The Maories and the Causes of the Present Anarchy in New Zealand.
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The Causes of the Present Anarchy
IN a discussion, on the state of the colony, and the causes of existing embarrassments, I feel unable to convey a correct impression of my views without reviewing, in some general manner, the elements that had to be harmonised to assure an orderly and successful career to the colony.
Those elements we designate in a general way as civilization and barbarism, and such a nomenclature may be sufficient to indicate our ideas for ordinary purposes; but when we bring those opposed ideas into juxtaposition and compare them in detail, we shall find that we have been using terms which express no distinct ideas of themselves, and that they really convey nothing more than that the one is the opposite of the other. To define civilization, or what does or does not constitute civilization, has been hitherto not accomplished. What is virtue at Pekin is immorality at Exeter Hall--we are barbarians to the Chinamen, and return the compliment. Yet one thing is clear, the reception of vague indefinite expressions for exact ideas has in this, as in many other matters, led to serious mistakes.
The zealous clerical coadjutors of Cortes and Pizarro were too astute to be fanatic, yet enthusiastic enough to make the Saviour of mankind a destroying angel of wrath to the poor simple people which a savage avariciousness exterminated. Yet were the conquest of Mexico and Peru from the Aztic reserved to this enlightened age, as we call it, a beneficent Cortes would, no doubt, search, but he would search in vain, among the labours of philosophers and political economists for a sure rule to guide him to a different consummation.
It will be perceived, by the foregoing remarks, that I acknowledge no definite idea to be represented by the expression civilization: just so likewise in respect to barbarism. But society has many different phases,
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indicated by its prevailing character or bias, which can be apprehended or described. Thus, in almost all states which have risen to and maintained any considerable degree of eminence, we have the hunters' phase, or that in which the people lived chiefly by the produce of the chase, if the natural circumstances of their territory admitted it; if not, they were of necessity agriculturalists, in which case the original possessors, unused to the active exercise of the chase, invariably became a prey to some nation of hunters, or one more advanced in the natural course of races. The hunters' phase, running into excess, makes man the game, and developes the warlike phase; the excess of this rising through the progressive steps of generosity, integrity, chivalry, to its reductio ad absurdum knight errantry. The religious phase has fanaticism and hypocrisy; the pretence and the true excess producing either reform or reaction. The former, in Pagan times, produced persecutions; in later times, Protestantism. The latter reaction is developed at all times by scepticism, latitudinarianism, and the reign of sensuality; sensuality produces extravagance, the idolatry of wealth; the desire of wealth, commerce and its excess. The habitude of incurring great risks makes the mind callous and less vigilant to avoid, indeed more obtuse to recognise, many actions which perfect honesty would condemn.
In short, the morale of this stage, which reserves approbation to success alone without reference to means, consists in escaping the penalties of the criminal code; if it does this successfully it is all it aspires to, or is demanded of it.
Polybius relates of his cotemporaries that no citizen of Athens would obtain credit on his oath. Cicero, who lived in the corresponding era of his country, the culminating one of grandeur, makes a similar statement. The fearless disregard to truth openly shown by our local rulers, and the disclosures, indeed the statutes relating to commerce of late origin, seem to point out the whereabouts our partiular bias would place us.
It would be very easy for me to dilate and produce much evidence in support of these views, but it is not by any means my intention to become an apostle of information, far less to couch my lance against the processes of nature in the physical or moral world. When we read of the discoveries and of the wonderfully exact calculations of the astronomer, when he predicts, and predicts truly, the return of some orb or meteor with a mechanical exactness, we admire his penetration and perseverance, yet we all know that all these things are not exactly true; that though a cycle of a certain number of days and years and centuries of years brings some one of those orbs into its former position apparently, still it is only apparently, for we and our whole system have journeyed in the interminable ocean of space millions and millions of miles, (how many who knows?) and that in reality the same position in space in relation to the other existences is never returned to. Just so with the humblest plant of the fields; a close similarity of leaf indicates a genus of plants with similar habits, yet no two leaves were ever so alike as not to be distinguishable to the human eye; and so on through all existences in the moral as in the physical world; for what we designate nature, whether it be an
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instrument or a necessity, a cause or an effect, does not matter, it still abhors reduplication; but without semblances, cognisances could not be.
The progress of races has its apogees, their ascensions and declinations, and their culminating points one step precedes and contributes to the next; like the mountain heaving of the ocean, the debris of one is melted and absorbed into the succeeding.
"Wave says unto wave,
Whence art thou come?
Wave says to wave--I am thy son."
But aux nous mutons. Having no desire to establish a theory or convince others, I simply refer to these matters as my reasons for attaching so much importance to the prevailing characteristics of the two races brought into contact in New Zealand, under one government, in 1840. It is almost unnecessary to refer to the relation that the policy of a government bears to the moral state of the governed. History, obviously enough, shews that the most absolute ruler can neither reform nor prevent the decadence of a people. Man may found a nation, but fate, or nature, or whatever you choose call it, developes it. Moral considerations are not able to resist, in our particular phases, the demands of interest or progress or pelf. The idea of a British government undertaking the expenses and responsibilities of colonising New Zealand through motives of pure beneficence, in this age, is simply absurd. No British minister could, even if he wished it, undertake such an important business, except on principles of imperial interest.
What the interest consisted in we need not lose much time in searching for. The extension of commerce, a field for surplus population, and last, though not perhaps least, the exclusion of France from these islands--which, by the by, was only accomplished by a fluke--are ample reasons for colonizing New Zealand; but there was another still, and one of a very exigent character--the embarrassments that impended from a body of British and other subjects forming themselves into an independent state.
All these, with the addition of missionary considerations, which it has been attempted to exalt above all the rest as the cause, par excellence, of the colonization of these islands, but which, in reality, was the least consideration with the British government, combined to decide the government on the colonization of New Zealand.
Let me now exhibit the state of New Zealand at that time.
The whole territory of the Northern Island was divided into several states perfectly independent of each other, exercising all the prerogatives of such a condition. They levied war for aggression as well as defence, jealously guarded their territories, and resisted with their whole ability all encroachments on the territories of the state. The territory of each state was further apportioned to individuals, sometimes more and sometimes less well defined.
Though the chase afforded little inducement to the hunter, from the scarcity of animals and birds, the desire for animal food caused the natives to undertake the labour of securing the little that could be got,
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in which expeditions hostile parties frequently met, and were driven, by passion and hunger together, to prey on their kind, establishing cannibalism as an ordinary custom of the country. But while practising this extreme trait of barbarity, as we erroneously estimate it, their frequent quarrels, the responsibility of every one for the delinquencies of each, the necessity under which the injured lay to retaliate in the support of his prestige and as the only check to future aggressions, all conduced to foster and develope a greater degree of caution to inflict injuries, more deliberation in retaliating, and a greater readiness to grasp at any means by which their honor, if I may use the term, might be secured, without originating or establishing a feud which they did not know well how to end. This gradually ripened into a kind of rude justice, not of course justice estimated by our scale of moral perception, but justice estimated by their customs, and often irrational conclusions; still conclusions arrived at through a process of much discussion and deliberation, highly conducive to the development of intellectual powers within the narrow circle which the absence of arts and scientific knowledge so circumscribed to them. All this established the high degree of appreciation of interest found among them, and still more intense assertion of rights. In a word, the meum and tuum could not be more thoroughly appreciated than it was by the Maories on the advent of the missionaries.
Of these I must say a few words here. I shall not tire the reader with relating their establishment here, suffice it, that for some years after their arrival they made no proselytes. The devastating wars which sprung up on the acquisition of fire arms by the Northern tribes not only exhausted their enemies but themselves also, and multitudes hailed a proposition, which was backed by supernatural authority, as a veritable godsend, for it afforded, and was grasped at with avidity as, an honorable excuse for declining the war path, and perhaps a shield from the enmity of those they had so much injured. The progress of proselytism was correspondingly rapid; the exhaustion was so great, the means of relief so evident and satisfactory, that the missions could report a rapid conversion of the New-Zealanders, and, without becoming the advocate of the missionaries of New Zealand, I must say of them, as of missionaries generally, that they were unquestionably the best class to civilize savages. Obliged to be an example outwardly of moral conduct in a higher degree than the generality of colonists consider obligatory on them, they combined both principle and example of the best description. The consequence was that though a great amount of hypocrisy had crept into the native mind, their religious conversions, we may take for granted, were of the most mythical description. Still the constant habit of self-restraint in assuming a virtue they did not possess was gradually making the virtue itself more easy of practice. This is the state in which the British government found the New-Zealanders when they declared it a colony.
Governor Hobson inaugurated British rule by the so called Treaty of Waitangi, by which some of the tribes ceded the sovereignty and right of pre-emption over all the lands in the country. If the treaty
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made by some of the independent states was ever binding on the whole, it was allowed to lapse from want of power to enforce it, and it is now totally repudiated by the tribes who have declared their independence, generally on the pretexts that they never consented to it, and that it has never been enforced. The right of pre-emption was mercilessly exacted, but the right to levy war has, since the treaty, been allowed to the tribes in all parts of the islands; in the North, in Waikato, and, since Governor Browne arrived in the colony, at Taranaki and on different parts of the East Coast, exercising the sovereign power of making war would certainly include the minor one of sanctioning, or refusing to sanction, the alienation of territory belonging to the state; nor has the power of the chiefs to inflict capital punishment, even in districts alienated to the Crown, been interfered with. So late as the rule of the present Governor, in this district two old people accused of bewitching Hohepa, a son of the highly salaried chief William Naylor, were hanged, and burned in a pit, government refusing to interfere, thereby showing that the chiefs possess, in the most barbarous and literal manner, the right of pit and gallows.
I have already indicated the motives, practical and theoretical, which were in operation at the time of founding the colony. An extension of territory at the smallest cost will sufficiently describe those motives; and though it cannot be doubted that some of our clear-headed British statesmen saw clearly enough that immediate large expenditure, say £500,000, would have been well and economically applied in founding or launching the colony, still there was no earthly prospect that any statesman could have secured the acquiescence of a British parliament to such an expenditure; the result was that the colony was left to support itself out of funds to be extracted from the property of a few poor British subjects and the still poorer aborigines. The distinguished American circumnavigator, Commodore Wilkes, who visited the Bay of Islands when it was the seat of government, states that the British government treated the old settlers and the aborigines with equal injustice. Both those races were equally cognizant of meum, but the savage was unquestionably the better defender of his rights; he might be cajoled for years with bribes and promises, as he really was; but the bubble burst at length. Corruption has been gradually sapping our social fabric; vapid pretensions of power, beneficence, and of justice; weak imbecile displays of hostility, self-evident swindling, and total absence of justice, have convinced the Maories of our inability to govern, and our unfitness for the trust, and the inexpediency of continuing to endure our rule.
Each successive Governor ruled as a speculation, caring not one straw; indeed, rather preferring that his successor should be involved in trouble as a contrast to his own successful sway.
Governor Grey was thrice involved in war--with the northern tribes, those of Wellington, and those of Wanganui In the latter especially, the distinguishing characteristics were the same as those marking the late war at Taranaki. Firing at a foolish distance, and an extraordinary waste of ammunition; while, for all the results produced, the powder
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might have been expended in pyrotechnic exhibitions. A Colonel commanding wrote a dispatch relating how he sent three detachments in pursuit of two "Toas" who were vapouring in front of his stockade, and gravely relates how "these two Maories narrowly escaped capture;" The Governor with equal gravity published the dispatch in the Gazette.
