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

No. 2. — Henry Labouchere, Esq., to William Hutt, Esq., M.P

No. 2.
Henry Labouchere, Esq., to William Hutt, Esq., M.P.

New Zealand Company's Enterprise not sanctioned by the British Government. Downing Street, 1st May, 1839.


I am directed by the Marquis of Normanby to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th ultimo.

In reply, I am directed to state that, until the deputation, of which you were a member, waited on Lord Normanby on that day, his Lordship was entirely ignorant of the course which the Company had adopted, or of the objects which it now appears they have in view. Lord Normanby now for the first time learns that a body of Her Majesty's subjects are about to proceed to New Zealand to purchase large tracts of land there, and to establish a system of government independent of the authority of the British Crown. It is impossible that his Lordship could do any act which could be construed into a direct or an indirect sanction of such a proceeding.

Abstaining from the expression of any opinion upon a measure so imperfectly developed in the papers which accompany your letter, Lord Normanby thinks it necessary that the parties concerned should be distinctly apprised that Her Majesty's Government cannot recognize the authority of the agents whom the Company may employ; and that if, as is probable, the Queen should be advised to take measures without delay to obtain cession in sovereignty to the British Crown of any parts of New Zealand which are or shall be occupied by Her Majesty's subjects, officers selected by the Queen will be appointed to administer the executive government within any such territory. Lord Normanby wishes it to be further understood that no pledge can be given for the future recognition by Her Majesty of any proprietary titles to land within New Zealand, which the Company or any other persons may obtain by grant or by purchase from the Natives. On the contrary, with a view to the protection of the interest of the aborigines, as well as to the future prosperity of any colony which may be established in New Zealand, it is probable that application to Parliament may hereafter become necessary to provide for the investment in the Crown of any proprietary rights which maybe thus acquired by private parties, with such equitable compensations to them as under all the circumstances of the case may appear to be expedient. Under these circumstances Lord Normanby must decline to furnish the Company with the introductory letters for which they apply.

I have, &c.,

Henry Labouchere.

William Hutt, Esq., M.P., &c.