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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 32



During the last Session of expired Parliament of New Zealand, the Honorable Dr. Pollen brought two Bills before the Legislative Council, designated "Piako Land Exchange Bills, Nos. 1 and 2."

The first Bill had for its object to give Mr. Frederick Whitaker, a Solicitor of Auckland, a right to select 12,855 acres from a tract of land originally purchased by Mr. William Eppes Cormack, of Koenaki and other native Chiefs of New Zealand, which tract of land is fully described and set forth in a Deed of Conveyance to the said William Eppes Cormack, dated 31st December, 1839. (See Appendix A.)

Bill No. 2 asked the Council to assure to Mr. Thomas Russell (a partner of the aforesaid Frederick Whitaker), an Indefeasable Title to a Crown Grant, which had been issued to him, in respect of an original recommendation of a grant of 2,560 acres, made by Commissioner Godfrey, on the 8th June, 1844, at Coromandel, to Mr. Arthur Willis, of London, in consideration for the whole whole Tract of land aforesaid, on a Transfer from the said William Eppes Cormack.

Both these Bills were rejected by a select Committee of the Legislative Council. The Grant to Mr. Russell, on the ground of a recent fraud committed by the assigns of the said Arthur Willis, of the original recommendation to him, in measures adopted to obtain a confirmation of the said Grant, the particulars of which may be referred to in the Parliamentary Debates of New Zealand, commencing at page 4, 22nd September, 1875.

Doctor Pollen did not place before the Committee the whole history connected with the purchase of this tract of land by Mr. Cormack; if he had, which in justice to the writer and the cause of truth he should have done, he would have told them that it had long ago been made page 2 known to the Government and urged by the writer, that the original recommendation of a Grant to Mr. Arthur "Willis was obtained by a gross fraudulent conspiracy, and by wilful and corrupt perjury perpetrated on Her Majesty's Commissioner, at Coromandel on the 8th day of June, 1844, and neglectfully permitted by him for interests adverse to Beadon. It appears from the records of the Court of Land Claims furnished to the writer, and likewise to Mr. Frederick "Whitaker, by Commissioner Dillon Bell, in 1859, and by the Honorable Major Atkinson in a recent memo, to Sir Donald Maclean, and by Commissioner Domette a long time ago, that Mr. William Eppes Cormack had sworn in his evidence before the Commissioner, on the 8th June, 1844, and following days, that he had acted, in making the purchase of 31st December, 1839, as "Agent tor Sandeman and others," that he had received £750, and £435. That he had expended in the said purchase only £380 in merchandise, therefore Mr. Cormack could not have had any individual interest of his own left in the said block to transfer to Mr. Arthur Willis, as he (Cormack) had received more money from Sandeman alone than he paid for the whole block. Furthermore it is stated in the records of the Court of Land Claims, that the Commissioner, on the 8th June, 1844, permitted Mr. William Eppes Cormack to withdraw claim to 15,360 acres of the said tract of land which had been assigned and notified in the Government Gazette to Beadon by Mr. Gordon Sandeman, in February, 1841, without causing Mr. Cormack to deposit any record of his authority for so doing, under my signature, the said Grove Beadon.

The notification of my claim by Sandeman to a portion of the track of land purchased by Cormack for Sandeman, was tantamount to an assignment by Sandeman to me; therefore, unless it can be shewn that Cormack had any such authority, I must be entitled to a proportionate interest in the original recommendation of a grant of 2,560 acres, made by Her Majesty's Commissioner to Arthur Willis in consideration for the whole of the tract of land purchased by Mr. Cormack, on 31st December, 1839. I shew that Mr. Cormack never had any such legal authority, and, moreover, that the whole of the money paid by him for the land was trust-money in the hands of Sandeman, belonging to me at the time, and under my instructions to Sandeman to be so invested, and under the written guarantee of the said Arthur Willis that the money had from me by Sandeman should be so invested, according to my instructions to Mr. Sandeman (Appendix B). When Mr. Cormack assumed authority to withdraw Beadon's name, it was four years and-a-half after he had purchased the land for Sandeman and others, and which purchase he (Cormack) must have accounted for to Sandeman, or it would have been impossible for Sandeman to have described and specified the quantity and boundaries of part of the said tract of land which he assigned to me in the Gazette, on the 3rd February, 1844, and continued in supplement to Gazette, 5th April, 1843.