The Northern war was more serious. Our most boasted exploit was the capture of an empty pa on a Sunday, while its defenders were at church. They made a feeble attempt to re-take the pa, which was magnified into having taken the pa by assault, and the commanders were consequently decorated with the order of the Bath. The Maories, however, could boast that the folly of those very commanders enabled them at Ohaiwai with impunity to kill or disable, in four minutes, more than one hundred British troops. We are told the secret of our want of success by Bishop Selwyn-- "Sir George Grey's principle, as I remember his avowing to myself in the case of Wanganui, was not to aim at any decisive success which might leave a rankling feeling in the minds of the beaten race." A very novel principle on which to carry on war, and a cause of the derision in which the Maories hold our martial pretensions. Probably the force Sir George Grey will find at his disposal, will, in the event of military operations, induce him to abandon this principle, induced by the inadequate military force formerly at his disposal.
Governor Grey, previous to his departure from the colony which had abused him so heartily, bestowed upon it a parting kick. Inaugurating Representative Institutions, which he had wisely held suspended during his own time, he convened the Provincial Councils previous to summoning the General Assembly, and succeeded in realising confusion worse confounded.
If this was done intentionally, how applicable are the words of our inspired poet:--
. . . . . "Thus even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips."
With the utmost diffidence I incline to doubt whether the time had come when the colonists could attempt to govern the country with the slightest prospect of success. The absence of men qualified by education to undertake the duties of legislators, and the unfitness of the community to exercise the franchise, was shewn in the selection of representatives. To be entitled to demand a certificate of conviction from police magistrates and criminal judges was no disqualification, and if the reader refers to the list of members sent to the first parliament by the province of Auckland, he will perceive that the highest estimate of talent consists in being a grog seller. If such the members of parliament, it was necessary to have received the horse-whipping administered to a blackleg to qualify for the office of prime minister.
That the framer of the New Zealand constitution should be ignorant that we are not the dominant military power in this country, and concoct a constitution ignoring the existence of the race that is, may not be so singular as that ministers should have assured Governor Browne that "the native difficulty is a myth."
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Even the nineteenth century cannot show a greater sham than parliament sitting in Auckland, liable at any moment to have its wonderful wordiness brought to a conclusion by a Maori Cromwell entering in his blanket and acquainting the house that the Maories accept the challenge thrown down to them on the 21st May, by Governor Browne.
Governor Browne's first native difficulty was most painful. An European named Marsden, in a fit of delirium tremens, killed a Maori woman, a total stranger to him. In his most sane moments Marsden was eccentric, having undergone the discipline of solitary confinement in the States prison of Sing Sing; a description of torture few pass through with their minds unaffected. The prevailing opinion in Auckland was that he would be acquitted on the ground of insanity; but, unfortunately, a few months previous, a Maori named Hemi had been killed by an European in Auckland in a drunken affray, for which the homicide was sentenced to imprisonment. On this second manslaughter the Maories congregated in large numbers in the neighbourhood, and let it be unmistakeably known that they intended to exact blood for blood. Judge Stephens charged the jury, in the most brutal language, to bring in a verdict of guilty. Unable to agree on their verdict, the jury were threatened by the judge with incarceration from Saturday till Monday. To escape this they agreed on a verdict of guilty, salving their consciences with an unanimous recommendation to mercy on the ground of the prisoners weakness of intellect.
In passing sentence Judge Stephens, in his execrable address to the prisoner, told him, the madman, that his motive for killing the Maori woman was that his life was unsupportable to him; he would gladly have ended it, but, dreading to be a self-murderer, he preferred to die by the hands of the executioner.
Governor Browne disregarded the recommendation to mercy.
Many Christians believe that the law of blood for blood was abrogated by our Saviour; and that, by an act of judicial slaughter, to send an erring soul quivering and fleeting on its unknown journey to the presence of Him that formed it is abhorent to the doctrines of Christianity; and rather than pressure should induce us to sanction such an act, especially in a case in which malice was obviously absent, we would prefer to draw the sword to defend the miserable creature from savages craving blood for blood.
The Maories were highly elated with their triumph, which they attributed to the attitude they had assumed, and boasted that for the future they would in all cases exact the life of any European who might cause the death of a Maori.
I shall, have occasion to refer to the death of Hemi.
In 1856, after some oscillation of the political ingredients of our Parliament, the government settled down in some sort under the direction of Stafford, Richmond, and Co., for the colonists of British origin, and Colonel Browne (the Governor) for the natives, each struggling for an extension of jurisdiction into the preserves of the other, and all equally ignorant, obtusely ignorant, of their respective duties.
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The Maories, disgusted with our rule, had resolved to overturn the present order of government, form an independent nation, and elect a King of their own, and entered on the undertaking with a diplomatic skill that left not a chance to the simple Governor Browne. The chiefs elected for their king Potatau, the great chief of Waikato, the only man in the island who, from his ancestry and warlike deeds, this proud people would have tolerated as their nominal head, while his great age and physical weakness tended still further to remove the jealousy the name of King would otherwise have induced.
Te Whero Whero, or Potatau, was inferior to no chief in the island by birth, while, as a soldier, he was without equal. He had shown himself a skilful general in defending Waikato against the invasion of the Northern tribes under Hongi, the chief, armed and named King of New Zealand by his Gracious Majesty King George IV., and he was commander-in-chief of the Waikato tribes in their conquests at Taranaki. After the taking of Pukerangiora, the Waikato chiefs, as a mark of homage, brought to Te Whero Whero their chief captives to be killed, and the day after the taking of that native fortress he slaughtered with his tomahawk eighty chiefs, when he complained of fatigue, and the remainder, nearly as many, were respited till the following day. In our first New Zealand war in the North of the island, when the British settlement at Kororareka was destroyed, Auckland was placed under the protection of Potatau, and Sir George Grey had a house built for him in the Government Domain, and gave him a grant of land at Mangare, in the neighbourhood of Auckland, where he settled with a few of his tribe, and anticipated his pension after the manner of the Maories. I first saw Potatau when he resided in the Government Domain with the great southern chief, Te Rauparaha (on parole), for his guest. Sir George Grey had destroyed the prestige of the southern chief by giving him an invitation, which did not admit of a refusal, to visit Auckland, and we may infer how he would have treated the newly elected King, residing within half-a-dozen miles of Government House.
King naming was comparatively a simple step towards independence, the grand difficulty was how to procure arms and ammunition. One of the first acts of Captain Grey, when he assumed the Government of New Zealand, was to forbid the sale of arms and ammunition to the Maories. This wise ordinance, since followed in India by the Marquis of Dalhousie and Lord Canning, had virtually disarmed the natives; the word was therefore passed through the land to besiege the Governor with demands to repeal the ordinance. Not a Maori felt the light of Governor Browne's countenance shine on him but his talk was, "Oh, Governor! give us guns and powder to shoot pigeons." The Governor was fatigued into compliance; as for the Ministry, they had from the time of their existence declared the Maori difficulty a myth, and the Executive Council gave a ready consent, with the exception of Colonel Wynyard, who placed on record his dissent to this act of suicidal folly.
Had the Government at the time of the repeal of the Arms Ordinance repealed the restriction on the sale and occupation of native lands,
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the repeal of the Arms Ordinance might have been of no evil effect; so large an European population would have occupied the interior of the country, and the interests of Europeans and Maories become so interwoven, that war would have become improbable. The Stafford ministry, however, looked on land-jobbery as a goose that would lay golden eggs, for their time at least, and resolutely refused to part with it.
We have since seen the death of that unfortunate bird, mangled and stripped of every feather: it died at Waitara on the 17th March, 1860.
Unfortunately the government land dealing was an early and important element in the training of the natives, jealous of the claims made by many persons of European origin to considerable tracts of land; too parsimonious to expend any considerable amount of money in obtaining the control of the lands of the country, and perhaps too obtuse to recognise the importance of doing so though repeatedly urged to it by the old settlers, the government degraded our honor and prestige by entering into the most truckling traffic that ever disgraced a society or an individual, --that of obtaining land at the very lowest price from persons ignorant of the value of what they were disposing of, sedulously closing their eyes to the fact that they, the government, were thus accumulating a hoard of grievance and discontent in the native mind; and bad as this of itself was, the injury was unfortunately increased by exhibiting to the natives that the government could be highly unjust to its own race; but above all, the diabolical attempts to bribe the natives to become parties to swindling or cheating to procure land for the government, not only had the deplorable result of convincing the natives of the viciousness of the principles of our government, but also seriously demoralised and eradicated from the native mind almost all the good that the missionaries had been the means of implanting therein.
En passant I may remark that it says a great deal for the native intelligence, that in spite of the attempts of government to create a feeling of hostility in the minds of the natives to the old settlers, both by open and covert instigation, and a lavish expenditure of money sometimes (as in the case of Mr. Busby's claim at Wangarei by direct bribery), to act dishonestly towards those settlers, in spite of the vituperation incessantly launched at them from every governor and secretary, Gore Browne included, a firm friendship exists between those settlers and the natives, proof of which is that this wretched mockery of government now acknowledges that they have to depend on those settlers for all information relative to natives, as "the natives distrust (mark the expression, it is from the lips of Gore Browne) the government to such a degree, that the government are unable to obtain any information from the natives, and that the old settlers are the sole source of their information in reference to native sentiments." Truly it may be said of him that he has sold his birthright for a mess of humble pie.
Having entered on their career as statesmen, the natives talked more and cultivated less. For some few years they had ceased to make any progress in European customs or husbandry, and now appeared of opinion that they had learned all that Europeans were capable of
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teaching them. In outward observances, and as polemical casuists, their education was and is complete; but there their Christianity ends. From being hospitable, honest, and truthful, they have become so far the reverse that it is a Maori maxim that a man who pays his debts is a fool; and throughout the country Europeans travelling are fleeced in the most impudent manner. The ill-treatment travellers receive when crossing the Waikato, near the Venerable Archdeacon Maunsell's station, is notorious. The ferry-charge is from £1 downwards, or if a poor traveller has no money he is stripped. The Maori believes that his duty to his European neighbour is to fleece him, and he does it. The ill-treatment they receive when visiting Auckland, and occasionally in the neighbourhood of their own settlements, partly accounts for this feeling: as an example I may mention that when travelling upon the ------ road when purchasing some provisions to take with me on my journey, at a large hotel, I asked the landlord if he could oblige me with a native basket. "No, I never have any traffic with Maories." Yet I could recollect when that man was happy to get the Maories to build a hut for him, and for years he was supplied with provisions from the native settlement in his neighbourhood. Among the questions the natives asked were, when would they be able to do without missionaries, and have their own clergy? Some went further; they privately told settlers that European law and religion were destroying them, and that unless they returned to the manners of their ancestors, they would become exterminated. When reminded that they could not exist without European clothing, "All, the French will bring us all we want." The wish was to expel the English, commence again with the French, and confine them to trading posts.
Public opinion on the king movement has been much influenced by the report of the Waikato Committee. So few have taken the trouble to read the voluminous evidence taken before the committee, that the report, so at variance with the evidence, has been accepted by the public almost without question. The committee calls "the king movement an effort to obtain law and order," and this has become the cant phrase of the party who support the Maori secession from the British government; but Waata Kukutai, the pet Maori of that party, so frequently named by Mr. Fenton and stated by him to be "the most powerful and useful agent of Government," candidly told the committee "the object of the king movement was our following our 'mana,' lest it should be taken away by the pakehas." Lest the "mana" should be completely trampled upon by that of the pakehas. The discontent of the tribes was lest the "mana" of New Zealand should altogether go to the Queen." The committee, discomfited by this evidence from their own witness, attempted to make him repeat their Shibboleth:--
Question by Committee: "Did they feel want of law and order among them?
