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An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

No. 34. — Copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Grey to Lord Stanley

page 41

No. 34.
Copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Grey to Lord Stanley

Auckland:Military Force requisite to be maintained.

My Lord,—

Government House, Auckland, 14th May 1846.

Upon the 12th instant I addressed a despatch to your Lordship (No. 46) in which I stated I would take an early opportunity of reporting upon the strength of the military force which I considered at present requisite for the maintenance of British supremacy in these Islands. I have now the honour to transmit copies of the correspondence which has passed between the Lieutenant-General Commanding the Forces in New South Wales and myself upon this subject. Your Lordship will find, from this correspondence, that I consider that a force of 2,500 troops of the line should for the present be stationed in New Zealand.

I find that my predecessor, in his Despatch No. 27,. of the 9th of April, 1845, stated it as his opinion that two regiments were required for the maintenance of these Islands, which would amount to a force, of about 2,000 men; but, after having now visited many portions of the Islands, I should recommend that the force here should be increased to 2,500 men. I make this recommendation under the belief that in four or five years time this force might be reduced to a single regiment, and that it would be advantageous to continue as rapidly as possible the formation of a local police force, composed in a great measure of Natives; which force I am now organizing with apparent success; The expenses of this force could, at the end of a few years, be defrayed from the revenues of the colony, and it would be one in every way suited to the service of this country. Indeed, I think it would in New Zealand be found more advantageous than any European force.

I beg to state to your Lordship that, however limited in number may be the force which Her. Majesty's Government may be able to place at my disposal, I will; do my utmost to conduct the service in such a way as to merit Her Majesty's approbation; but my fear is that, if a sufficient force is not at once stationed in the country, sanguinary and expensive, yet petty, wars may take place, which will entail on Great Britain a large and useless expenditure of blood and money, and retard the advancement of this country almost indefinitely; whilst on the other hand, should a sufficient force be at once sent here, I feel satisfied that no further disturbance of any consequence will take place, and that in a few years the country will be able to defray the expense of its own establishments.

I have, &c.,

G. Grey.

The Eight Hon Lord Stanley, &c.