; and purports to be a reply to a letter of mine published in the New Zealand Spectator of the 12th October, 1860.

I forbear to trouble your Grace with any remarks on Mr. Donald M1 Lean's contradictions of my statements. What' I wish to bring under your Grace's notice is the following passage;—

" And now I shall briefly advert to some observations which appear in Archdeacon Hadfield's evidence before the House of Representatives in the last Session. (Ans. to Q. 44), ' I was absent from the Colony about twelve months, and on my return I found that the [King] movement had made rapid strides in the South. The progress of the King movement is to be attributed, in my opinion, to the action of the Land Purchase Department in the South part of this Island.' In making an assertion of this description the Venerable Archdeacon should have had the candour to avow that the "anti-land-Selling-league"—which eventually merged into the King party—was really a project of his own, and was recommended by him to the natives as early as the years 1848 and 1849. The natives have openly stated at their meetings, on the subject of land-selling, that they had been instructed by the Archdeacon not to alienate any portion of their territory to the Government. Mr. Had-field seems to find it very convenient to conceal the part which he took in influencing the minds of the natives, and very adroitly to endeavour to impute to the Land Purchase Department the blame due to his own acts. I apprehend it would require a measure of more than the Archdeacon's ingenuity—great as it may be—to defend his efforts to embarrass the Government in their operations with the natives, and by his advice and counsel to lead them on to their own destruction."

In reference to this extract, I beg leave to make the following observations:—
1.I have no doubt whatever that the opinion I gave in my evidence before the House of Representatives as to the King movement is correct. I shall be prepared to prove its truth whenever an opportunity is afforded me of adducing evidence in support of it.
2.I have proved in a letter published in the New Zealand Spectator, November 3, 1860, that there never has been any "anti-land-selling-league "in New Zealand.
3.I have never had any project whatever as to an "anti-land-selling-league "; nor have I ever recommended anything of the kind to any native.
4.During the whole of the year 1848 I was ill and confined to my page 67 bed, at the house of a friend in Wellington, and had no communication with natives. It was not till near the end of the year 1849 that I recovered and returned to this place: but the subject of land was never once mentioned, there being at that time no negotiation for the purchase of any land in my district.
5.Before I had seen the charges on which I am now commenting, I had said in a letter published in the New Zealand Spectator of the 6th inst., "I here take the opportunity of noticing an insinuation, if not a statement, publicly made by Mr. Commissioner M'Lean, that 1 have advised natives not to sell their lands to the Government. I now state most distinctly and unequivocally-that I have never since New Zealand became a British colony, either directly or indirectly advised, or in any way endeavoured to influence any native, or party of natives, not to sell their land to the Government: and that Mr. M'Lean's statement is a falsehood, and one, I regret to say, which the many opportunities which have occurred for explanation render wholly inexcusable." As Mr. M'Lean gives no information as to who "the natives" are, and when and where they made the statements imputed to them, I can add nothing more on this head.
6.Your Grace will not expect that I should condescend to reply to the calumnious and malignant insinuations contained in the latter portion of the extract from Mr. M'Lean's letter. But what the effect of my advice and counsel has really been among those natives over whom I may be supposed to have any influence h pointed out in a letter addressed by me to the Southern Cross, August 24, 1860, when a similar attack was made on me by the Native Minister. "It is twenty years since I first went to reside at Waikanae and Otaki. During the whole of my residence in the district there has been profound peace. No Englishman or Maori has ever been murdered. No collision has ever taken place among the natives themselves. No outrage his ever been committed on the person or property of an Englishman. During the last twelve years—when low first began to be enforced—there has never been an attempt to prevent the execution of a warrant issued by the Resident Magistrate of Wellington, though placed in the hinds of only a single constable. I boldly challenge any one to point to a single instance of disloyalty on the part of any of the natives of my district, or of any act which has the slightest tendency to produce disloyalty, until the month of May last, when after the Taranaki war began, a colour from the Maori King was sent from Waikato, and an attempt was made to erect it."

I should not have troubled your Grace with this letter were it not that peculiar circumstances, which it is unnecessary for m to explain, render it unadvisable that I should at present take legal proceedings against Mr. Commissioner M'Lean,

I have the honour to be, Your Grace's most obedient servant,

Octavius Hadfield.

The Right Honourable the Duke of Newcastle.