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Early Wellington

Proclamation of the Queen's Sovereignty

Proclamation of the Queen's Sovereignty.

An agent from the British Government arrived in the Harbour at this time, and these provisional measures were at an end. A boat from Thorndon brought the news to Pito-one at night, that the “Integrity” had returned with Lieutenant Shortland, the Colonial Secretary, a detachment of thirty soldiers and some supernumeraries, consisting of “mounted police,” and constables. A rumour had been circulated that the inhabitants of Port Nicholson were establishing a republic, and they were reported at the Bay of Islands as “a turbulent set of rebels.” The news was carried by Jerningham Wakefield to the Hutt, and merry and loud were the page 52 jokes that rang through the tents. Early next morning Constable Cole performed the task of pulling down all the New Zealand flags which were hoisted at Pito-one, including the rather ragged one on the flagstaff near Colonel Wakefield's house, and some adorning the grog shops along the beach, furtively watched by a few people in their night caps.

Next day, the 4th June, Lieutenant Shortland disembarked at Thorndon, to hoist the Union Jack and read the proclamation of the sovereignty of the Queen of England over New Zealand.

A large number of Colonists, including Colonel Wakefield and most of the Council, joined in the proceedings in a loyal manner. The soldiers landed and encamped in tents at one end of Thorndon; and Lieut. Shortland, with his suite, ensconced themselves in some half finished houses at that place. The other Government officers were Lieut. Smart of the 28th Regiment, in command of the few policemen, Lieut. Best, with thirty men of the 80th, and a clerk of the bench, who also assumed the duty of postmaster. The days of the Council were only remembered as a time of happy freedom from lawlessness. It was a proud boast, however, for this community that nearly 1,500 English people and 400 untutored savages had lived for five months without a serious breach. The few prisoners who had been committed for trial by Major Baker were handed over to the lawful authorities.

They had been confined in one of the Company's wooden houses at Pito-one, which was appropriated as a lock-up, and a boatful of “mounted police” came over to convey them to a thatched house at Thorndon, which had been selected for a jail. The Englishman found at Waiwhetu Pa, had been at a wedding a few days before, and during a bout of drunken merrymaking, had assaulted a man who lay badly wounded in the adjoining house, which was the Company's infirmary. The prisoner, owing to his hurts, was moved down to the boat with some difficulty, and display and jingling of handcuffs, carbines and sabres, which accompanied the whole proceeding.