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THE CASE OF NEW ZEALAND.
A FEELING of general uncomfortableness as to the position of public affairs has been for some time creeping over the people of New Zealand; expressed faintly at first, now in one place, now in another; lost sight of, or with an effort shaken off for the moment, but ever recurring with increased force; entertained by many silently, who were yet conscious that others around them were under the same influence--an influence at first suggestive of the doubt whether everything might be quite right, but fast leading to the conviction that a good deal must be decidedly wrong--until, at length, as the cause of this feeling became more clearly manifest, one universal burst of dissatisfaction has found utterance throughout the length and breadth of the country.
This is no slight or ordinary event in New Zealand. The community, as a whole, is somewhat too indifferent on matters of common interest. The distances which separate, and the absence of the means of rapid communication between the chief centres of population; the existence of many subjects of public interest which relate to special localities only; the constant and, we fear, growing consideration of private interests to the exclusion of any thought of public questions, save where they for the moment appear to be connected --these, and possibly other reasons, have rendered the continuous direction of the public attention in New Zealand to the consideration of the same subject a matter of rare occurrence. That public attention then, throughout the colony, should be so drawn in one direction, as it has been for some time past, and never more strongly than at the present moment, must result from no slight or ephemeral cause. That cause, shortly expressed, is the fast maturing belief that the colonists have been trifled with rather too long, and to no ordinary extent. That, as to matters of the highest moment concerning everything which men hold dear--their honour as a community, the reputation of those who have taken part in their public affairs, the material interests of themselves and those dependent upon them, even the very lives of some of the best and bravest among them--they have been somewhat too much sported with, tricked, and slandered. The colonists of New Zealand can stand a good deal. For long have they been calumniated. Indeed, from their first arrival in the country, it has been their fate to be vicariously punished for the sins of others. From first to last they have been attacked by Exeter Hall, and many resident missionaries, jealous of the advent to the country of any save themselves who might exercise an influence in it. Again, they have suffered for the quarrels between the Colonial Office and the New Zealand Company. At other times they have been subjected to alarming gubernatorial freaks--on the principle, it is presumed, of fiat experimentum in corpore vili. More recently, a considerable portion of the English press, headed by the "Thunderer," smarting under the contumely at present showered on England and her policy from all parts of Europe, and not thinking it expedient to reply to it, has, as some set off, turned against its own little offspring at the other side of the world, and hurled every epithet of opprobrium and abuse at the devoted heads of the colonists, whose conduct but a few weeks before it had approved, and whose sacrifices it had applauded. That the colonists have for years borne, and are still bearing, these and many other grievances, on the whole good humouredly enough, and without abating one jot of their determination to persevere and build up a nation in New Zealand, speaks not a little for themselves and the race to which they belong.
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Let us see how the case of the colonists really stands. After having been for years bandied about from pillar to post, their simple request--to be left to themselves--was, seemingly, acceded to, and a constitution of Government granted, under which they might manage their own affairs. That task they cheerfully undertook, and, on the whole successfully, whatever mistakes may from time to time have been made. What was but a few years back a wilderness, is already, in all directions, supporting and enriching the pioneers of that which will one day become a no insignificant people. The progress which the colony has made within the last ten years, will favourably compare with that of any other part of the world. But side by side with the self-government and progress of the colonists, has been the government and condition of the aboriginal race. From the first, the colonists were jealously and systematically excluded from any voice with respect to the latter. We are not now going to argue as to the impolicy or otherwise of this exclusion. We are simply stating facts. At last, when responsible government in the ordinary affairs of the colony was established in 1856, a slight power of taking part in what more especially concerned the natives, was accorded to the representatives of the colony. The right of the colonial Ministry to tender advice on native matters was admitted; but the final decision as to the action to be taken, remained with the Imperial Government and its Governor. Chronic disturbances, disagreements, and wars between the natives and the Imperial Government--but never between them and the colonists, save when the latter were called upon to act with the Government--have prevailed from first to last. Each Governor in turn has had to conduct his own special war or wars with the natives; to sustain his own peculiar affronts from them as best he might. For the most part the colonists had to look on, till of late years--as the disaffection of the natives became more widespread, and assumed a position pregnant with danger to one-half at least of the colony --when the colonists were required, or compelled by proclamations of martial law, to engage actively in support of the Imperial Government. Sir George Grey, during his first government, had his fair share of wars and affronts. When he left, at the end of 1853, there had not, so far as we can remember, been any recent flagrant breach of the peace on the part of the natives, or any personal insult from them to the Government: the last we can call to mind was his having his horse turned round and struck by a tomahawk whilst he was riding at Taranaki, for which, however, he subsequently accepted an apology. Towards the end of Colonel Gore Browne's