The only person who had been authorised to act for me was Mr. Gordon Sandeman, of Sydney, under a limited power, which did not give any power of appointment, or to sell, or transfer securities in my name; but this power had been cancelled by Messrs. Chambers and page 3 Holden, solicitors, at Sydney, two years and-a-half before Cormack (Apdendix C.) presumed to act as my attorney, and to withdraw my claim in the interest of himself and Arthur Willis.

Besides, Mr. Cormack personally informed me, in January, 1844, that he had purchased the land assigned by Sandeman in the Gazette, 3rd February, 1841, and 5th April, 1843, to me, by order of Mr. Sandeman. That the property was as secure under the Maories as a freehold would be in Somersetshire.

Mr. Cormack, at this time, was perfectly aware that Sandeman, Willis, Sandeman, or any of their agents (C.) or assigns, were prevented, by Power of Attorney to Chambers and Holden, from acting in any matter relative to my property.

Notwithstanding Mr. Cormack knew that Sandeman, Willis, Sandeman, or any of their agents or assigns, had been given legal notice not to meddle with investments made for me by Mr. Sandeman previously to his having been superseded by me, and three years after Mr. Sandeman had given up charge of Willis' House, at Sydney, to Mr. Joseph Scaife Willis, and during Mr. Sandeman's absence at India, Cormack returned to Coromandel, and, without any legal authority whatever, was permitted by Her Majesty's Commissioner to prosecute the original purchase for himself and Willis, and to withdraw Beadon's claim, notified by Sandeman three years and-a-half before, which he (the Commissioner) should not have allowed in face of the above evidence. There must be papers of assignment of portions of the said tract of land purchased by Mr. Cormack in the Court of Land Claims, otherwise it would be impossible for the Honorable Major Atkinson, and previous Commissioners, to have furnished the names of persons to whom portions of the property had been assigned by Sandeman. But the original deed to Cormack only is considered by Major Atkinson; those who supplied the money to Mr. Sandeman, which was received by Cormack on account of the purchase, are ignored altogether, as having no interest in the transaction. I assume that an estate purchased through agency, in equity belongs to those whose money has been used in purchasing it.

The parties from whom Mr. Cormack stated in evidence he had received £435, must have received back their money or have been compensated, or they would have preferred their claims before now, if any existed unsatisfied. I have never suffered my claim to drop. I am neither barred by time, or any Colonial post facto law; my claim was legally noted, and illegally allowed by Her Majesty's Commissioner to be withdrawn. The claim cannot be said to have been "disallowed after hearing," because it never has been heard. I. availed myself of the Land Claims Extension Act, 1856—58, extended to 1st July, 1859, and transmitted a Power of Attorney to Mr. Whitaker, when he was Attorney-General, who, acting as my attorney, required explanations from Commissioner Dillon Bell, dated 23rd June, 1859, eight days before the expiration of the Act.

I cannot be legally deprived of my property by a fraud perpetrated on Her Majesty's Commissioner, in 1844, or by any fraud which may be committed by any of Willis' assigns at the present period.

The fraud was upon the Court to which all aboriginal holders of land page 4 from the Maori Chiefs of New Zealand were compelled, by post facto laws, to be submitted for investigation, before they could obtain a Crown Grant, which it was compulsory to obtain, by colonial enactments. The Court was intended by Her Most Gracious Majesty and the British Parliament to confirm the rights of persons who had fairly acquired property of the Maori Chiefs before New Zealand became a demesne of the Crown, not to confiscate them by laws, acts, instructions, or ordinances, administered in a manner repugnant to the law of England, as in this case, otherwise a British subject in New Zealand becomes an outlaw. I am ignorant of the functions or power of a Land Claim Commissioner; but, unless Commissioner Godfrey caused reassignments of the property purchased by Cormack for Sandeman to be executed by I the assignees of the land, to whom it had been passed by Sandeman in the Government Gazettee (and which must have been passed from Mr. Cormack to Sandeman, for whom he had received all the money paid for j the said purchase), it is difficult to comprehend how Her Majesty's Commissioner, when administering justice according to the common law of England, could give back the property assigned by the Maories by deed, unless he adopted the short Maori process of breaking a stick, and throwing it back to the original vendors; but this reasoning will not stand, because the original vendors and their assigns were then British subjects under the Crown, and it is certainly a very unusual method of setting aside a deed, according to English notions of law.