Waata Kukutai: "They acknowledge the law, but their thought was to elect a king for themselves, that they might have 'mana'." For the fourth time repeating that it was to preserve "mana" sovereignty, that they elected a king.
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This "most powerful and useful agent" was the man employed last month by the party represented by the Waikato Committee to take up to the Waikato a petition to the Queen soliciting the recall of Governor Browne. I shall have occasion to refer to this effort to obtain "law and order."
The feeling against Government which found vent in the king movement appeared to be so strong, and the necessity of taking measures to prevent the collision which would otherwise become inevitable so urgent, that several of the outsettlers, myself among the number, brought the state of affairs before Governor Browne; but he did not appear to consider any interference with the national movement advisable. A settler, possessed of great knowledge regarding Maori politics, has placed at my disposal the prophetic warning he addressed to Government.
"Waipa, May 18th, 1857.
"I do not know in what light the Government does look upon the present ferment amongst the natives of this island; but as I do clearly see that it will eventually end in a direful visitation of God upon it, so I consider that every information relating to these affairs ought to be given to Government, in order that these events may not overtake the European settlements in a state of careless ignorance.
"Potatau has been made a king by the concourse of half the island, and by the wish of the native population of the whole of it; those few exceptions (tribes here and there apparently not consenting to it) is a mere measure of deceit, a feint which will be abandoned in the course of events:
"The foundation of the kingship is to sell no more land to the Europeans, and to allow no public roads to pass the native territory. How impossible it is for this colony to prosper, or even to exist, if these measures are carried out, is self-apparent. Natives hoarding millions of acres of land, of which they can and will make no use; New Zealand, compelled to check immigration for want of a location for new comers. Besides, criminals will in future be quite secured from legal prosecution, by taking refuge under the wings of this new sovereign in the interior.
"Pride will uphold and strengthen this king. Ignorance will unavoidably involve them in collision, and covetousness will lead these cannibal hordes to bloodshed and slaughter."
The well justified forebodings expressed in such a quaint old English style, were, of course, disregarded by the Ministry, who, in the struggle for power, succeeded in divesting Governor Browne of every vestige: the Justice of the Peace List, the officering of H. M. Colonial Forces, everything went from him; they did not even leave him his honor. I have seen a correspondence in which Governor Browne makes a trifling promise, but withdraws it by desire of the Ministry. Apparently keeping the control of native affairs in his own hands, was, as we shall see, when we come to speak of Taranaki, what the Waipa settler calls "a mere measure of deceit." With the supposed reason for this strange
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abnegation I am acquainted, but as I have had no opportunity of testing its truth, it will not be here repeated.
During their primitive state of society the Maories were forced to practise the utmost forbearance towards one another. When the consequences of given or taking offence were incalculable, for they might involve the destruction of either party with all his tribe, they were slow to give or take offence.
One system only of training their children was known from their earliest infancy; they were treated with the greatest consideration by their parents and tribe; their growth, physical and mental, uninjured by the cruel punishments and tasks of civilization, they were encouraged to listen to the deliberations of their elders; they early acquired a healthy, physical and mental development, and were led into the way of governing themselves (to use the words of a native witness before the Waikato committee) by kindness, quietness, good conduct, and refraining from anger towards one another.
The introduction of Christianity introduced the theory, so very nominal among ourselves, of the forgiveness of injuries. The missionary institution for settling disputes of more frequent occurrence after native law had fallen into abeyance was the "Committee" (komiti) or general meeting of the settlement, which undertook to settle all disputes, and condoned all offences, usually slander or adultery, for a trifling fine.
Previous to the departure of Sir George Grey from New Zealand, with the view of introducing British law to some small extent among the natives, he appointed a few English resident magistrates to native districts, --Mr. Smith at Rotarua; Mr. Harsant, a gentleman connected with the medical profession, to Rangiawhia; and Mr. Fenton, a gentleman in some way connected with the legal profession, was appointed customhouse officer and magistrate at Kaipara. Mr. Harsant, appointed to the most important native district in the island, had newly arrived in the country: Mr. Fenton had a slight knowledge of the language acquired in a two years residence in Waikato, as manager of a trading establishment, to which may be added a great taste for flattery, and a capacity for writing worthless minutes even exceeding that possessed by Mr. Richmond.
Having, from his want of judgment, narrowly escaped being the originator of a war between Tirarau and Parore, Mr. Fenton was removed from Kaipara to Whaingaroa. This isolated little settlement was most distasteful to Mr. Fenton. While declaring to residents that it was the most delightful part of New Zealand, he told his acquaintances in Auckland, where he spent most of his time, that it was purgatory. So little of his time did he bestow on the district to which he was appointed, that an advertisement appeared in an Auckland newspaper "entreating the magistrate of Whaingaroa, who had left his home for a few hours, to return to his disconsolate litigants."
Mr. Fenton's time was occupied in writing minutes on the Maories; and as, in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed are princes, the ministry, who were utterly ignorant on Maori questions, accepted Mr. Fenton at his own price, and removed the unwilling Harsant that Mr.
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Fenton might occupy his place as magistrate of Waikato, and write more minutes.
In a reformer boasting "the almost providential character of his movement" to regenerate the Maori race and prevent a collision between the races, we have a right to expect a thorough knowledge of the Maories, not the usual pakeha Maori smattering. Utterly ignorant of the antecedents of the great chief, soldier, and, politician, elected king, he speaks of him as a stupid, tricky, old man, who would lose his remaining influence through his, Fenton's, machinations. Ignorant of the nature of the national movement, but aware that the Maories utter "nothing which may be distasteful to the feelings of a man in power," his vanity led him to believe they made an exception in his favour. He tells us "the plastic of the Maori mind just now receives all my impressions without question;" "the views of the native magistrate soon learn to run in the same channel as those of the European officer." These views he produces under the cloak of what he calls the Maori political creed, --wardens, councils, the Fenton code, and Maoris to enter the European house of assembly. These proposals are as certainly not emanations from the Maori mind, as they are what we might expect from an attorney's clerk run riot, as the author of a code of law and the reformer of a nation. How his heart rejoiced when he wrote of this people, (once so slow to anger, and forgiving,) "they seem inclined to summon for the slightest carelessness of speech."
His general ignorance of the Maori is surpassed when he speaks of the tribe he resided among. (Journal, page 11.) After heaping blunder upon blunder about the chiefs of the Ngatipo, he makes the Ngatikahu a separate tribe in place of being a family of the Ngatipo. 1 Few pakeha Maoris would fall into such a gross blunder about the tribe amongst whom they reside.
Want of trust in Government, and suspicions of its ultimate intentions, which many of them believed aimed at their extermination, for they perpetually demanded, --"why does government profess regard for us, when it has exterminated the black race in Australia?" having led the natives to establish an independent state, the federation, under the nominal king, quickly obtained a general consent to bury ancient quarrels and animosities. They perceived that in the fusion of tribes their ancient customs, or the Missionary Komiti, would be inadequate to check disorder, and that quarrels rising into collision would soon destroy their confederacy. The small measure of advancement in civilization that they had made was sufficient to shew them that in our judicial arrangements they had a mine out of which their desideratum might be extracted. They gladly accepted the proposals privately made to them before the meeting at Paitai by professors or teachers of law, and then asked the Governor for such teachers or professors of
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law as Government might pay for. Of this class of professors was Mr. Fenton. That he did not or would not perceive the mainspring of the movement, is not surprising, He could not possibly see it. How could he represent his own services as worse than useless? The result was in course. The grinning Maories, with Fenton's assistance, changed the harmless Komiti into their most powerful political institution--the Runanga.
When the presumptuous vanity of ignorance led them to suppose that they had acquired sufficient law to enable them to manage without their professor, and alarmed lest his antics might induce war, Potatau directed Government to recall Mr. Fenton.
This did not occur till after Mr. Fenton had--by exciting the cupidity of some individuals by hopes of government appointments and salaries; by promising others sheep and grass seed to sow on land, their right to ownership of which was disputed; and even, as he tells us, attempted to draw so strong a line of demarcation between some of his friends and the king party that he advised them to abandon their settlement and live elsewhere--a second time narrowly escaped originating a native war. Then he was recalled because his remaining in Waikato would have led to a native war, as we are told on the authority of the late Minister for Native Affairs. Time has shown the truth of the assertion that the members of the Waikato Committee were like Fenton and his probationers, a set of untrustworthy, time-serving, place-hunters.
It was very unfortunate, under the circumstances of the country, that the chief of the dominating religion was one in whom were united considerable energy, acquirements, and talents, mixed and deeply tinged with sectarianism, indiscretion, and inordinate ambition.
This is a grievous charge against Bishop Selwyn. I regret much to be convinced it is too true. But it has been said, and well said, that there is no man so friendless as he who has no one to tell him of his faults. It is somewhat characteristic of our countrymen to have much respect for position. This partly proceeds from habit, and our complete submission to law; but the major part arises from the idolatry of talent which always unconsciously, perhaps, glides into an idolatry of success, the worst feature of the mercantile phase of a race; for this idolatry not only closes its eye to the objectionable character of the means, but has an invariable tendency to acknowledge any means to attain the desired end praiseworthy.
However this may be, it were vain to recall Bishop Selwyn to order until he had irretrievably committed himself, and most seriously damaged the Christian progress of native and European. His assertions that the colony was founded solely for the benefit of the aborigines, is such a stupendous barefaced assumption, so impossible under our social state, and so contrary to official documents, which are, by the way, very apt to pretend to more virtuous motives than do really exist, but never pretend to less, that a very great amount of ambition and indiscretion must have combined in inducing him to risk such an assertion. Of the same character is the manner in which he went out of his way to
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quote from Mr. Hursthouse a perversion of fact in reference to a transaction of which he, the Bishop, was more cognisant than Hursthouse. And why so? Simply because Bishop Selwyn was aware that Hursthouse, the agent, the paid agent for New Plymouth, falsely represented the purchase of the Bell Block at Taranaki as being humanely and judiciously effected, and that it was followed by the happiest results; but the Bishop knew well that that transaction was the most brutal in the conduct and the most fatal in its results, of anything effected in this colony, and has been cause direct that Taranaki has been ever since a scene of turbulence and bloodshed, and is now a waste and a desolation.
On Sunday, the 30th of June last, I was travelling on the Waipa. The morning was wet and stormy; weather in which no European, except a man determined to reach his home that day, would be pulling on the boisterous river. I landed to make a communication to the Reverend ------, one of the native nobility lately ordained. His reverence was engaged in conducting family prayer. He, his wife, and family were each draped in a blanket, and only a blanket. The Bishop and his clergy never see the natives in their blankets; when they appear before their pastors, their minds, with their bodies, are clothed in broadcloth. This accounts for the ignorance displayed by the clergy regarding the king movement. They tell us that they earnestly encouraged the natives to proceed with their runangas, and that there was nothing antagonistic in the king movement to the Queen's supremacy. They carry their Maori partizanship further, for they are well aware that if they, in periods varying from twenty to thirty years, have succeeded in introducing into their state of barbarism but a very bitter "leaven," to pretend to believe that a man who had abandoned his trade in Maori soft goods to deal in soft sawder had in a few weeks succeeded in introducing a "leaven" that would work and sweeten the rebellious Maori into civilized, loyal, and happy subjects, is, for their own purposes, to lend their names to back the bills drawn on public credulity by a trading imposter.
Surrendering Marsden, and permitting, unchecked, the federated tribes to proclaim their independence under King Potatau, had, in the opinion of the old settlers, made the duration of peace so precarious that a collision with the natives was inevitable if the homicide of a native by an European should occur and the European was not found guilty of murder and hanged.