government, during the war at Taranaki, Sir George Grey, then at the Cape, offered to the Home Government to come and restore peace at Taranaki, with the title, we believe, of Commissioner. Possibly he might have persuaded himself that his personal influence with the natives would be such as would suffice to make them an orderly people, living in harmony thoughout the land. Possibly he might have had other reasons for the offer But, whatever his motives were, the offer was made and accepted, and he was sent out to New Zealand, but as Governor, not as Commissioner. He came as the herald of peace. Every support was given to him from home. Every support from the colony. He had a Ministry anxious, as men could be, to avoid fighting with the natives, and solicitous to make the attempt to govern them by means of the Governor's and their own personal influence. With this object, Acts expressly framed by the previous Government to lead the natives into habits of law and order, were brought into force; Native Commissioners and Magistrates with large salaries, were appointed; natives without number made paid assessors and constables; money found by the colonists without stint, and without comment. Every pound or measure Sir George asked for was given without a show of opposition or murmur by the Legislature, albeit the majority had but little faith that good would follow from what was being done. Obviously, his first mission (what, indeed, he had expressly offered and come to do) was to settle the Taranaki question. As to a portion of the natives there who had been recently in arms against the Government, a state of armed truce prevailed; while another portion was in occupation of lands from which the settlers had been driven, and which the latter had for years possessed and cultivated under grants from the Crown. Sir George Grey was in as favourable a position as a Governor could he to enter upon the question. He had offered to settle it; the Home Government wished it settled; the colonists wished it; while to the people of Taranaki it was a question of life and death. Every necessary aid and support were given to Sir George Grey to settle it. The Legislature, in every session, from his arrival to the present time, prayed that it might be settled, and voted large funds for the purpose. He had whatever prestige might attach to his loudly-asserted "personal influence," backed up, if that failed--unlike his predecessor--by an efficient military force, a most able and willing commander, and five ships of
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war. Month after month passed. People waited in anxious expectation that the man, expressly sent in an emergency to settle the question, would do it; but no move did he make in that direction. He visited the natives in the Bay of Islands district, who had been most peaceful through the whole period of his predecessor's government, and was received by them with the same professions of loyalty and respect with which they always greeted Colonel Gore Browne. He made an excursion to the Lower Waikato, and failed signally in his interviews with the natives there, equally in the attempt to induce them to confide in him, and in his ability to argue with them. He went to the Upper Waikato, and returned without success--he could not even get an interview with King Matutaera; but he left behind him a profound feeling of mistrust of his intentions on the part of the natives, whom he alarmed by his intimation to them that he would "secretly dig round the flagstaff of their king till it fell." This mistrust received ample confirmation when they discovered that, under pretence of erecting a schoolhouse on native land at Kohe Kohe, for which they had given permission, Sir George Grey was really constructing works for a military fortress. They emphatically exclaimed, "Death for our nation is at hand." He promised to visit the natives of Hawke's Bay, who accordingly assembled to meet him, but he never went. He did go to Wi Tako, and other natives near Wellington, who refused to come to meet him, and he returned foiled and angry, his personal influence there having proved to be a myth. At last, some eighteen months after his arrival, he turned towards Taranaki, where, for all that time, the old sores had been festering and ripening, while he had been for the most part maintaining a moody seclusion in the recesses of Government House, or alternately enjoying the Circean delights of his island estate of Kawau.
Sir George Grey had, for a year and a half, displayed a "masterly inactivity" with respect to that question which he had expressly come to settle. When at last he went to Taranaki, in the early part of 1863, one of his first steps was to send a military force to occupy the Omaka and Tataraimaka blocks, comprising lands of the settlers which the insurgent natives had held since the war. Before he took this step he had been warned by William Thompson that, if he did so, war would ensue. After the step was taken, warnings to the same effect were given him by natives at New Plymouth, who even asserted that ambuscades were being laid for the purpose of cutting off any Europeans who might come in their wav. It is very unreasonable to suppose that the person to whom these repeated warnings were addressed, would have taken at least common precautions? That he who was responsible for the safe carriage of so many important interests, Imperial and Colonial, would have determined that--whatever he would do or leave undone--at least he would provide against any unnecessary peril, against any risk of the defeat of those who were supporting the authority of the Crown, against any opportunity of success to those who were conspiring against it? But Sir George Grey is a peculiar man, and not to be judged by what might be deemed reasonable or unreasonable in the conduct of others. Accordingly, he despised these warnings, slighted all suggestions to take proper precautions against surprise, and even went the length of stating that the natives had no hostile intentions, and of inviting the settlers to go freely into and occupy the country. The settlers, judging more accurately, declined to act on the Governor's suggestion, believing--no matter what Sir George Grey might say--that the natives were concerting hostile movements. The settlers were right; as was but too clearly shown by the lamentable Oakura tragedy of the 4th May, 1863, when two officers and seven men of the 57th Regiment, on escort duty, were, without previous notice, shot down and tomahawked.
