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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Early Proclamation

page 35

Early Proclamation.

With our present publication we issue a sheet containing fac similes of two proclamations by Governor Hobson. The originals of these proclamations are preserved at the Auckland Institute, and are most interesting historical documents.

In a despatch, Governor Hobson narrates his action at Kororareka on landing. He says:

" Bay of Islands,

"Sir,—I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency that, immediately on my arrival in the Bay of Islands I issued an invitation to all British subjects to meet me at the the church at Kororareka on the following day, there to hear read Her Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal, extending the limits of the colony of New South Wales, and Her Majesty's Commission under the Royal signet and sign manual, appointing me Lieutenant-Governor of such part of the colony as may be acquired in sovereignty in New Zealand.

"I have now to report that on the day appointed—namely, the 30th ultimo, the ceremony of reading the above Commissions was performed in the presence of a concourse of persons, forty of whom subscribed the document, a copy of which is annexed.

"The proclamations framed by your Excellency and the Executive Council of New South Wales were then read and published—the first announcing that Her Majesty's authority had been asserted over British subjects in New Zealand; the second, acquainting the public that Her Majesty does not deem it expedient to acknowledge as valid any titles to land in New Zealand which are not derived from, or confirmed by a grant from the Crown.

"I have, &c.,

"W. Hobson.

"His Excellency Sir George Gipps, &c., &c., &c."
The document referred to states that the commissions have been published. The following are the signatures of those who were present:—
  • James Busby
  • John Mason (clerk)
  • James R. Clendon
  • Charles Biker
  • Robert Edney
  • Benjamin E. Turner
  • George Russell
  • John Kelly
  • John Scott
  • John Weasell
  • Moko
  • David Fitzpatrick
  • Adam Keir
  • P M. Moody
  • Andrew O'Brien
  • Jeremiah McCrohen
  • Robert Evans
  • Edmond Powell
  • William Baker
  • James Cosgrove
  • William Wilson
  • Alexander McGregor
  • E. McLennan
  • John Garwood
  • J. A. Wood
  • W. Scott Buckham
  • William Turner
  • M. Bowey
  • Alexander Black
  • G. T. Robinson
  • Thomas Spicer
  • Edward Waterton
  • G. T. Clayton
  • George Greenway
  • Charles John Cook
  • William Motion
  • Alexander McGuier
  • Alexander Marshall
  • Donald Mackay
  • William Dodds
  • John McLeod

The first proclamation referred to in Governor Hobson's despatch was as follows:


"By His Excellency William Hobson, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of the British settlements in progress in New Zealand, etc., etc., etc.

"Whereas Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, has been graciously pleased to direct that measures shall be taken for the establishment of a settled form of Civil Government over those of Her Majesty's subjects who are already settled in New Zealand, or who may hereafter resort hither. And whereas Her Majesty has also been graciously pleased to direct letters patent to he issued, under the Great Seal of the said United Kingdom, bearing date the fifteenth day of June, in the year 1839, by which the former boundaries of the Colony of New South Wales are so extended as to comprehend any part of New Zealand that is or may be acquired in sovereignty by Her Majesty, her heirs or successors. And whereas Her Majesty has been further pleased, by a commission under her royal signet and sign manual, bearing date the 30th day of July, 1839, to appoint me, William Hobson, Esq., Captain in Her Majesty's navy, to be Lieutenant-Governor in and over any territory which is or may be acquired in sovereignty by Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, within that group of islands in the Pacific Ocean commonly called New Zealand, and lying between the latitude 34 degrees .30 minutes and 47 degrees 10 minutes south, and 166 degrees 5 minutes and 179 degrees east longitude from the meridian of Greenwich. Now therefore I, the said William Hobson, do hereby declare and proclaim that I did, on the 14th day of January instant, before His Excellency Sir George Gipps, Knight, Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over the territory of New South Wales and its dependencies, and the Executive Council thereof, take the accustomed oaths of office as Lieutenant-Governor aforesaid. And I do hereby further proclaim and declare, that I have this day opened and published the two commissions aforesaid, that is to say, the commission under the Great Seal extending the boundaries of the Government of New South Wales, and the commission under the Royal Sign Manual appointing me Lieutenant-Governor as aforesaid. And I do hereby further proclaim and declare, that I have this day entered on the duties of my said office as Lieutenant-Governor as aforesaid, and I do call upon all Her Majesty's subjects to be aiding and assisting me in the execution thereof. Given under my hand and seal, at Kororareka, this 30th day of January, 1840, and in the third year of Her Majesty's reign.

"William Hobson,

"Lieutenant-Governor. "By His Excellency's command, "George Cooper. "God Save the Queen! "(True copy). "E. Deas Thomson."
page 36

The second proclamation respecting the titles to land is that of which we give a fac simile, and dated the 30th of January, 1840.

Our other fac simile is a somewhat singular proclamation which Governor Hobson felt himself constrained to issue in regard to the proceedings of the New Zealand Company's settlers at Port Nicholson. In a despatch in reference to their proceedings, Governor Hobson said:—

"Those persons who have settled at Port Nicholson under the auspices of the Company are, from their rank, their numbers, and their wealth, by far the most important in the colony. But it is to be regretted that, from the impunity with which they have heretofore, in defiance of the Government, encroached on the land, they assume a tone of dictation and authority which is totally subversive of all Government, and which must evenntually be overcome, or the sole management of the affairs of the island must be surrendered into their hands. On a recent occasion Sir George Gipps gave them the permissory occupation of 110,000 acres around Port Nicholson, on condition of their confining themselves to that limit, with a promise to recommend to your Lordship to obtain for them from Her Majesty a free grant to that extent, in return for the expense the Company had incurred in importing immigrants into the colony. But almost coincident with that act of grace, they spread themselves over the land of Whanganui, to a distance of 90 miles, in direct opposition to a notice simultaneously published both by Sir George Gipps and myself respectively. . . . It is quite evident, notwithstanding the extraneous matter introduced into the Port Nicholson petition, that the whole matter resolves itself into the simple fact, that I have not studied the exclusive advantage of the company, by fixing the seat of Government at Port Nicholson, and it is equally certain that the counter petition must be attributed to my having chosen my position on the Waitemata."