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

No. 83. — Copy of a Despatch from Governor Sir George Grey to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle

No. 83.
Copy of a Despatch from Governor Sir George Grey to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle.

Government House, Auckland, 5th April, 1864.

My Lord Duke,—

In your Grace's Despatch No. 12, of the 26th January, I am directed to state, in reference to certain murders which had been committed by Natives of these Islands, to what extent these crimes, are referable to savage lawlessness of individual persons or families, and how far they represent the feeling in which the Natives generally are determined to carry on the war.

  • 2. I referred this despatch to my Responsible Advisers, and the Colonial Secretary states in" regard to it that in his opinion the atrocities alluded to are exceptional, but that the exception includes a very considerable portion of the Native race, and that, had the rebel forces been allowed to remain unchecked, they would-probably have become general.
  • 3. I ought to state that, in my opinion, the custom of the Native race, in their savage state, has immemorially been as follows: If any families were, in their belief, wrongfully deprived of land by others stronger than themselves, whom they could not successfully resist in open war, they sought revenge in sudden murders before they totally abandoned the soil: as much as to say, "At least our property shall cost you dear." This custom they have in great part followed to-the present day, although the enclosed copy of a paper sent recently to the Government by the Natives in Tauranga will show that a feeling much more in consonance with the teachings of Christianity is now springing up amongst many of the Natives.

I have, &c.,

G. Grey.

His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, K.G., &c.