This, then, was the first result of Sir George Grey's mission to settle the Taranaki question; this the evidence of his "personal influence" with the natives, of his knowledge of their character, his sagacity in divining their intentions, his power of controlling their actions. A few days afterwards, Sir G. Grey gave up all claim on the part of the Crown to the disputed lands at the Waitara; gave it up without that investigation so often asked for by the natives and promised by the Governor, and which all parties in the colony-- those who supported and those who opposed the policy of Governor Gore Browne--were equally desirous should be made. Another few days saw an action at Katikara, between the troops and a considerable body of natives, in which the latter were defeated with much loss. Shortly after which Sir George Grey returned to Auckland, leaving then, as he has done to the present time, the Taranaki question as unsettled as ever, indeed much more embarrassed than before.
On his return to Auckland, a change came over the spirit of his dream. The Herald
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of Peace had become the Apostle of War. Whether it was that he became better aware of the real intentions of the natives, or that he changed his mind as to what it was expedient for him to do, or that he merely threw off the mask which he had previously worn, no harlequin metamorphosis was ever more complete. Civil Commissioners, Native Magistrates, Maori Assessors, all whom he had so dearly trusted (and paid) were set aside; the Militia of all classes were called out for active service, military outposts planted in various directions, and troops massed towards the Waikato. The natives in the district south of Auckland were required by public notice to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen, and to give up their arms, or to leave the district. They adopted the latter course. The crossing of the Maungatawhiri, the action at Koheroa, the attack on Captain Ring's escort party, the surprise and murder of several unarmed settlers (including women and children) while quietly pursuing their usual occupations, followed in rapid succession. Governor Grey had fairly committed himself to a war between the Crown and the most powerful tribes in New Zealand; a war certain to be hotly contested, and the effect of which, before it could be brought to a close, would be felt by every interest in the colony. It was commenced on a very large scale from the first. Armed steam vessels, suited to the navigation of shallow waters, were procured at no small cost; horses for cavalry and transport service purchased; all at the expense of the colony. In addition to the Militia, called out for active service at Auckland and Taranaki, and comprising nearly every able-bodied man at those places, large bodies of men were enrolled, armed, and detailed for various military services, at Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and Wanganui. Did this suffice? It would seem not. For then Governor Grey decided upon that policy which has been so loudly commented upon in England, where it is generally termed the "confiscation policy." Accordingly, we find Sir George Grey, on the 29th of August, in a despatch to the Duke of Newcastle, proposing a plan (which he describes as based on that which he had adopted in British Kaffraria), under which men were to be introduced to New Zealand on military tenure, having first performed military duties for such period as the Government might require their services. In furtherance of this plan, he states that. "the land upon which it is proposed to locate these military settlers it is intended ultimately to take from the territories of those tribes now in arms against the Government." And he goes on, in support of this plan, as follows:--
I feel certain that the chiefs of Waikato having in so unprovoked a manner caused Europeans to be murdered, and having planned a wholesale destruction of some of the European settlements, it will be necessary now to take efficient steps for the permanent security of the country, and to inflict upon those chiefs a punishment of such a nature as will deter other tribes from hereafter forming and attempting to carry out designs of a similar nature, which must in their results be so disastrous to the welfare of the native race, as well as to her Majesty's European subjects.
I can devise no other plan by which both these ends can be obtained than, firstly, by providing for the permanent peace of the country by locating large bodies of European settlers strong enough to defend themselves in those natural positions in this province which will give us the entire command of it, and will convince the badly disposed natives that it is hopeless to attempt either to drive the Europeans from the country, or to place them throughout a great part of its extent under the rule and laws of a king of the native race, elected by the Maori population, who would soon turn his arms against his brother chiefs, and render the Northern Island from end to end one large scene of murderous warfare; and, secondly, by taking the land on which this European population is to be settled from those tribes who have been guilty of the outrages detailed in my various despatches to your Grace. A punishment of this nature will deter other tribes from committing similar acts, when they find that it is not a question of mere fighting which they are to be allowed to do as long as they like, and then, when they please, to return to their former homes, as if nothing had taken place, but that such misconduct is followed by the forfeiture of large tracts of territory which they value highly, whilst their own countrymen will generally admit that the punishment is a fair and just one, which the Waikato chiefs have well deserved.
In such terms did Governor Grey then describe and defend this plan, than which he said he could devise no other. So convinced did he appear to be of its propriety, and so anxious that it should be carried into effect at once, that, without waiting to learn how the scheme would be received, either by the Home Government or by the Colonial Legislature, he commissioned a member of his Executive, and an officer of General Cameron's staff, to proceed to Australia by the very steamer which took home his despatch, and to raise 2,000--afterwards increased to 5,000--military settlers. Thus was initiated
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this plan--the celebrated "confiscation policy"--which has latterly evoked in England such bitter abuse, not of Sir George Grey, who first proposed it, but of the colonists, who were never consulted, nor until months afterwards, allowed an opportunity of expressing an authoritative opinion with respect to it. For, extraordinary as it will seem to Englishmen, accustomed to constitutional forms of government, Sir George Grey was acting in the manner just described without the sanction of the Colonial Legislature, which was all the time in recess, and was not called together until nearly six months after he had commenced a war on the largest scale which the colony had yet seen; one which was certain, under any circumstances, to cost much blood and treasure, and proposed to be conducted in a manner which would tax the colony to its uttermost.