As Commissioner Godfrey recommended an exclusive grant to Mr. Arthur Willis, on account of the whole block purchased by Cormack for Sandeman and others, on 31st December, 1839, it would seem as if he considered that the whole of the money received by Mr. Cormack from Sandeman, came from Willis, Sandeman and Co.; but in this view more fraud clumsily presents itself, as Willisand Sandeman were insolvent at the time, and to bo legal, if that were the case, the recommendation of J the Commissioner should have been to the assignees of Willis, Sandeman and Co., for the benefit of their creditors, among whom I figured for a large balance of trust money, which has never been repaid to this day, or otherwise accounted for.

It is difficult to understand in what legal position the Commissioner regarded Mr. Arthur Willis to stand before the Court, on the 8th June, 1844. He was not noted for any portion of the land purchased by Mr. Cormack. The money could not have belonged to Arthur Willis, Sons and Co., of London, as their letter, written by Arthur Willis himself to Mrs. Beadon, on 10th December, dispels that hypothithis. (B.)

The only equitable view of Mr. Willis' position before the Court would have been, that he was regarded by the Commissioner as guarantor that the large bills drawn by Willis, Sandeman and Co., upon me, in 1840, should be invested according to my instructions to Mr. Sandeman.

The stolen property has not been put into the melting pot; it still remains on the Piako; the boundary marks are still standing. The Crown Grant, in respect to the original recommendation to Arthur Willis, which has always been the stated objection to hearing my just claim, is now removed by a Committee of the Legislative Council, who have cancelled the Crown Grant to Mr. Russell; and, page 5 as the original recommendation was obtained by a frand upon Her Majesty's Commissioner, the investigation of Cormack's purchase, of 31st December, 1839, falls to the ground as a fraud; the writer believes that, as his claim to that land has not been barred by time, or by any actual fraud, or omission on his part, that it behoves the honor and duty of the Crown, and the integrity of the New Zealand Legislature, to see that a full, free, and open investigation of Cormack's purchase should be instituted de novo from, the records of Court, and the living witnesses to the Deed (who have never been examined), and from the living Maori vendors; this can easily be done. Can there be any just reason why this should not be done?

It is the interest of Government and the public, and individuals who have, in spite of the foregoing facts and my strances, been recently permitted to obtain grants for portions property lying within the well defined boundaries of Cormack's purchase, 31st December, 1839, by passing the property through the Native Land Court, without a clear and legitimate investigation of Cormack's purchase, their titles will for ever remain based upon a fraud which, as before stated, no time can bar.

The Honorable Major Atkinson has designated Cormack's purchase, as a "so called fictitious purchase," in which the native title has never been extinguished, &c., &c.

Mr. James Mackay has drawn a pen and ink line across the Government map, which the writer received from the Court of Land Claims at Wellington. Mr. Mackay said the Ngatipoas had no right to sell the land south of that line. That it belonged to the Ngatihauas. But it should be remembered by those energetic official gentlemen that they were not buttoned when this purchase was made. (See B in Map.)

That a more complete extinguishment of the Native title, it is impossible to express in English conveyancing language. That more than complete consideration was paid at the time. That the land did not produce the value of a farthing for 30 years after the purchase. That at the time when the powerful chiefs sold it, they were anxious for us to come among them. That might then made right, and the holding was under the good faith and power of those chiefs who sold it.

The purchaser of property at the present time from the Germans in Alsace and Lorraine, would think it rather wide of the true mark if some ingenious, deeply interested land purchase agent, now in frocks, should say some thirty years hence, "It belonged to the French, the Germans had no right to sell any part of it south of this line.

The Public Petition Committee, to whom this claim was again referred last Session, reported that Mr. Sandeman was Captain Beadon's agent, and, lastly, that Captain Beadon's losses were attributable to his "agents." Beadon has not any means of knowing by what evidence this contradictory and untenable decision was arrived at, as, unlike a Petition when referred to a Committee of the British Parliament, the Petitionor is not allowed to be present before the Public Petition Committee of New Zealand., either in person or by his solicitor.

Beadon knows of no other agent in this matter than Mr. Gordon Sandeman, who fully carried out his instructions to the letter in purchasing this land; but Sandeman never had power to sell or transfer. page 6 As for Mr. Whitaker, when he made enquiries of Commissioner Bell, in 1859, the fraud had been committed by the wholly unauthorised acts of Cormick, permitted by Commissioner Godfrey, in 1844. It is against those unauthorised acts, perpetrated on Her Majesty's Commissioner, that the writer has hitherto appealed in vain. That fraud was upon the Court, and through the obvious neglect of that Court.