Great amazement--a less strong word will not express the feeling-- was therefore felt when in February, 1860, Government declared war at Taranaki without preparation, notice, or cause.
The natives so almost universally agreed in denouncing the injustice of attacking William King because he would not agree to give his consent to alienate the lands of his tribe, that, even till the present date, I have heard only one chief, and he the paid servant of Government, doubt King's right to forbid the sale of the land in dispute. The usual reply, when asked their opinion, was, "Te Rangitaki is the chief of Ngatiawa. Who is Teira, who we never heard of, who pretends to
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sell his chief s land?" Had honorable dealing been considered, King would have been the last man, in the place of the first, who would have been sacrificed in attempting to enforce the lapsed treaty of Waitangi, for he was our ally, and only through his assistance was the war in Wellington brought to a conclusion. The small settlement of Taranaki was the most difficult to manage of any in the Northern Island, settled by Europeans when the native owners were fugitives or slaves, who on their return ejected the settlers from Waitara; the latter continued literally daily to look on their lost valley with an eye as longing as ever Hebrew heart yearned for the restoration of Jerusalem.
By a most remarkable coincidence some of the Taranaki settlers surrendered their title deeds to lands on the Waitara only a few months before the Taylor purchase was trumped up.
We have the authority of Mr. Parris, of the Land Purchase Department, for believing that in 1858 he refused to enter into a conspiracy "to exterminate William King and his people, in accordance with Mr. Turton's peremptory plan for the acquirement of that delightful and much coveted district" the Waitara. Mr. Turton, now a Resident Magistrate, is the gentleman who, some years ago (he was then the Rev. Mr. Turton), as the champion of the Wesleyan Missionaries, made most virulent sectarian attacks on Bishop Selwyn. He then wrote, "The public, my lord, have a right to look to us, as the appointed guardians of peace and security, on all points connected with the aboriginal interests; and it is only proper that they should be made acquainted with any circumstances which have a natural tendency to interrupt that peace or to endanger that security which the colony at present so materially enjoys."
True, Mr. Turton, the colony has a right to know any circumstances which have a natural tendency to interrupt peace; equally true,
Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis.
A party attempt was made to include the name of Mr. McLean amongst those of the originators of the war: it failed. Mr. McLean, most unfortunately for the colony, was in the South, prostrated on a bed of sickness, when government rushed to war with such indecent haste. Those acquainted with New Zealand history know that Mr. McLean's exertions for the benefit of both races have been greater than those of any man who has belonged to the colony, in settling native disputes, as at Wanganui, and in effecting immense purchases of land, sometimes under circumstances of extraordinary difficulty, arising from ill-judged European opposition, as at Wairarapa.
Early in 1860 the Taranaki plot ripened and burst. The ministry, or to speak correctly, a minister, was at the head of it.
Colonel Browne had not the slightest interest in the matter; his term of office was nearly expired, and he would have been only too happy quietly to take leave of his thorny New Zealand bed for softer quarters in Australia. Strong pressure was brought to bear upon him to make him break his repeated promise to the natives that he would purchase no land the ownership of which was disputed.
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Had he not abnegated all power and prerogative as the representative of his sovereign, there would have been no war at Taranaki in 1860.
Mr. Stafford, the late premier, was not engaged in the Taylor purchase, being absent in England--public report says on an unsuccessful mission; for the Earl of Derby refused to minister to the exacting vanity of the Auckland mayor of the palace, and declined to move her Majesty to admit him to the order of knighthood.
Mr. Richmond, the late Colonial Treasurer, was conducting the government; he was one of the principal Taranaki settlers, and had a deep interest in acquiring Waitara for his province. He swallowed the tempting bait. Had he been successful in holding it, and correct in supposing that bullying would make William King resign the lands of his tribe, he would have been rewarded with his share of the plunder, and the praises of his province: unsuccessful, he must hear the complaints of those ruined by his ambition. Probably Mr. Richmond did not know what he was doing; certainly Colonel Browne did not know where he was led, for in a despatch to the Duke of Newcastle, he tells him that twenty soldiers and a blockhouse would be sufficient to coerce William King. Two months ago he told a deputation of the Southern members that 20,000 troops would be required to protect the island from the natives. Given the above data, and had Colonel Browne remained Governor during another year of war, calculate how many millions of troops his fears would have required? The local press at Taranaki highly applauded the vigorous measures taken to assert the Queen's supremacy, and the whole colony was speedily inoculated with the war fever; and addresses from the different provinces were sent to the Governor, applauding his firmness, and recommending the vigorous prosecution of the war. The only exceptions in deprecating the war were the Church of England party and the old settlers in the Auckland province. The Church party, as we have seen, approved of the king movement, and would have considered Government in the wrong in any attempt to assert the Queen's supremacy. I re-publish a few remarks I made at the time in the Southern Cross, when it was almost considered a want of courage to doubt the justice of the casus belli against King, or to doubt our power to coerce him. I gave the Ministry undue credit for sagacity in supposing that, at last awake to the danger of the king movement, they thought to frighten the king party by crushing the small Taranaki tribe of Ngatiawa.
"THE HAROTO, MARCH 20, 1860.
"SIR, --For ages it was the belief that learning could be driven into youth only by the giving of the birch, and learned men, from the days of Solomon to the days of Busby, used the rod with an unsparing hand. Their only difficulty was how to treat young royalty. It would have been treason to have said to a Dauphin or a Prince of Wales, 'Boy take down your ------!" The expedient resorted to was to attach a 'flogging boy' to the young Prince, and when young royalty offended the preceptor, the flogging boy was soundly whipped pour encourager l'autre.
"Flogging children is now happily passed away, but the sheep-shearing
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ministry, 2 at last awake to the dangerous state of native affairs, can see no way of restoring peace to the country than by making (if they can) William King, of Taranaki, flogging boy to Potatau, king of New Zealand.
"Since Government placed arms and ammunition at the disposal of the natives (but did not open the country to settlers, thereby establishing commercial interests between the races), the king party has gradually been becoming dominant in the province, and hostile to Europeans and their residence amongst them. They now talk about ejecting all Europeans from the native districts, and stopping the mail passing through the interior of the country, saying that Europeans make roads where they think proper, and they would do the same, and allow a road only along the sea coast.
"A year ago the king party, as I shall presently show, committed precisely the same act of hostility to our Government for which William King is now being attacked. If we are to be cursed with a Maori war, let us act like Englishmen, and lay aside the present unmanly policy, which will not have the expected effect of pacifying the Auckland province.
"Since that able officer, Mr. J. E. Johnson, arranged, and Mr. McLean in 1854 completed, the purchase of the Waiuku block, no purchase of any magnitude has been made to the south of Auckland. The only purchases to the south are a few small ones in this neighbourhood, and of some of these Government cannot obtain possession. For one piece of land (Hauraki) no less a personage than King Potatau received payment from Mr. McLean in 1854, and the land is still in native possession, and H. H. is still in receipt of his pension from Government.
"In 1858 William Naylor made offer to government of a piece of land on the river Waipa called Kani Whenua; he repeated the offer to the Superintendent when the latter visited this part of the country a year ago. Government declined to make the purchase because the king party placed its veto on the sale, as it does to the sale of any land within what they have declared to be the boundaries of the king's territories.
"A British ministry hanged an admiral to appease public clamour and keep their places. A New Zealand ministry goes to war with a petty chief, in a comparatively open country, because afraid to attack a powerful confederacy in a difficult country, hoping thereby to intimidate the king party, and obtain the credit of opening the country.
"Can such a miserable policy be successful? If we are to have war, let us have a just quarrel; but, before provoking a Maori war, Government should consider whether it would not be cheaper to abandon the land monopoly. Give the natives titles, and encourage them to lease their lands. The country is so far colonized that we cannot afford to have it turned into an Algeria. Nothing but self-defence would justify us in entering on a native war, which this wretched Taranaki affair may bring upon us. Bad indeed is the statecraft incapable of governing a handful of Maories without fighting them."
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Having failed in the attempt to bully William King, Government is now forced to recognise the existence of the secession movement, with this disadvantage, that throughout the colony, and especially in the province of Auckland, the hot war fever is succeeded by the cold shiver of pusillanimity.
In native disputes on the ownership of land, the custom is for the party in possession, if they consider their cause just and intend holding the disputed territory, to erect on it a pa. During the last fifteen years this has been frequently done in Waikato, at Wangape, Waikere, Wakapoko, Horea, and at other places; but in no case has a shot been fired since 1846 at Te Ihutarua.
I may remark that the word pa corresponds with the word fort; a strong position, the inner defence built of trees of the circumference of a ship's topmasts, with a fighting stage running along, surrounded by a ditch, palisades, and outer ditch; or it may mean a slight palisade of rails on an open plain, like King's first pa, which he erected in a single night.
To the astonishment of the Maories, the pa, intended as a legal notice to the Governor that they were in possession, was attacked on the following day, March 17, by General Gold: to their still greater astonishment, the British troops, aided by artillery, failed to take it, and they effected their escape without the loss of a man during the night.
General Gold commenced the attack on the "pa," built in a single night and garrisoned by 70 men armed with fowling pieces, at 800 yards --showing an irresolution at the commencement of active operations that lasted until their conclusion. Having been for a short time a witness of the manner in which military operations were completed at Taranaki, I would wish to draw a veil over the impotency, imbecility, and utter poverty of military invention shown; but as a prominent cause of the present state of anarchy, I am forced sometimes to allude to that melancholy exhibition. My stay there was short; I joined the Taranaki volunteers, but finding that there was no occasion for officers accustomed to active service, I returned to Whaingaroa.
Thus attacked, William King sent a deputation to his king, under whose flag he was fighting, soliciting assistance. The arrival of the Taranaki deputation frightened the Waikato missionaries, who proceeded to Auckland and frightened the government, who so little expected war that the 'Iris' frigate had been sent back to Sydney, the arms of the New Zealand Fencibles sold, to fall into the hands of the natives, and a month previously a quantity of arms shipped to England.
In hot haste defensive preparations were commenced in Auckland, war steamers summoned, militia called out (but there were no arms to give them), blockhouses built, gunboats tendered for, in short every preparation made to meet the expected Maori attack. Governor Browne submitted to permit the erection of blockhouses in the Government Domain, but this was not surprising, for about the time of the natives showing their teeth to demand the execution of Marsden, Colonel Browne commenced the erection of the minature fort to the right of Government-house, to be left unfinished on the assurance of General
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Wynyard that Colonel Browne might sleep in his bed without fear of a sudden Maori onslaught.
That the Auckland province, denuded of troops in its hour of peril, was not totally defenceless, we are indebted to the foresight and sagacity of Mr. Logan Campbell. In 1856, when Superintendent, he had instituted the volunteer movement, and it was in full and successful operation in Auckland before it was thought of at home. Mr. Campbell's modesty has prevented his claiming the honor --so justly his due for organizing this great movement. Unfortunately for the province his oversensitive feelings were not proof against the bi-weekly scurrilous abuse showered on his government by an Auckland print. After holding the office of Superintendent for only a few months he resigned, to the great grief of his party, to be succeeded by the proprietor of the newspaper alluded to, and the province ever since to be ridden rough-shod by the most truculent self-seeking municipality that ever usurped legislative powers.
Mr. Campbell's memorandum on the necessity of a corps of Auckland volunteers is most interesting; it also shows the entirely mercenary view taken, in 1856 by the Imperial Government, of its connection with the Colonies.