When the Colonial Parliament had been last in session, Sir George Grey had professed a native policy of peace, and none but measures of peace had been considered or provided for. When it again met, on the 19th October, 1863, it found Sir George Grey engaged for months in a war which was agitating every mind, European or native, in the colony; which had cost many lives already, and had placed those of thousands in future peril; and which (in addition to the Imperial expenditure) had involved the colony in an outlay apparently overwhelming, and never before contemplated. And it found--above all-- that, long before it met, the representative of the Crown, "unable to devise any other plan," had determined to confiscate the lands of the insurgent natives, and had pledged the good faith of the Government to many thousand military settlers to locate them on these lands.
Amidst the sound of trumpets and the clash of arms, the Session of 1863 was opened-- five and a half months after the war had commenced. The "Royal speech," as might have been expected, referred to little save the native war, to which the Governor alluded in the following paragraphs:--
The resumption of a block of land by my orders at Taranaki, which had long previously to the late war been peacefully occupied by our settlers, but which the continued threats of the natives had since prevented their return to, was followed by the entirely unprovoked murder of nearly the whole of a small escort of her Majesty's troops.
This murder was instigated and directed by the tribes of Waikato; the same tribes who had already expelled from their own districts their missionaries and all other European residents; forcibly taken away the half-caste families of the latter; and evinced in many ways their determination to provoke a war of races. They have for some time past been endeavouring to form a general combination of the natives, having for its avowed object the indiscriminate slaughter of the European inhabitants of the colony.
Their plans of attack upon Auckland and its neighbouring settlements have been frustrated by the defensive measures adopted; but they have assassinated out-settlers, and soldiers engaged on escort-duty.
No effort to gain over these tribes has been omitted. Every endeavour has been made to remove any even apparent ground of complaint; to do them the fullest justice, and to promote in every way their welfare and improvement. Yet no means have been found effectual to induce them to relinquish their schemes of conquest and plunder. They have deliberately resolved upon war, and to try their strength with the British race.
In accordance with this desire to deprive the natives of every pretext for rebellion, and prevent, if possible, the then threatening insurrection from becoming general; in the hope, also, of securing unanimity, and the cordial support of all classes of her Majesty's European subjects, in the war thus forced upon us, and for other reasons detailed in the papers which will be laid before you, I thought it my duty, notwithstanding some obvious objections to such a course, to declare my intention not to attempt to complete the purchase of the block of land at the Waitara.
When, from the assassination of our officers and soldiers, it was clear that the war, which such efforts had been made to avoid, was inevitable, the Imperial Government was immediately applied to for additional military assistance. The promptitude and liberality with which that application has been responded to demand your special recognition; and I feel confident that the aid thus given by England to the colony in its time of danger and difficulty, will strengthen those sentiments of loyalty and affection towards the mother country which have always animated the settlers of New Zealand.
The neighbouring colonies, to which I applied for such military aid as they could afford, have rendered every assistance in their power, and my thanks are in a special manner due to the Governor of Tasmania for the great promptitude with which every available soldier was despatched thence to this colony.
Meantime, active measures had been taken in the colony itself for the defence of the settle-
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ments of the Northern Island. The Militia and Volunteers have been called out, armed, and trained, to the number of upwards of 9,000 men. Volunteer companies, both of horse and foot, have been formed in the different provinces--some of them in Auckland and Taranaki--for the especial purpose of scouring the forest country. Mounted forces, under the Colonial Defence Force Act of last Session, have been raised and stationed in Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and Wanganui. A steam gunboat, adapted for the navigation of shallow rivers, has been built and brought over from Sydney, for especial service on the Waikato river. No exertions have been spared by the colony in contributing to the utmost extent of its power towards its own defence.
