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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Rare Volume



Since the foregoing pages were sent to press, intelligence has reached us of the sudden death of Potatau. This event will cause important changes. Whether the advocates of the scheme will proceed at once to elect a successor to Potatau, or whether they will allow the matter to drop, is difficult to say. It is possible that the death of the new-made monarch immediately after the late complete and full recognition of his sovereignty by the Waikato tribes, may be regarded as an aitua (an evil omen). It is quite in character with Maori superstition to look on such coincidences in this light. Nor have such superstitions entirely died out. Many of the old men will probably regard the event as being intended to admonish them of a wrong step taken, and as ominous of future evil if persisted in. Should the zeal of the leaders still bear them forward in their determination to carry out their scheme, the future will greatly depend on the person on whom their choice may fall. Should it fall on any one of the war party, the difficulties of our position will necessarily be increased.

page 72

The influence of the King movement upon all the best interests of the country, and of its people, indicates the imperative necessity of adopting the most prompt and energetic measures to arrest its progress at this point. For should it be permitted to take root and grow, it must most seriously affect all interests—religious, social, political, and commercial. It will imperil the very existence of the native race, disturb the peace of the country, and ruin the prospects of a Colony, that was promising to become a home for thousands of the surplus population of other lands, and presenting an attractive field for the profitable employment of both capital and labour. It will also destroy the hopes that have been so long, and so fondly cherished of amalgamating the races, and of placing on the future page of history at least one proof, that the Christian Missionary is not necessarily the pioneer of the heathen's destruction; and that the colonization of a barbarous country is possible without the extermination of its aboriginal race.

It becomes then more than ever the duty of those entrusted with native interests no longer to hesitate, but to enter promptly into negociations with the King party with a view to prevent them taking any further action. It is not improbable that many of the party may be disposed to look on the death of Potatau as presenting a good opportunity for an honorable withdrawal from the movement, and be found ready to fall in at once with such measures as might be proposed for their acceptance. No time, therefore, should be lost in securing a conference between his Excellency the Governor and the leading men of the party—at which it might easily be shewn to them that all that is really good in the movement, and all that is essential to their happiness, and freedom as a people, could be better secured under the Queen's Government than under any system that they could devise. A frank and candid discussion of their supposed grievances and a disposition to meet their views, so far as they can be met consistently with the supremacy of British rule, might bring the whole affair to an end, and placa the country in a much better position as regards the "native question" than it has ever hitherto obtained.

Printed By W. C. Wilson, Auckland.