"1. The object in view is to form a body of efficient marksmen, resident in Auckland, who shall be prepared at a moment's warning to turn out for the protection of the town, should their services be required from any unforseen cause, not indeed apprehended, but which may unhappily some day arise in connection with the native race.
"2. The existence of such a formidable body--as it is hoped the rifle corps would become--would have a great moral influence on the native mind, now the more necessary as the Secretary of State for the Colonies has intimated that the colony must no longer look to the Mother Country for a continuance of military protection as at present (unless prepared to defray the cost thereof); but must have recourse to its own militia in case of native disturbances.
"3. In the event of the militia being called out, as it is a service performed under compulsion, intensely disliked, creating no esprit de corps, endured because it cannot be avoided, its duties would be evaded to the utmost degree; such a force would consequently be found most inefficient in cases of emergency, as the probability is that nine out of every ten would never get beyond the feat of loading their muskets properly.
"4. The enrolment of the militia would secure the necessary discipline and order, so far as being drilled and officered is concerned; but no efficiency in so far as securing expert marksmen is concerned with the musket.
"5. The first step, therefore, is to supply a weapon in which a pride will be taken; the next, to create a rivalry in the use of it.
"5. The vote of £1,000 has been obtained for the purpose of procuring a first instalment of good arms, to be distributed, instead of the ordinary musket, to such of the militia as would volunteer to form the rifle corps."
Here follow propositions regarding prizes, ammunition, &c.
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The Taranaki deputation was graciously received by King Potatau. At the meeting summoned to hear their wrongs, the language used by those speakers who advocated an immediate and general rise was so warlike, that Government in Auckland was so greatly alarmed that, in making preparations for its own safety, it forgot to send by the fortnightly mail, to which it then reduced the postal communication with Raglan, one word of advice or instruction to this its most exposed out-settlement, suffering from the reflection of the Auckland panic, and the alarm caused by the threats of the runanga being held at Ngaruawahia, from which it is distant but twenty miles. That the reader may understand our position, I must introduce a short sketch of this settlement.
Whaingaroa (Raglan) was purchased by Government in 1847, and was the only large purchase in the Auckland province made during the government of Sir George Grey. Other large blocks, such as Tuakao, the nearest district of the Waikato to Auckland, were offered but refused.
Raglan is almost innaccessible by land, the road via Waikato Heads being so bad that it requires a strong or well mounted man to perform the journey. A sixteen-ton coaster is at present the sole means of communication with Onehunga. Hereafter, when a road is made to Waipa, which is distant only twenty miles, its harbour will make it the shipping port of that great district.. Offers have been made to the General and Provincial Governments to have this road made by native agency for a very small sum, but, on the principle of centralization, refused. A road into Waipa, for obvious reasons, would now be invaluable.
The government purchase was estimated to contain 40,000 acres: the sum paid £400--about 2 1/2 d. per acre. The purchase was loosely made; neither the boundary lines nor those of the native reserves were cut, and were afterwards the cause of trouble and loss.
The Rev. Mr. Wallis recommended the natives to make the sale. Mr. Ligar, the surveyor-general, the purchaser on behalf of the Government, forthwith granted it to him as a cattle run, and Mr. Wallis selected eighty acres, including a valuable waterfall, for a homestead; and at his request seven acres, including the much talked of claim of the unfortunate Lowdon on the ill-selected township, were surveyed and purchased by the Wesleyan Missionary.
In their conversion to Christianity the natives were subject to the distracting considerations arising from the teachers of one true religion exhibiting at least three different ones, each equally assuming or usurping the exclusive possession of the truth, while they displayed to the puzzled neophytes totally different religions and social economy; the Catholic clergy practising celibacy and devoting their lives exclusively to their spiritual duties; the Church of England clergy provident to provide for their own, looking on the land as a heritage for their children; and the Wesleyan clergy receiving a bonus on every increase to their families, and openly joining secular to spiritual pursuits. At the large meeting at Ngaruawahia, in 1860, William Thompson told the assembled clergy that they had professed to come to New Zealand to
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instruct the natives in religion, but that while the eyes of the Maories were turned up to God in prayer, the eyes of the ministers were looking down to covet the land.
The west coast was the scene of the labours of the Wesleyan missionaries. At Whaingaroa in 1854, so deeply engaged was the Reverend Mr. Wallis in stock-holding and store-keeping, that when I entered his chapel, I found it occupied as a barn containing agricultural implements, and tenanted by swine and poultry. In similar fashion the chapel at Aotea was used as a wool-shed and boat-building house; the gentleman then resident minister has since turned farmer. The Reverend Mr. Turton, about that time in charge of the Kawhia mission station, I have already mentioned as having descended to a resident magistrate. The observant will deduce from this, that when the time of the missionary was much occupied in temporal affairs, the converts to be received into the Christian fold could not have the advantages accruing from the more cautious conduct of the old missionaries, which, as I have said, created or prepared habits of self-control, and the too great facility of admission depreciated the value of the object in the native mind, and the general cognizance of the worthlessness of the persons so frequently received by the Wesleyans has given rise to an impression of contempt for the development of practical Christianity, and its threatened abandonment by those natives who profess to believe that our religion and law are destroying their race.
Mr. Wallis enjoyed the exclusive benefit of Mr. Ligar's purchase till the new land regulations made by Sir George Grey, previous to his departure in 1853, brought the whole of the purchased land in the possession of Government into the market. The settlement of Raglan was not formed without a protest from Bishop Selwyn, whose party considered it poaching on their preserves, --the centre of the island, --from which they wish to exclude European settlers. Mr. Fenton is even more rabid than the Bishop. He wishes to send poachers to the treadmill. "We must have a 'Native Offenders Bill,' and, moreover, I think that proclamation should be made stating that the Land Purchase Ordinance will be put in force, and requiring white men who wish to remain amongst the natives to get a license. It is no longer time to trifle about Magna Charta and Bill of Rights. The Native Offenders Bill is a much milder measure than the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, which is a proceeding quite in accordance with the British Constitution." A singular combination in this paragraph joins the vanity of the author to the morals of the reformed prostitute. Mr. Fenton, having for two years been "an unlicensed white man living amongst the natives," and he is the author and draftsman of the Native Offenders Bill.
Having sold the land, and turned the £400 into many thousand pounds, Government, by the utter neglect with which they treated the settlement, appeared to wish to compel the unfortunate settlers to abandon their purchases. The two ferries remain in charge of natives, who fleece the traveller to the skin, sometimes charging £1 for crossing the Waikato. No roads have been formed. A Resident Magistrate is
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retained, whose incompetency has been protested against by natives as well as Europeans. The treatment of the district, since the commencement of the war, we shall soon hear.
In proof of Government wishing by neglect to drive the settlers out of the interior, I may mention that Mr. F. applied to Government for a grant to a small piece of land which the relations of his wife and child wished to give him for fourteen years services as miller. No reply; a refusal would have offended the Maories. Mr. O. complained to Government that some natives, on a frivolous pretext, had robbed him of four horses and thrown him into the river Waipa; no reply. Treating Europeans with contempt Government must consider the most likely system to restore the confidence of the native race.
In the only pastoral visit made to this district by Bishop Selwyn, its utter spiritual destitution and corresponding morality were represented to him, and that a large number of children were growing up unable to read, an advantage the natives universally enjoy. The Bishop regretted that the want of funds prevented his establishing a clergyman. Had the two hundred souls here had yellow skins, and been inhabitants of some tropic island in the Pacific, living in a state of savagery--the more barbarous the more interesting--there would have been strife in the Churches to be the first to bear relief to the poor perishing souls. With what a sigh of regret one of the Bishop's clergy tells us that his absence in the Melanesian Islands prevented his administering a deathbed baptism to the great cannibal king.
Government commenced war with the declaration that "the law of fighting was in force," a challenge accepted by the tribes to the south of Taranaki, who killed two boys and some unarmed settlers. This created a general distrust of the natives, and the defenceless Raglan settlers were further alarmed by the altered tone of their neighbours, who expressed the intention of having one man's house, another's thrashing machine. These causes induced a number of them on the 11th April to address a petition to Government praying for assistance, or to be taken away. On the 12th April the Resident Magistrate called a public meeting, when he and twenty-eight settlers passed the following resolutions:--
"1. That owing to the disturbed state of the adjoining native districts it is expedient to take our wives and families to Raglan township, there to protect them as best we can, and there for them to reside until protection arrives, or until all disturbance is allayed.
"2. That it is our unanimous opinion that it is necessary to put a place in a state of defence, that place being Mr. Gilmore's brick house.
"3. That Captain Johnstone be requested to take the command, and Dr. Harsant to have charge of the Commissariat.
"That a special messenger be forthwith sent to Auckland to acquaint the Government of these proceedings.
(Signed). "W. HARSANT,
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Attention is called to the second resolution being passed "unanimously," the Rev. Mr. Wallis being one of the meeting, for he afterwards published an unfaithful account of our proceedings. Few of the settlers attended on the 13th, as they promised to do. On the evening of that day two Waipa settlers came to warn us the Rev. Mr. Reid, returning from Ngaruawahia, had declared to them that it was "War--war--God alone could change their hearts," &c., &c.
On the 14th the fortification of the blockhouse was commenced, but discontinued in consequence of the interference of the Rev. Mr. Wallis, and the settlers not keeping the resolutions passed on the 12th. A son of Mr. Wallis was set to work at the house. Mr. Wallis had seen nothing wrong in the preparations, so long as active proceedings were confined to the laity; indeed, he gave consent to some rails being taken from the Loudon paddock; but his son being at work would, in the event of an attack, have compromised the young man with the rest of the settlers, he therefore went to Kauroa and brought down the Resident Magistrate, who ought to have been at his post, according to his promise, and not six miles distant. The Magistrate, on his arrival with Mr. Wallis, would neither release the young man nor answer my questions whether he wished him released? Foiled by the Magistrate proving dumb, Mr. Wallis tampered with the friendly natives, who were most cheerfully working for good wages, till at his signal, "Have great consideration for Thomas," they closed round the young man, and led him away.
Mr. Wallis asserts "the natives were now prepared to do any amount of mischief to Johnstone, and two or three others who were his abettors." I suppose, "to do any amount of mischief" when speaking of the Maories, means they were ready to kill. As this is only on the authority of Mr. Wallis, I do not place implicit confidence in the assertion. If it is true, the conduct of the man who used his influence to work on the feelings of the natives till they were ready to murder his countrymen engaged in preparations to defend their families from an expected attack of savages is fearful to contemplate. The proceedings of the settlers at the time met with the full concurrence of the Magistrate, who entreated me to re-assume charge of the work, which I positively refused.
Mr. Wallis has already published what I should otherwise omit, that Governor Gore Browne requested me to defend this settlement. I make no reflections on the representative of her Majesty permitting Mr. Stafford to attack me for performing his own request.
The trifling expenses incurred, amounting to £23, were, with an account of the proceedings, reported to the government on April 18.
Taking months to consider the matter, and, if he thought proper, to have it investigated, on July 7, Mr. Stafford wrote to me that on inquiry my proceedings were illegal and injurious, and the expenses would not be paid by Government. Not then aware of the reckless manner in which Mr. Stafford makes false assertions, I immediately demanded an open inquiry, supposing that a secret one had taken place. Mr. Stafford refused. Unable to obtain the slightest trace of any inquiry, I called
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on Mr. Stafford and requested his authority for defaming me. If Mr. Stafford did not promise to produce it, he contrived to send me away fully satisfied that I was to receive copies of some mysterious correspondence. After waiting a month, I again addressed him, calling to mind his promise, which he evaded under a cloud of subtle subterfuges.