To provide in the most certain manner for the future protection of the settlers; to leave the regular troops more free for offensive operations, by releasing them from a portion of their garrison duty; as well as to enable the Lieutenant-General Commanding to undertake these operations at an early period; a large number of Volunteers have been introduced from Australia and the Middle Island to serve for a certain period as Militia, and eventually to form military settlements in the interior, on condition of receiving free grants of land for their services. The very fine body of men that have thus volunteered to assist in fighting the battles of the colony will greatly facilitate the prosecution of the war. * * * * *
A large expenditure has been incurred in making provision for the defence of the country, which the urgency of the crisis rendered immediately necessary. Measures will be submitted to you to enable the colony to meet this outlay, as well as that which, unfortunately, will still have to be made on account of the war. * * * * * * *
The measures to which your attention will be principally directed, will be those which have for their object the suppression of the present, and the prevention of future rebellions. I rely with confidence on your cordial support in my endeavours to carry on the present war with vigour, and to make it, if possible, the last which shall afflict the European and aboriginal inhabitants of New Zealand. To do this--to provide a material guarantee for the preservation of peace--such measures will be necessary as will render future insurrections of the natives hopeless. The most obvious and effective of such measures are the construction of roads through the interior of the country, and the introduction into the disaffected districts especially, of an amount of armed population sufficient to defend itself against all aggression. It should be distributed in military settlements along the frontiers of the settled districts and elsewhere, so as to afford protection to the inhabitants of these districts. A considerable number of volunteers for such settlements have been introduced, as I have already stated, and bills will lie submitted for your consideration to authorize and make provision for the carrying out of these objects on as extensive a scale as seems practicable at present. This will necessarily involve the occupation of a portion of the waste lands of the rebellious natives; but while ample land will be left for their own requirements, it is only just that they should be made to feel some of the evil consequences of plunging the country, by wanton and unprovoked aggressions, into the expenses and miseries incidental to civil war; and thus it is hoped to afford a warning to other tribes to abstain from conduct which will be attended with the kind of punishment they are most apprehensive of.
This was the first authoritative announcement to the people of New Zealand of the critical position of the colony, and of the momentous character and conditions of the contest which had been entered into. In accordance with the Governor's speech, the attention of the Legislature was, with but few exceptions, confined to the consideration of the one absorbing subject--the Native War--what had sprung out of it, and what, consequently, it behoved to do. Within a day or two after the Session was opened-- before an opinion had been expressed, or the reply to the Governor's speech proposed-- the Ministry then in office resigned, from an inability, as was understood, to act together.
In the emergency in which the country was then placed, the first aim of the Legislature was to have in office a Ministry that would be able to work out efficiently such measures as might be determined to be expedient under the existing circumstances. With this object all party and personal feeling which might heretofore have existed was set aside, in order that a Ministry able to command support from all parties might be formed. After some negotiation, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Gillies, along with Mr. Russell and Mr. Wood, who had been members of the late Ministry, consented to take office. This Ministry embraced the exponents of opinions which in times past had widely differed. To enable it to be formed, much forbearance had been shown by those who for years had opposed each other, but it was felt that the time required the exercise of such forbearance. All difference of opinion on previous questions was now merged in the desire to act with unanimity in the existing critical condition of affairs. When the new Ministry was announced to the House of Representatives, satisfaction was expressed on all sides.
One of the first questions to which the attention of the Legislature was called, was that of the relations on native affairs which were for the future to subsist between the
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Governor and the Ministry. Up to that time, the rule established in 1856, with respect to native affairs, was in force, namely--that on all subjects connected with the natives, while the colonial Ministers could tender advice, the Governor alone should finally decide. Up to that time, for all that was done in native matters--and it was much, and calculated seriously to affect the future of the colony--the Representative of the Crown was alone responsible.
Sir George Grey had, a short time after his arrival, recommended, in a despatch to the Duke of Newcastle, of the 30th November, 1861, that the Colonial Ministry should have the same responsibility and power as to native matters which they had on all other matters of government. His Grace gave his sanction to this: assigning in his reply, as one reason, the failure of the Home Government in keeping the management of the natives under its control. It had, consequently, after the receipt of his Grace's reply, been proposed to the Colonial Parliament, in the Session of 1862, that it should accept the responsibility of the government of the natives. This proposal was negatived, and ultimately addresses to the Queen were adopted by both Houses on the subject, which may be summarized shortly as representing in effect--that the Imperial Government had always jealously retained the management of the natives--that it alone therefore was responsible for the native anarchy which prevailed--that to replace this anarchy by habits of law and order, was a task which should not then be transferred to the colonists--but that, when tranquillity, and the authority of the law should be established, it would be wise and just that the Colonial Government should have the responsibility and power of directing the native policy. The House of Representatives further expressed its conviction that, as the maintenance of her Majesty's Government required the presence and actual help of the military power, it was essential that the Government directing the policy should have the control of that military power, and, therefore, that without that control, any proposal to get rid of the divided responsibility hitherto existing in the colony, and to unite the Government under a single administration, was a proposal in name rather than in fact. Many members foresaw that, however the Home Government might profess to hand over the direction of native policy to the Colonial Ministry, when an emergency occurred which necessitated the employment of the military, the Home Government would interfere. Subsequent facts have simply confirmed the correctness of this foresight.
In replying to these addresses of the Legislature, the Duke of Newcastle seized the opportunity to administer what was virtually a didactic lecture to the Colonial Parliament for presuming to hold different views from his Grace as to the state of the colony, the relations between the Government, the natives, and the colonists, and the duties which devolved upon the latter: and signified that his previous decision should be adhered to. Both Houses now considering useless to protract the discussion, regarded his Grace's decision as conclusive, and accepted, in good faith, the responsibility thus thrust upon the colony, fearfully aggravated as was the "native difficulty" at the time.