It is impossible, by any construction, to make Cormack out to be Beadon's agent. Arthur Willis had not any authority over investments made by Sandeman for Beadon. He was only guarantee that Sandeman should invest the monies, drawn in the name of his house, for Beadon, and this was done. In this case their appears to be an evil without a remedy in the Constitution of New Zealand, as the fraud is not denied by the Honorable Committee, or that Beadon has not sustained a loss by fraud.

The only remaining question to be decided is, who is responsible for that fraud? Who disposed of the land which had been purchased of the Maories before the Colony was instituted? Surely that Court must be responsible, which had been organised in the name of Her Majesty, and to which, by post facto laws, all such properties were compelled to be submitted before a Crown Grant could be received, and which Crown Grant it was likewise rendered compulsory to be obtained, or the proprietor became a trespasser on his own land.

The Attorney-General, Mr. Prendergast, admits that a mistake was made by the Court. Commissioner Bell could not see what right Cormack had to withdraw claims he had not notified in the Gazette Commissioner Domette thought it was a hard case, and a subject for investigation. Sir Donald Maclean, to whom Beadon shewed the old Bills at his residence in 1874, said "he thought it was an honest claim." Sir George Grey said, "if your name has been withdrawn from the Gazette without your authority, you have a grievance." The Honorable Major Atkinson expresses sympathy; but sympathy will not repair a broken pitcher.

No Government, in any country, which suffers a man to be deprived of property illegally, can justly expect the support of honest or independent gentlemen, or honesty in their servants.

Beadon hopes that a brief history of the case will suffice to give an insight into it, without recapitulating the whole of the notes referring thereto, previously printed, with reference maps.

Mr. Arthur Willis, to whom Mr. William Eppes Cormack transferred, in 1844, the whole interest in the property, purchased by him on the 31st December, 1839, was senior partner of Arthur Willis, Sons, and Co., No. 3, Crosby Square, Bishopsgate Street, London, He was also senior partner of a firm at Sydney, N.S.W., trading under the name of Willis, Sandeman, and Co., merchants. Mr. Willis was an 23rd early promoter, large shareholder, and director in the New Zealand Company. Mr. Cormack resided at the Bay of Islands, and was engaged in procuring New Zealand spars for the Navy, and for merchants at Sydney, before New Zealand became a British Colony.


Captain Beadon visited the Bay of Islands, Cloudy Bay, and other accord parts of New Zealand, in 1837, when serving as a lieutenant on board H.M. ship "Conway," At the Bay of Islands Beadon met page 7 and conversed much with the late Mr. Busby on the subject of purchasing land from the Maori chiefs, and the possibility of clearing the fern off, and laying the land down in grass, etc., etc., etc. Mr. Busby occupied the position of "British Resident." He assured Beadon that purchasing land from the Maori chiefs was a legitimate and safe investment; that the Maories were an independent, friendly people, and were fully recognised by the Crown; that the Maori flag had been formally saluted by H.M. ship "Alligator," at the Bay of Islands, in 1835; that they were most desirous of encouraging Europeans to buy land, and settle in the country. Property at this period was so secure in New Zealand, that a watch could be suspended to a stick, stuck into the beach at Kororareka, and no one would dare to touch it, if tabooed. There were then more than a thousand Europeans in New Zealand, living in peaceful security of life and property. There were many very fine young half-castes, New Zealanders, constituting portions of the crews of the numerous whaling ships which visited their ports, and they were considered good seamen. Beadon, at this early period, entertained the idea of obtaining a tract of country and colonizing it with English farmers, similar to the early formation of settlements in Virginia and other parts of North America. In 1838, Beadon purchased stock, through Mr.