I was therefore under the necessity of telling him what I now repeat; that his assertion that any inquiry was made into my proceedings was false and malicious.
Mr. Harsant, the Resident Magistrate, chairman of the Committee of Safety, was permitted by Government to repudiate all responsibility, moral and pecuniary: he even seized money paid into his court on my account to repay expenses paid by himself.
On representing to Government that Mr. Harsant had detained money paid into his court on my account, Mr. Harsant paid me my money, and the Attorney-General informed me Mr. Harsant's explanation was satisfactory. One of the resolutionists had the impudent profanity to tell me, that had the Maories come down, I should have been ----- ----- (naming a divine personage,) as they did not, I was -----. His friend the Resident Magistrate may repudiate as much as he pleases; for I can produce his signature to a bill as chairman of the Committee of Safety.
A public meeting was held on August 25, to consider the question of the expenses. The chairman addressed government, and, in reply, Mr. Stafford consented to pay the expenses, thus admitting that his assertion that they were "illegal" was unjustifiable.
As this correspondence was among that suppressed by Mr. Stafford, I regret that I am unable to publish it, because my copy of it has not yet been returned to me by the present government.
At the same meeting the following resolution was passed, and copies sent to General Pratt and the members for the Southern Division, Col. Haultain and Mr. Graham:--
"That a quantity of arms were forwarded to Raglan unaccompanied by instructions as to their disposal. We can only view such a course of action on the part of the government as indicative of inability, and compelling us to look to the general commanding her Majesty's forces for assurances of safety."
Enough has been heard in the house of assembly about the defenceless state of Napier, Wellington, and Wanganui, where there are troops and defensible positions; but not one word has been said about the most isolated and exposed settlement in the island; and my principle object in publishing these remarks is to show the treatment the settlement of Whaingaroa has received during the war, and to let intending colonists know what they are subject to if they expend their means in the Northern island of New Zealand.
Auckland, 20th September, 1860.
"SIR, --We have the honor to submit, for the earnest consideration of the Government, the enclosed letter and resolutions from the settlers at
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Raglan. We adopt this course rather than bring the matter forward in the House of Representatives, as we consider that at present any public discussion on the unprotected position of the outlying districts would be inexpedient and mischievous; but we shall be glad if you can enable us to assure the Raglan settlers that their dangers and difficulties have not been lost sight of by the Government. --We have &c.,
(Signed) "T. M. HAULTAIN."
Colonial Secretary's Office,
Auckland, 23rd September, 1860.
"GENTLEMEN, --I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 20th inst., transmitting, for the consideration of the Government, copies of a letter and resolutions addressed to you by the settlers of Raglan relative to the unprotected state of their district, and to inform you that I have duly laid those documents before his excellency the Governor.
"With reference to the isolated position of these settlers, I have to state the Government is anxious to extend the present means of communication between Auckland and Raglan, and with that view the establishment of a weekly mail between those two places is at present only awaiting an appropriation of the House of Representatives for the purpose.
"His Excellency regrets that he cannot hold out any hope of direct military protection to the settlement of Raglan, as the force at his disposal is altogether insufficient for that purpose. He is, moreover, of opinion that to send to Raglan a detachment of the ordinary strength 3 would at once provoke in that district the war which it is desired to avoid. --I have, &c.,
(Signed) "E. W. STAFFORD."
Such is colonization in the Auckland province. Government candidly tells settlers in the most exposed settlement in the island, surrounded by native settlements in which funeral ceremonies were being performed for the loss of their bravest killed at Taranaki, that it dares not attempt to protect them; but, as they are in fear of their lives, it will restore the weekly mail (reduced to a fortnightly communication at the commencement of the war). In the event of a native attack, if any Europeans (missionaries and their families excepted) survive, they will under no circumstances require to wait more than one week in making known their good fortune.
Subsequently the ammunition and 100 stand of arms were given to the Raglan Maories--none to the Europeans. I saw some of these arms in Waipa in the hands of men performing obsequies in honor of the chief, Te Wetane, killed at Taranaki. I was of opinion that settling in a British colony, and purchasing land from government, included a claim to protection, and that we are not liable to the disgraceful and
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dangerous position of being placed, with our families, under the protection of savages. On reflection, I believe that the colony has no claim on British protection, unless able to pay for it--a simple impossibility. The Home Government entered on the colonization of New Zealand, as we have seen, entirely from selfish motives; and years ago, in 1856, the Secretary of State entered his protest against the Home Government paying the expenses of native wars. The mistake was, that when throwing the pecuniary responsibility on the colony, the Home Government did not leave the colony to manage native affairs, but jealously retained this power in the hands of its representative. Had the colony been avowedly responsible for the conduct of native affairs, no ministry would have dared to rush into war for selfish purposes, and in the face of an approaching meeting of the general assembly. War would be conducted on economical principles, such as accepting offers of native assistance and the services of the unsettled population of Australia, probably at least as well suited for meeting the natives in bush warfare as highly disciplined troops.
The correspondence relating to the Raglan panic was moved for in the House of Representatives. Mr. Stafford covered his retreat, as usual, under transparent falsehoods, and presented a very mutilated correspondence, especially omitting to produce the proceedings of the Raglan public meetings.
Mr. Stafford's hostility towards me is because my name is inscribed amongst the unfortunate persons who have an unsettled land claim against the Government. In 1854 I paid Government £800 for land here. Government had sold the land before purchasing it from the natives, who three times ejected me. Each time I had gone to take possession with the authority of Government, who ultimately satisfied the native claimants with £200. Having been kept out of possession for nearly a year and a half, and been put to great expense, I applied in 1856 to the Colonial Secretary, for an inquiry into the case, but met with a refusal.
In 1859 the Pukekohe claimants, whose case in most particulars resembled my own, including his honor Superintendent Williamson, received for themselves highly satisfactory compensation. I therefore preferred a claim to Mr. Stafford to have the claim settled after the manner of the Pukekohe claims, by arbitration, or to name a defender to meet the case in the Supreme Court. Receiving a second refusal, I despaired of obtaining justice until there was a change in the Ministry.
On the formation of the Fox Ministry, I pitched on Mr. Williamson, who had himself received such immense compensation, as the proper person to present my petition to the House of Representatives.
Mr. Williamson suggested I should forward the petition to the Colonial Secretary, and took charge of it, with its accompanying letter. I acquainted Mr. Williamson that I should be in Auckland one week. On the 27th July, being on the point of leaving, and not having received a reply, I called on Mr. Williamson, who held out to me the prospect of the case being settled by arbitration. That is the last I have heard about the matter.
Is this British equity? Is this in accordance with that mighty
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charter of praise-besalved liberty, which runs thus:-- "Nulli negabimus, nulli differemus justitiam;" -- "With no man will we dally, nor deny justice to any;" or is it what it looks to a victim, monstrous swindling?
A single bright episode enlightened the dreary page of the year's war at Taranaki. Capt. Cracroft charged and took the Maori position at Waireka, thereby saving the Taranaki militia, abandoned by Lieut. Col. Murray in a gulley, their ammunition nearly expended, and surrounded by Maories shouting "Ka horo." Among the prevailing characteristics of our phase of society is the propensity to intolerable boasting. Pencil as well as pen was employed in exaggerating the Waireka affair. The Auckland picture shops displayed the gallant "Nigers" swarming up the pallisades of an imaginary pa. Only the front of the position opposite to the Omata stockade was pallisaded, with rails torn from the neighbouring fences; the open high road ran through the position. How much disgust must Cracroft have felt as he looked on these lying pictures! for he is a man whose deeds need no exaggeration.
The accounts of the Mahoetahi affair present a strange contrast. A commanding officer relates, "At Mahoetahi, when the picked men, in fact the elite of the Waikatos, established themselves there, and threatened the very existence of the general and his soldiers, and declared they would drive them into the sea, on the 6th November, 1860, the militia and volunteers stormed the heights and pa (?) of Mahoetahi, aided by a company of her Majesty's 65th regiment. The Waikatos were effectually routed;" and the Taranaki Herald in relating the particulars of the affair, elevates the Maories into men of more than mortal strength and bravery, and describes in heroic language how one of these heroes fell, overpowered by three British soldiers.
"Nor must it be forgotten that Gillingham also, of the 65th, in his turn acted nobly. A soldier of the name of Readon, in an encounter with a native in a swamp, being almost overcome, was in the most manly manner rescued from the superior physical force of a native from immediate death by his determined interposition. The native in his usual savage style had already raised his tomahawk when Gillingham nobly rushed to the rescue, striking up his tomahawk, and at the same time plunging his bayonet into the native's right side. Near the same time Corporal Feltham rushed forward with what seemed to be the moving principle, to punish those who have dared the British flag, and succeeded not only in shooting the man, but in dismantling him of his accoutrements.
The Maori despatch relating this defeat tells a plain tale.
"HUIRANGI, WAITARA, NOVEMBER 8, 1861.
"To Riwai, to Te Reweti, to Panapa, to Kirihipu, to Ngatiwhaeakai.
"FRIENDS, Male and female--salutations. Friends, listen:-- Our relatives who are dead are, of the Ngatiruru--Hemi Karena Te Wha, Riri Kotahi, Kiripine. Of Ngatingamuri--Hapi Takupu, Potepote. Of Ngatikoura--Hakopa Ngaruhe, Mita Karaka. Of Ngatihaua--Te Wetini Taiporutu, Reha Hikarahi, Te Matetawhiti, Wharawhara, Te Harawira, Mitiraina, Te Pari. Of Ngatikoroki--Karauria, Hahopa Te
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Rakimatai, Tamihana. Of Ngatikahukura--Hirini, Tamati te Ao, Renata, Eparaima. Of Ngatimahuta--Te Poari, Piripi, Timoti, Kaiaha, Tipene, Hemi, Tiopira, Pita, Tupara. Of Ngatiapakura--Te Kingi te Wharangi, Te Wirihana. Of Ngatimaniapoto--Te Paetai, Mokau, Te Wihana, Keri. Enough. These are the men who are quite dead; who are in the hands of the Pakeha. The wounded are twenty in number, all told. The payment (loss on the other side) is not known. We reached Huirangi on November 5, and found Rewi engaged with the Pakeha; four fell: and on the evening of that day, a party of forty started for Mahoetahi; on the 6th they were attacked by the Pakeha. When the two hundred of the Maoris heard of it (the army at Huirangi), they moved forward, but before they reached the place, they (the party of forty) had fallen. It was the distance prevented their getting up in time. Those that started in the morning arrived. The forty and odd were attacked from all the towns. This has been the severest loss. Enough.
"This is a tangi (song of sorrow:)--
"Pain bites hard within me, &c.,
And trees obstruct my view;
I shall remain here and watch
The clouds drifting o'er Te Aute,
The boundary that keeps me from my friends
And from my beloved spouse,
Who has left me here in trouble."
While refusing to believe that a British soldier or sailor is not in single fight a match for a Maori, I confess that in superior skill and science they distanced us. For a year a portion of two tribes, Ngatiawa and Waikato, who never at any one time mustered 800 men, having found full employment for 3,000 of her Majesty's troops in an open country, and within a few miles of a seaport, is a most astonishing feat, when we recollect that the Maories had only fowling pieces to answer our arms of precision, and their naked breasts to oppose to artillery. Ever showing front to the troops whose commissariat and ordnance employed a fleet, they found time to destroy the province, sweep off its cattle, and to cultivate sufficient food for themselves. The Waikatos who were engaged profess that they enjoyed an unlimited allowance of potatoes and beef steaks. To find the solution the least offensive to our feelings, we must turn to our old friend Captain Cook, who tells us that, in selecting proper places for defence, the most skilful engineers in Europe could not surpass the natives.