In support of the policy adopted by the Governor before the Parliament had met, the Suppression of Rebellion Bill, and the New Zealand Settlements Bill, were submitted to the Legislature. The first proposed to establish a peremptory martial law over the whole colony; the second to enable lands to be taken for military settlements, either from Europeans or natives, on giving compensation for the land taken where it did not belong to persons who had been in rebellion. It was also calculated, that the sale of some of the lands to be taken would replace a portion of the very large sums required to meet the expenses of Sir George Grey's policy. The Governor also sent down a message, enclosing a bill for raising a loan of three millions to provide for the expenses of the war and the planting of military settlements. The measures by which it was thus proposed to give legislative effect to the Governor's policy, caused a profound sensation amongst members. They were both exceptionable in character and construction, and they made a gigantic demand on the means of a colony not containing at the time more than one hundred and fifty thousand souls. No community of people of the same number had ever before been subjected to such a demand, or to such pressure--a pressure increased from the fact that a large proportion of the population were (some of them for nearly four years) taken away from their avocations as settlers, and compelled to perform military duties. But if these measures were exceptional, so were the times. A life and death struggle had been entered into. The Legislature could scarcely refuse to give effect to the course his Excellency had adopted, without placing itself almost in a position of rebellion against her Majesty's representative. The Colonial Parliament had loyally supported Governor Grey's peace policy, it with equal loyalty supported his war policy. The bills sent down to it were
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passed by large majorities of both Houses. Some members believed the policy was just and wise. Some, with no very strong opinions, thought that as Sir George Grey had faded in his measures of peace, there was no alternative but to pursue his measures of war to a conclusion. A small minority of both Houses protested against the policy and the measures. The Governor did not reserve the "Rebellion Bills" for the signification of her Majesty's pleasure, but gave the Royal assent to them at once. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, in presenting the money bills to Sir George Grey at the conclusion of the Session, referred to what the Legislature had done in support of his Excellency, in the following words:--
The Legislature has not failed to bear in mind your Excellency's suggestions that the steps to be taken by it should be such, as, while sufficient to extinguish an existing rebellion, should at the same time render similar risings for the future in the highest degree improbable.
The Legislature has found it necessary to authorize the raising of no less a sum of money than three millions, in anticipation of future revenue, and while it has placed large resources in the way of money and men at the disposal of the Government, it has at the same time passed an Act by which the hands of the Executive and of the military commanders are strengthened by the possession of powers of a very large and unusual character.
These Acts indicate the recognition of a serious and impending danger, which is to be averted by no milder measures; and they have been agreed to by the Legislature in the confident expectation that the large powers thus bestowed will be wielded with an amount of cautious forbearance, limited only by a due regard to the attainment of the essential objects for which they were designed.
On this subject the Governor, in his prorogation speech, remarked:--
It is highly gratifying to me that the measures which I have adopted for the suppression of the rebellion, the maintenance of her Majesty's sovereignty, and the protection of the peaceable inhabitants of these islands from lawless aggression, have met with your hearty approval and support.
The signal success which has attended the operations of her Majesty's military and naval forces, cannot but be a subject of great congratulation. The decisive defeat of the Waikato tribes by General Cameron and the combined forces under his command, at Rangiriri, and the occupation of Ngaruawahia, by her Majesty's troops, under the Queen's flag, will, I think, convince those tribes that the cause of the Maori king is hopeless, and will, I trust, induce them to become peaceful subjects of her Majesty, and yield obedience to the law.
While fully recognising the responsibilities of the colony towards the Maori race, I shall not relax in following up our successes with such measures as may be necessary, to reduce to obedience those who may still offer resistance to her Majesty's authority.
GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES--My especial thanks are due to you for the prompt liberality which you have placed at my disposal the very large sums of money, for which I have thought it necessary to ask, to meet the demands of the present crisis. You may rest assured that these sums shall be expended in such a manner as will be best calculated to effect the purposes for which they have been so readily voted.
Well might Sir George Grey thank the Legislature for what it had done. It had strenuously supported the course which he had thought right to take for the maintenance of the authority of the Crown. In doing so it had made sacrifices without precedent for so infant a community. Sacrifices which it had some right to believe would be, at least, recognised in the mother country. Was this belief merely an extravagant dream? During the Session both Houses passed a scries of resolutions, protesting against the arguments and statements by which Governor Grey had sought to account for his surrender of the Waitara, but declining to reopen the question, being satisfied with the opinions expressed by the Duke of Newcastle in commenting on it. Meanwhile the war was being pushed on. Meremere, abandoned by the natives, was taken possession of by the troops, who were next moved against the native stronghold at Rangiriri. After a fierce contest, which lasted for some eighteen hours, and in which the gallantry displayed by all branches of the service was fully evidenced by the losses sustained, the place was taken, upwards of hundred and eighty natives being taken prisoners, amongst them the influential and highly-connected, chief Takerei Te Rau, and other chiefs of note.
