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

No. 44 — Protest presented to Earl Granville by Sir George Grey, Sir Charles Clifford, and Others, New Zealand Colonists in London

No. 44
Protest presented to Earl Granville by Sir George Grey, Sir Charles Clifford, and Others, New Zealand Colonists in London.

We, the undersigned persons who have been officially connected with the Legislature and Government of the Colony of New Zealand, venture to take this public notice of a despatch from Earl Granville to the Governor of New Zealand, dated the 21st March ultimo, in reference to an application made on behalf of that colony for assistance in its present dangers. We feel justified in taking this step because we personally had a share in the transactions to which the despatch relates, and because the colony has no authorized political organ in this country.

That department of Government (the Colonial Office) to which the colony would naturally look for protection becomes itself the instrument of wrong. In making this public protest we disclaim all intention of reflecting on Earl Granville. We have regretted that for some time past each successive Secretary of State, on assuming the seals of the Colonial Department, has been led by wrong information to attach his name to some despatch, the allegations of which being erroneous, and the tone irritating, if not insulting, the Colonial Government has been forced into a position of hostility to the Colonial Minister, whilst it has always been the earnest desire of the colonists, in the most friendly and loyal spirit, to aid that high officer in the discharge of his onerous and difficult duties.

We regard the allegations expressed and implied in Lord Granville's despatch as calculated deeply to injure the European population of New Zealand in the estimation of their fellow-countrymen in Great Britain, to inflame the passions of Natives already in arms against the Government, to produce disaffection among those who are friendly, to drive those who are neutral or wavering into, the hostile ranks, and, at the same time, to create a bitter feeling of hostility on the part of the colonists towards the Government of the Mother-country, which, it is to be feared, may become a national tradition. The publication in England at the present time was unjust, because the colonists, not having had time to reply to it, are thus condemned unheard, and suffer prejudice which it may be difficult if not impossible to remove, from groundless charges of the gravest kind circulated without refutation.

We declare, from our personal knowledge, that the allegations so conveyed or implied against the Colonial Government are without foundation. Equally groundless is the imputation implied in the, despatch that the colonists are not exerting themselves to the utmost in their own defence.

We regard the action thus taken by the Imperial Government, accompanied by an absolute refusal of aid to the colony under any circumstances, as in the highest degree ungenerous. It is the first time in British history that Great Britain has insultingly refused assistance to her countrymen in danger which she herself has been instrumental in erecting.

We declare that the repudiation of tho plain obligation entered into by treaty on Her Majesty's behalf with the Natives of New Zealand, upon the faith of which they permitted us to colonize the country, is inconsistent with British honour; that it is our belief that such repudiation will be subversive in the Native mind of all confidence in the good faith of the European race.

We protest that the statement made in the despatch to the effect that all responsibility arising out of those obligations was transferred to the colonists at their own demand, is at variance with the circumstances. We feel surprised that such a statement should be made in disregard of the formal memorial of the General Assembly of New Zealand in 1862, expressly declining to accept such responsibility.

We regard the despatch itself as fraught with danger to the colony. The moment it becomes known in the colony it will be interpreted by Natives, and circulated amongst their fellowcountrymen. This will occur simultaneously with the removal of the last regiment. Our friendly Native allies will thus be told that the Queen has withdrawn the protection to which they have been accustomed to look in the last resort in the part they have taken in support of the Queen's Government against their own countrymen; whilst the whole body of the Natives will be taught to regard the colonists of New Zealand as their oppressors, who have brought their present danger on themselves by neglect of their obligations and wrongful usurpation of Native land; and they will learn to regard, under the sanction of Imperial authority, the massacre of missionaries, women, and children as mere acts of reprisal.

Lastly, we declare with sorrow our conviction that the policy which is being pursued towards New Zealand will have the effect of alienating the affections of Her Majesty's loyal subjects in that country, and is calculated to drive the colony out of the Empire.

Gr. Grey,
Late Governor of New Zealand.
Chas. Clifford,
Late Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Henry Sewell,
Formerly Colonial Secretary and late Attorney General of New Zealand.
H. A. Atkinson,
Late Minister of Colonial Defence
J. Logan Campbell,
Late Member of the Executive Council, and Superintendent of the Province of Auckland.