The writer in the Taranaki Herald is not alone in the opinion that one native is more than a match for three Europeans. The last census estimates them at 56,000. Mr. Fenton, the general compiler, estimates the Waikatos at 11,000: yet at the great meeting at Ngaruawahia, where the whole of Waikato was assembled, together with strangers from Taupo and the East Coast, on the solemn occasion of hoisting the national colours, the "millions" as they termed themselves only amounted to 2,800. After making allowance for the few absentees, the
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small party then at Taranaki under E. Piha, the portion of the hapu in lower Waikato who did not attend, and the infirm left at the deserted settlements, the Waikato tribes, men, women, and children, do not amount to more than 4,000, probably not so large a number. The compilers of the census, Missionaries and Resident Magistrates, would each make his district as populous as he conscientiously could, and we may be sure that a large number of natives are returned twice in the census, some oftener. A native has frequently two names, William Thomson, otherwise Te Rapipipi, and two or more places of abode, often so distant as to be in different census districts.
The Ngatiawa's have settlements on the East Coast, the Waikato and Waipa rivers. The Ngatimaniapoto on the West Coast and Waipa rivers. A large proportion of the native population is perpetually changing abodes; to fish on the coast in summer, to cultivate on the rivers in winter, and, by putting in an occasional personal appearance, to hold possession of their enormous waste lands. Were a correct census taken of the native population, the nominal census of 1859 would be reduced one half. There are not more than 6,000 aboriginal males capable of bearing arms. Our European population is estimated at over 80,000, of whom 25,000 are capable of bearing arms, and there are some 5,000 troops in the country.
A large proportion of the educated of this island, so warlike when Taranaki only was involved, notwithstanding that we outnumber the natives in the proportion of five to one, supports government in the disgraceful peace made at Taranaki, and prays to be allowed to live in temporary peace, make money, and abandon the country; trusting that the wolf, who will make his appearance when least expected, will not come when they are in the country.
Government retired from the contest, H. M. troops worsted, partly to get quit, as they supposed, of the obligation of attempting to wrest a patch of coveted land from the Maories, but also avowedly, and perhaps with more sincerity, to escape, with such honor as they might, from a contest in a country where they despaired of success. A truce was eagerly snatched at, at Taranaki, by the terms of which all the glory and all the justice of the question was conceded to the Maories. I need not point out that if the troops could not conquer at Waitara in 1860, can they do so in 1861 or in any future year? If they cannot, what has been gained by risking this devastation of the province of Auckland, when the natives have the power to compel us to meet them at Waitara, or not meet us at all?
As these were the only arguments which were adduced in justification of the basest of treaties, the most consumate folly that ever the New Zealand Government, so fruitful in follies, has yet committed, we are bound to suppose that under the tortures arising from the loss of power, office, and charge of the purse, if there had been less futile arguments existing they would have been adduced with that volubility which is the only retrieving excellence of our statesmen.
On the the 21st May, again anticipating the meeting of the general assembly, Governor Browne issued a proclamation to the natives that
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he had received her Majesty's orders to suppress illegal combinations, and offering terms to the enemy; for it is quite time to drop talking about a people who have thrown off their allegiance being British subjects. When the Greeks revolted from the sovereign to whom they had for centuries paid allegiance, the British Government declared that "the character of a belligerent is not so much a principle as a fact, and a certain degree of force and principle, acquired by any mass of population engaged in war, entitles that population to be treated as a belligerent." This decision would permit the ships of friendly powers to visit ports where the flag of the Maori king is displayed (unless the port is effectually blockaded), subject only to the king's customs regulations, which would be found to clash with our own exorbitant tariff, the Arms Importation Ordinance, &c.
The runanga and William Thompson, in separate letters, rejected each and every demand made upon them by Government, and, while excellent reasons are given for refusing to restore the plunder, or give compensation for property destroyed, or surrendering murderers, and for abjuring allegiance to her Majesty, and while his Excellency is proved to be the aggressor, Thompson's letters shew a marked superiority both in a literary and a diplomatic point of view over those of the Government.
On the 22nd June his Excellency acquainted a deputation of Waikato chiefs that until he received a reply to a letter he had sent to her Majesty he could not tell them whether he should put down the king. Again, on the 25th June, he told the House of Representatives that, unless the Colony would assist him with men and money, he would not employ her Majesty's forces to endeavour to establish the Queen's supremacy.
The origin of this resolution is to be looked for in the multitude of counsellors, clerical and civil, who surrounded Governor Browne; for it is impossible that any one man could be so changeable. It was a standing joke on a Saturday, after the arrival of the overland mail, to see the superintendent of the Intelligence Department slipping into Government house with the budget of missionary gossip, which was to change the opinion of the vacillating council. The reverend gentleman alluded to has transferred his services to the "peace-at-any-price" party, now in possession of office.
To finish the contrast of European versus Maori statesmen, I must relate how, passing Ngaruawhia, I called on William King, to hear the tale of Waitara from its chief's lips. To my regret he had left that morning. When I have excepted the revulsion felt in seeing that the king's policeman on duty was dressed in the clothing of a dead soldier killed at Taranaki, I had every reason to be satisfied with my visit to the Maori court. The minister who received me answered my questions in a frank, gentlemanly manner. One question only he declined answering: "If, in the event of war, it would be safe to remain at Whaingaroa? He replied, "You had better ask your Governor." I was not then aware that William Thompson had pointed out to the
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Governor that when he was going to war he should have told his unarmed people to move out of the way.
A few days afterwards (June 29) I called, by appointment, on the Attorney-General (Mr. Whitaker) to receive his reply to a letter he had received ten days previously, and which I had requested might be submitted to his excellency the Governor.
Mr. W. -- "I have not had time to read your letter (placing his left hand on a pile of papers) as I expected, for I have all these papers to read."
Captain J. -- "I addressed you on the same subject two months ago."
Mr. W. -- "Can you tell me the exact date? (turning over the centre of the pile of papers.) " Oh! I will send you a reply."
I went away contrasting the honest simplicity of the Maori with the chicanery of the European, and I thought the Attorney-General was a -----. What does the reader suppose I consider Mr. Whitaker?
The only great public work undertaken in Auckland by the late Government of Stafford, Richmond, and Whitaker, is the road through Mr. Whitaker's property in Mechanics' Bay; a second was projected to Mr. Whitaker's house in Remuera. Faugh! Enough of Mr. Whitaker.
Responsible and Provincial Governments in New Zealand are scrambles by needy men for the charge of the public purse.
No plain account has, I believe, been published of "the Patumehoe affair," which so nearly involved the Auckland province in war, at a time when it was so unprepared that troops were summoned from the scene of actual war to meet the apprehended difficulty. No recent occurrence shows so plainly the anarchy existing in the colony, and the total insecurity of European life and property.
In October last a party of natives who were out cattle shooting from Patumehoe missed one of their party, Eruetta (Ezekiel); after searching for him for several days, he was found dead in an unburned forest clearing, shot in the palm of the hand and body. Further search failed to discover his gun and trousers, which were missing.
On finding the body on Saturday, 13th October, the most violent characters in the native settlement proposed an immediate attack on the neighbouring European settlers and their families, believing, or pretending to believe, that Ezekiel had been shot by some European. More moderate counsels fortunately prevailed. The monitor of the village called on the neighbouring Resident Magistrate, and requested his attendance at the settlement to which the body had been carried. The Magistrate understood it was an accident, and proposed holding a mixed inquest of natives and Europeans. To this the monitor consented. On reaching the settlement the Europeans were permitted to look at the body: the bullet had passed from the hand into the body, entering at the pit of the stomach and lodging near the back bone, showing its presence there by a contusion. The wound in all probability was instantly fatal: certainly a man, after receiving such an injury, could not make his way through fallen bush, so the body must have been carried to the place where it was found.
An European was expressing his opinion that Ezekiel had shot him-
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self when carelessly lifting his gun by the muzzle, when Pereraka (Frederick) the half brother of the deceased, started forward saying "no, I will show you how the European killed my brother." Placing a gun in the hands of another native, with that quickness of hand in which natives surpass Europeans he wrested the gun round, bringing the muzzle opposite the man holding it. So rapidly and neatly was this performed that the remark was made that it was a rehearsed effect. After events led to the supposition that the actor had on a previous occasion enacted the part of Cain. On this occasion he made a violent speech, telling the assembled Europeans to leave the district by Monday, as his brother had been murdered by some European. Several speakers followed in a similar strain, and the Europeans retired from the scene; the Resident Magistrate had to send off an express to Auckland, distant some 35 miles. On Monday Mr. McLean arrived from Auckland bringing with him Tomati Naporo, Ihaka, William Toetoe, and other chiefs. On Tuesday a large number of natives had collected, and the inquiry commenced before the magistrates, chiefs, and a few European spectators: the natives at one time professing to believe that Ezekiel had been shot by the gentleman who owned the cattle; at another time to believe his stockman guilty.
The inquiry was submitted to by the majority of the natives, because they fully intended to satisfy their ideas of justice or revenge by a more summary proceeding. They arranged that on the arrival of the Waiuku natives, they were to receive them with an old Maori welcome. A man was to run forward and throw a spear towards them; this was to be the signal to destroy the whole of the Europeans present, except a missionary, who was to be saved. The influence of the chiefs whom Mr. McLean had taken the precaution to bring with him prevented the catastrophe, but so narrow was the escape, that the chiefs had to hold down on the ground the man who was to give the signal by throwing the spear. Unable to cast the shadow of a suspicion on any European, the half brother Frederick proceeded to the court of the Maori king to claim redress against the Europeans generally.
Forthwith William Thompson came down the Waikato to Tuakao, within 40 miles of Auckland, leading an army (ope) fully 400 strong. Govenment in alarm sent to Taranaki for troops, and sent a vessel to take away the settlers from the neighbourhood of Patumehoe, who were advised by Government and the missionaries to abandon their houses.
Thompson's clerical friends with difficulty convinced him that ho had no cause of "taki" against the Europeans; that there was not the slightest suspicion that Ezekiel had met his death at the hands of an European; and he led back to Waipa his army of 400 Kiri wakapapa, who had spread such dismay in Auckland. Foiled in his second attempt to create a disturbance, the persevering Frederick made a third and last attempt. He, with two companions, robbed a settler, giving as his reason, that he expected to be followed, when blood would have been shed and war commenced. Again doomed to disappointment, Frederick marched off to Taranaki, from whence he returned triumphant, bring-
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ing with him a horse as his share of the booty, while a slight wound attested his valour.
During his absence it transpired that the most bitter enmity existed between him and his late brother, who had given him good cause to feel the pangs of jealousy, having eloped with his wife, but compromised the affair for £10. This is the key to the Patumahoe affair.
Civil law cannot be expected to exist in an anarchy, where the natives with impunity perform their part in a Patumahoe play, the leading characters in which are still at large. It is scarcely worth mentioning that the Resident Magistrate here refuses cases brought by Europeans against natives; entertains those brought by natives against Europeans; while the Maories have the further advantage of being furnished by government with printed summonses, which they fill up, and compel Europeans to answer native complaints before the runanga.
Members of the House of Representative and others, imperfectly acquainted with the runanga system, have eulogized it in the highest terms: for their information, edification, and praise, if they think proper to bestow it, I publish a few of the laws passed by the great Waipa runanga.
"1. All debts due to Government and to Europeans are forbidden to be settled.
"2. Polygamy sanctioned, as convenient and conducive to the welfare of the Maori kingdom.