The heavy losses which the natives had sustained, and especially the capture of so many chiefs of note, were severely felt by them. For the time hostilities were suspended, and a correspondence took place between the prisoners and others of the insurgent
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natives and Sir George Grey, the character of which will be gathered from the following letters:--
LETTER FROM NATIVE PRISONERS TO WIREMU TAMIHANA AND OTHERS.
Rangiriri, November 21, 1863.
O WILLIAM, AND THOSE WITH YOU, 0 TRIBE! --Salutation! Friends, those of us who are alive--in number, 175--we are sent to the Queen's Redoubt. Peace is made. Our guns are given up to the General. Be you like unto us: let peace be made. These are (the terms of) lasting peace:-- The mana of the island, let it be put down; let the mana be given up to the Governor. Do not devise any different plan of action. Join with us in one the same plan in reference to peace. Let your letter (in reply) be quick, immediately on our young man with our letter reaching you.
Consent to this. Be quick as soon as our letter reaches you. Enough.
LETTER FROM WI TE WHEORO TO THE GOVERNOR.
Ongarahu Pah, November 23, 1863.
O FATHER, O GOVERNOR GREY!--Salutation! This is to tell you Waikato has fallen. The survivors have been brought to the Ruato--177 in number--and the chiefs Takerei Te Rau, Wi Kumete, Waikato Te Tawhana, Te Tapihana Tiriwa, Tioriori, Kihi Taiporutu, Pairoroku Tuhikitia, Reihana Tepoki, and many other chiefs.
The guns have been given up to the General.
Word has come from the chiefs who escaped, that Mr. Grundry, the interpreter, and I, should go and arrange the terms of peace. They have consented to the words of the prisoners, that peace be made; to do away with the king, and give up the land.
White flags have been hoisted at their places.
I have said to the General that I and Mr. Grundry, the interpreter, should go. He did not consent. It is for you to say if you are willing that I and a Government interpreter should go. But you must give the word.
The General has Tamihana's mere in token of peace. Enough.
From your loving son,
WI TE WHEORO.
To Governor Grey, Auckland.
LETTER FROM PENE WHAREPU TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR.
Ngaruawahia, November 25, 1863.
O FRIEND, O GOVERNOR! --Salutation! This is to say to you the fight has been fought, and some are dead, some alive. Restore to us Waikato. Let it suffice for you, the men who are dead. Return to us those who live. Enough.
From your friend,
From all the Chiefs of Waikato.
To Governor Grey.
LETTER FROM PENE PUKEWHAU TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR.
Ngaruawahia, December 2, 1863.
O FRIEND, O GOVERNOR! --Salutations! O friend, we are awaiting the reply to our letter. Can it have reached you or not? These are the words of that letter:-- Restore the Waikato men; suffice for you the dead. Enough.
From the Chiefs of Waikato,
From PENE PUKEWHAU.
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LETTER FROM HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR TO PENE TE WHAREPU.
Government House, December 6, 1863.
O ALL YOU CHIEFS OF WAIKATO, O PENE PUKEWHAU,--Your letter of the 2nd December has reached me. Sons, my words to you are these:-- The General must go uninterrupted to Ngaruawahia; the flag of the Queen must be hoisted there. Then I will talk to you.
(Signed) G. GREY, Governor.
LETTER FROM PENE TE WHAREPU TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR.
Te Kauri, December 9, 1863.
O FRIEND THE GOVERNOR,--Salutations! Your letter has reached me. William Te Wheoro brought it to me. It is right. Yes. Let the Queen's flag be above. Yes. I am pleased at it. Now let us talk. The first letter you wrote ** to me I have not seen. This ends my letter.
From PENE TE WHAREPU.
** [Note],--He is under a mistake. I did not answer his first letter. --G. G.
TELEGRAM FROM GENERAL CAMERON, ANNOUNCING THE HOISTING OF THE QUEEN'S FLAG AT NGARUAWAHIA.
The Queen's flag is flying at Ngaruawahia. A division of 500 men under my command was conveyed up the river in the Pioneer, and landed at Ngaruawahia about four p.m., without opposition, or seeing any natives.
These letters evidence that the natives were at the time deeply sensible of the blow they had recently received, and wished to confer with the Governor with reference to the situation. The representative of the Crown promised that if they would not oppose the march of the troops to Ngaruawhia--the Maori king's residence--he would go there and talk with them. The natives did not oppose the march of the troops to Ngaruawahia. Sir George Grey then announced that he was going there to have the promised talk. Many thought that a conclusion to the war would follow. The colonists anxiously looked forward to the result of the Governor's journey; can it be doubted that the insurgent natives awaited it, with at least equal anxiety? The Ministry forwarded relays of horses to convey the Governor to Ngaruawahia, when he suddenly changed his mind and declined to go. Again had cause for profound mistrust of Sir George Grey been given.