Sandeman's agency, in the Bank of New South Wales, at Sydney, and previous to the "Conway's" sailing for India, in October, 1838, gave Mr. Sandeman a limited power to receive half-yearly dividends from the Bank, and to pay up calls on ten additional shares, &c., &c. Soon after the "Conway" sailed, Mr. Sandeman forwarded a letter, through Mr. Arthur Willis, to Beadon's brother, residing near Taunton, in Somerset, in which he (Mr. Arthur Willis) added a postscript in his own writing, so that Mr. Willis was acquainted with the writer's connection with Mr. Sandeman from the very first transaction. In February, 1839, Beadon directed Mr. Sandeman, in a letter from Madras, to buy land in Australia or New Zealand, with water frontage, not exceeding the sum of £400. Beadon authorised Mr. Sandeman to draw a bill upon him in the name of Willis, Sandeman and Co., for £1000, to pay for this land and other investments proposed by Sandeman. The land was to be in maiden land, specifically in Beadon's name.
On the 31st December, 1839, Mr. Cormaek purchased a tract of


land for Sandeman and others, on the Piako, a portion of which was notified by Mr. Sandeman for Beadon, in 1841. In 1840, a bill, signed Willis, Sandeman and Co., dated at Sydney, 27th March, 1840, was presented and accepted by Beadon's bankers, for £1,000 on Beadon's account. In the latter part of 1840, a second bill for £1,000, dated 23rd July, 1840, was drawn by Willis, Sandeman and Co. upon Beadon. Beadon's bankers declined to accept this second bill upon Beadon, because Beadon had only advised them of one bill for £1,000. Mr. Arthur Willis wrote to Mrs. Beadon respecting these drafts; and, after guaranteeing that the money should be invested by Mr. Sandeman, according to Beadon's instructions to him, Mrs. Beadon requested the


bankers, Badcock and Co., of Taunton, to pay the second bill for £1,000, which was done. Beadon was in China when these bills page 8


were drawn and presented. In 1842, Beadon returned to England, and having required explanations from Mr. Willis as to how the money, drawn by his house at Sydney, had been invested, Mr. Willis promised to make enquiries of Mr. Sandeman, whom he characterised as Beadon's individual agent. In the autumn of 1842, Mr. Willis informed Beadon that Mr. Joseph Scaife Willis had taken charge of the Sydney house, and that Sandeman had left, whereupon Beadon sent out a power of attorney to Messrs. Chambers and Holden, superseding Sandeman, or Willis, Sandeman and Co. In 1843, Beadon proceeded to Sydney to confer with Mr. Sandeman. On arriving there, Mr. Sandeman had gone to India. Mr. Joseph Scaife Willis refused to let Beadon see the books of the firm kept by Mr. Sandeman before he left the firm.


In August, 1843, Beadon received the supplement to the New Zealand Gazette, dated 5th April, 1843, containing a notification of Mr. Sandeman's purchase for him of 15,360 acres, case 43, being a portion of the tract of land purchased by Cormack, for Sandeman, on 31st December, 1839. In January, 1844, Beadon met Mr. Cormack at


Petty's Hotel, at Sydney. Beadon showed Mr. Cormack the New Zealand Gazette containing Mr. Sandeman's notification of the land purchased for Beadon. Mr. Cormack said it was quite correct, that he had purchased the land by order of Sandeman. Mr. Arthur Willis arrived at Sydney from England, and was as unaccomodating as Mr. Joseph

(Colonial security and Mr. Whitaker.)

Scaife Willis. Messrs. Willis, Sandeman and Co. thereupon filed their schedule. Beadon, being desirous of securing the property purchased for him by Mr. Sandeman, wrote to Lieutenant Willoughby Shortland, at Auckland, on the subject of his claim. Lieutenant Shortland was then Colonial Secretary : he was formerly a messmate with Beadon in H.M.S. "Heron," in 1827. Mr. Shortland informed Beadon that he had requested Mr. Frederick Whitaker, a solicitor of Auckland, to act in the matter of Beadon's claim to land on the Piako. Beadon returned to England in 1844, relying upon Mr. Shortland's statement, that Mr. Whitaker would attend to his interests. War with the natives followed, which prevented the


possibility of occupying land on the Piako until recently. In 1859, Beadon transmitted a power of attorney to Mr. F. Whitaker, reminding him, by letter dated 15th March, 1859, that Mr. Shortland had spoken to him, many years before, on the subject of Beadon's claim on the


Piako. In 1864, Mr. R. B. Lusk applied to Mr. Whitaker on the subject of Beadon's claim and the power transmitted to him in 1859; but the first intimation which Beadon received, that the power had actually reached Mr. Whitaker, was given in the following letters from Mrs. Colonel Chapman and Lieutenant Albert Jackson, 18th Royal Irish, to whom Beadon had written. Mr. Whitaker had, in the first place, informed that lady that Beadon's claim was very valuable; but a short time after, said that he would not give sixpence for it.