"3. Women proving unfruitful with one husband to be allowed to try elsewhere till they become mothers.
"4. Tattooing reinstituted; it being considered to add to the fierce appearance of the warrior, and declared by the sages to be a protection against the bullets of his European enemy on the day of battle; but rejected by the young men, who are sufficiently civilized to doubt the second sight of the seers, and consider that the modern fashion of wearing a beard is more conducive to a pleasing personal appearance than a tattooed face. Approved, and permission immediately acted on, by the young ladies, who believe that a tattooed lip adds to their charms."
When I was asked by the Waikato Committee whether I preferred the old "Tawa" or the modern "runanga," not choosing to hazard an extempore opinion, I replied, "Immorality was less under the 'Tawa,' but I could have no preference; I considered both equally bad." Having carefully considered the question, I have come to the conclusion that the "Tawa" is the preferable system. By the custom of "Tawa," the injured husband had the first shot; that is to say, he threw the first spear at the aggressor, and the fear of having a hole drilled into his body quelled the unruly passions of many a man now undeterred by the fine, usually a nominal one, inflicted by the runanga. In the indirect consequences of the bestial manners induced by the present system, in which the natives pass their lives in perpetually condoning adultery, we have seen that this province narrowly escaped being laid in flames.
With the utmost diffidence I ask whether the low tone prevailing in our House of Representatives is not fostered by the absence of personal responsibility for using brutal and insulting language? "honorable"
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members perpetually accusing one another, often with good reason, of aberrations from the truth, while such expressions as coward, slave, knave, father of lies, are bandied about.
It required some confidence to appear as an adverse witness before that pack of place-hunters, the Waikato Committee; more I regret to say than was possessed by Mr. C., a gentleman more conversant with Waikato affairs than any man in the country. He declined appearing before the committee "because he would not subject himself to be insulted by a packed committee." Certainly had he appeared, that committee, whose report was so contrary to the evidence before them, would have asserted "that they did not lay any stress on his evidence," for they said this of the evidence of a witness (myself) who told them "the first homicide of a Maori by an European, accidentally or otherwise, would be sufficient to unite the tribes against us." Ten days after this evidence was given, the suspicion of the homicide of a native was sufficient to bring Thompson with his rabble to frighten Auckland, including the persons who some few days before had signed the incorrect report. During the last twelve months, what entertainment must British government in New Zealand have afforded the continental powers who possess colonies in these seas, Java, Tahiti, New Caledonia, where the aborigines, like the Maories, are of Malay descent. Two British generals foiled by a handful of barbarians! A million of money dissipated, and incalculable suffering inflicted on European settlers, accompanied with the unceasing dissention and recrimination existing among the authorities in Church and State, while the deliberations and Dickensonian jokes of the Houses of Assembly were liable any day to be cut short by a hostile movement from the aboriginal population, whose existence was forgotten or ignored when representative government was prematurely instituted.
Governor Browne declares that the pakeha Maories are the sons of Zeruiah who trouble Israel, while he is blind to the proceedings of the influential party in his own city, if not in his own house, which makes the government of twenty thousand Maories a national difficulty.
Last month a petition in the Maori language addressed to the Queen, was circulated in Waikato. The petition came from Auckland, via Kohanga, and the natives, by the most vile deception, were led to believe that it came from the prime minister, Mr. Fox, and that by signing it they would induce her Majesty to recall Governor Browne. One copy was taken up the Waikato by Waata Kukutai, superintendent of Archdeacon Maunsell's farming establishment at Kohanga. He at least had no reason to complain of a governor who permitted him to have loans to the extent of several hundred pounds.
A second copy was sent to the natives on the West Coast, who, in language a good imitation of our official style, refused to sign the petition, which is a prosy worthless document, the text and style of which show whence it originated. The natives requested me to have it printed; certainly it is not worth the paper it covers, but printing it may call attention to the proceedings of the most indirectly powerful party in New Zealand, --of the party who have the arrogance and pre-
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sumption to make use of the name of the Colonial Secretary for the purpose of agitating amongst the natives.
The original petition and the reply are at the service of Government if any wish exists to put down the common practice of inducing natives to sign petitions and addresses exclusively of European authorship:--
Salutations to Our Lady the Queen, the parent of the two races occupying New Zealand. This is an address from us, your Maori children.
Our reasons for addressing the Queen are as follows:--
1. We desire to live peaceably with the Europeans.
2. We have no wish to upset the Queen's supremacy. Let her reign supreme in New Zealand.
3. We, the native race, feel aggrieved in that we are not admitted to take part in legislating for the government of this island; we ourselves, as well as the Europeans, contribute our share. In spite of this we are not allowed to take part in framing laws; we are not represented in the legislative bodies.
If a Maori be a criminal his trial rests entirely in the hands of the Europeans. The natives are not allowed to say anything, or take any part in his trial. The Europeans alone have the right of speaking on his trial. On this account we are led to infer that the Queen's authority is not in full force in New Zealand, as disturbances are not put a stop to, and no laws are framed with a view to regulating native affairs.
4. For these reasons we were induced to say, well, let us, if possible, adopt some plan by which the existing evils may be mitigated. This resulted in the King movement: it was an experiment on our part: it was not an act of defiance to the European; know that it was done with a view to put a stop to disturbance.
It was asserted that it was an attempt to do away with your Majesty's sovereignty. We have never sought to do so; for is she not Queen of the Maories as well as the Europeans. We deliberated as to some designation for our head man, whether we should call him protector, chieftain, or head of the family.
At last we named him the Maori king. This was done as an experiment, and we saw the results were that at last men lived peaceably, drunkenness was put a stop to, evil doers were afraid. Then the native race carried out fully this plan of establishing a Maori king. We believe that were Queen Victoria acquainted with our former lawless state, with the constant disturbances which took place, she would not find fault with our conduct, hasty though the step taken may have been, in seeking to mark out some line of conduct.
We have moreover heard lately that Queen Victoria is desirous of providing laws for the native race, and we are very glad of it. That, indeed, was the purport of our petition to Governor Browne.
Grant us laws, give us legislative bodies, appoint persons to direct us in carrying out the laws.
He granted all we asked, but subsequently cancelled everything.
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Now we are anxiously waiting for your decision, that we may recognise in it another proof of your love.
Lady, these were the words of our elder Potatau previous to the death of that good Governor Hobson. His words were, cherish us; and likewise we say, make manifest your kindness to us.
Lay down rules for our assemblies, that we may be placed on the same footing as those other children of yours, and enjoy the same protection of the laws.
Lady, be it known to you that this was what we asked of Governor Browne, and we wait for some decision from you.
Again, with reference to our lands, Governor Hobson promised us that our lands should remain our own, and that the right of disposal should rest with us.
The greater portion of our possessions have passed away into the hands of Europeans: they fixed the price at sixpence an acre; and we thought that was the price; it was, however, worth much higher.
The Europeans are a double-dealing race. What they say is partly true, partly false, and calculated to mislead.
On that account we sought to retain part of our land. Upon which our European countrymen said we were rebelling against your authority because we were unwilling to sell the land we wished to retain, and further the Europeans altered the system of land-purchase: whereas formerly the consent of the chiefs and the whole tribe was deemed necessary to make the title good, at present, instead of this, offers of land by single individuals are accepted.
We object to this; we request that you will instruct your Governors not to alter the systems of land-purchase, and that when disputes arise, let them be referred to some court composed of men capable of judging the case. We are not aware that anything of the kind exists at present for adjudicating disputes about land.
This is all we have to say. Farewell, Oh Lady, Queen Victoria.
This is Fox's.
Rangikahu, 2nd September, 1861.
Hear this all people of all languages.
We have perused and considered the contents of this document, and we have reflected well on it. Our decided answer to you is
That we do not consent, nor do we approve of it.
Signed TE WHIKIRIWHI, Clerk.
From the tribe of Ngatitahinga.
The petition was superseded by a circular, signed by Sir William Martin, acquainting the natives with the recall of Governor Browne, and the re-appointment of Governor Grey. The peace-at-any-price party having effected the recall of Governor Browne, and the re-appointment of Sir George Grey, it is to be hoped that they will cease from troubling, and not turn round on their friend, after the manner of Waata Kukutai,
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should he see reason to alter his principle, "not to aim at any decisive success."
The chivalry shown by the natives in accepting the challenge to make Taranaki the battle-field, and sparing the island, when the whole of the out-settlements lay at their mercy, entitles them to the most favourable terms, compatible with our own honor and safety. This cannot be considered secure until the tribes to the south of Taranaki deliver up the men who murdered the two boys, and restore the European lands they occupy and profess to have conquered, the Waikatos abolish king and runangas, restore the arms and military clothing in their possession, and permit roads to be made through their country. No milder terms will give any security to European life in the out-settlements, and remove the ban under which, to the disgrace of the Government, which professes its inability to give us protection, we are now living.
Many settlers in the interior have heard the natives declare the ban, and Government is fully aware of its existence. "The next native who is killed by an European, they will kill Europeans wherever they can find them." The first time I heard it was from a chief, in friendly correspondence with Government, Te Au o te Rangi, a relative of the man Hemi, killed in Auckland. I have heard it twice since. The old chief said, "We have forgiven you three murders, Hemi, 'Heta' (a man slightly wounded by a drunken sailor at Waikato Heads, and Eruetta.) The next murder, we shall kill the whole of you thus." Seizing a stick, he cut the figure of eight, to show how the Europeans will be swept down.
Before any one objects to the propriety of this discussion on the present state of affairs, let him consider whether he would allow his own family to live in the peril in which a so-called Government has placed out settlers, and remain silent if he felt that he had the ability to make known the dangerous and disgraceful position in which Government having placed him, begs him to say nothing about the matter? In no part of the British dominions are British subjects in so precarious a position as they are in this isolated settlement. Unarmed, without means of defence or flight, and surrounded by an armed and hostile native race, we would not be leading a more humiliating existence were we in Mexico on the Comanche frontier, than we, for no fault of our own, are placed in by the Government of New Zealand.
Those who under present circumstances expect the natives to give their lands in compensation for the destruction they committed at Taranaki, or to surrender their arms, expect miracles, which in the days of Essays and Reviews, will be looked for in vain. Equally ignorant are those who declare the Maori to be such a fire eater that he never surrenders. There is only one human nature. Like other people, the natives know when they have got a thrashing, and bow to circumstances. There is scarcely a native who has arrived at 30 years of age, who has not been a fugitive or a slave.
If a permanent peace is not now effected by negotiation or arms, it may hereafter have to be conquered without the assistance of England.
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In the war with Russia, short as that war was, England was touting over Europe and America for soldiers; and in the next European war will be too fully occupied to send assistance to her remote colonies. Three thousand troops worsted by a handful of barbarians looks ominously like that period in the history of Rome when she withdrew her legions from the remote colony of Britain.
It is significant, that after the battle of Mahoetahi, when the natives sent a petition for assistance to the Emperor of the French, their agent who carried their petition recommended them to gain time and not to waste their strength. Cannot we profit by the lesson that unanimity is strength shown by the natives?
Unfortunate colony! over-weighted by responsible ministers, general assembly, superintendents, provincial councils, Maori king and runangas, all except the last two at variance. Let us hope that with his proverbial good fortune Sir George Grey brings the powers of a Royal Commission to extinguish these pestiferous exhalations. At the worst, Sir George Grey is not in the ridiculous position of having made threats he was not prepared to perform, and when defeated talked and demanded unconditional surrender with an en vainqueur.
THE HAROTO, Whaingaroa,
PRINTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE "SOUTHERN CROSS," SHORTLAND-STREET.