When the Legislature in the Session of 1863 accepted the responsibility of directing the native policy, which, by reiterated decisions of the Imperial Government it was required to take, it did so under compulsion no doubt, but still fully and without reservation. In like manner it adopted the native war which Sir George Grey had planned, and in which he had been for months engaged, and supported, without alteration, his scheme for taking land for military settlements and to defray part of the cost of the war, as well as to deter the natives in future from commencing hostilities, from the fear that loss of their land would ensue. The colony entered into this large undertaking in no niggardly manner. It consented to imperil the lives of many settlers, to transfer a large body of the colonists from the pursuits of peaceful industry to the performance of military duties, and to impose heavy pecuniary liabilities upon the present colonists and their children. In doing this, in support of the Imperial policy, it believed that, if the scheme were only carried into effect in all its parts, it would convince the natives that they must for the future live peaceably, and exchange anarchy for that respect for law and settled authority which Sir George Grey's measures of peace had confessedly failed to establish; and thus would put an end to England's "little wars" in New Zealand, which had so long embarrassed the Imperial Government. The colony thus pledged itself to Sir George Grey's war policy, expecting and requiring the Colonial Ministry to give effect to it, and expecting, as well it might, that the Imperial Government would, on their side, continue to sustain their representative in the policy he had adopted, which had been submitted to and had received the sanction of the Duke of Newcastle, and to enforce which additional troops had been sent.
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For a time all the parties interested, Governor, Imperial troops, Colonial Ministry and forces, appeared to co-operate earnestly and with one mind to give successful effect to this policy. The Colonial Treasurer was, with the Governor's approval, sent home to endeavour to negotiate the war loan, and obtain the Imperial guarantee so as to diminish the amount of interest which the colony would have to pay on it; and, after Sir George Grey had failed to hold his promised talk with the natives at Ngaruawahia, every exertion was made to enable the campaign in the Waikato to be carried on successfully. More military settlers were enrolled, more armed steam vessels procured, a large transport service established. These exertions were so far successful that the troops advanced into the interior with little difficulty, and wherever they encountered the natives, defeated and drove them back. The natives ceased to erect strongholds in the Waikato, or to show themselves in force; some retired, it was understood, to Tauranga, some towards Taranaki. The troops sustained no serious repulse save in the unfortunate affair at the Gate Pah, which was, however, so amply retrieved within a few days by a complete victory over the same natives, that the latter came in, surrendered their arms, and asked for peace, subsequently giving up to the Governor and two of the Ministers, who had gone to Tauranga to receive their submission, all their lands in the Bay of Plenty. With respect to this surrender, it may be observed that the moderation of the Colonial Government was unmistakably shown by its giving back to those natives who had so recently been waging war three-fourths of their land, by the formation of ample village reserves for their use, and the gift to them of large quantities of provisions, seed potatoes, clothes and tools. Many symptoms that the rebellion was fast losing the support of large portions of the natives became evident. At Maketu and at Wanganui, natives turned out in support of the Government, and, without European assistance, defeated parties of natives in arms against it. The well-known chief Wi Tako, who some eighteen months before had so contumeliously refused to be persuaded by, or almost to listen to Sir George Grey, voluntarily came to Mr. Fox and announced that he had ceased to support the Maori king or the war, took the oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria, and gave up his arms, which Mr. Fox returned to him. Many other natives, in small parties, also came in with their arms. In short, the policy was about to succeed, and the end of the last native war was at hand, if those who had first adopted the policy had been only true to themselves, and to those who, never imagining that they would be betrayed, had supported them in it. As we have stated, the policy, so far as it had been tried, was succeeding. The natives had everywhere been beaten back by the troops, and were getting tired of fighting. The time then had come for occupying some portion of the lands of which they had been dispossessed; but there was evidently a hitch somewhere, and those who had studied the career of the Governor could have no doubt as to where it was. In the month of April, in this year, had come a letter to Sir George Grey from Lord Ebury and other influential lords and gentlemen-- possibly well-meaning men enough--but knowing about as much, or less, of the merits of the case as they did about that of the Taepings. This letter denounced the policy as unjust, and as instituted merely to benefit the colonists. What answer Sir George Grey gave to this letter has not yet been made public. He might have replied, "That he had learnt with regret that my Lord Ebury and other amiable gentlemen had allowed themselves to believe that, in adopting and supporting his native policy, he and the colonists had acted unjustly; that, instead of the colonists reaping any benefit from the policy, they had, in supporting it, made as great sacrifices as had ever been imposed on a community; that possibly, if the gentlemen signing the letter had been placed in the same position, they might not have shown the long-suffering forbearance of the colonists; and, finally, that if those in authority at home condemned the policy which he conscientiously felt to be the most suitable one for the occasion, then he must beg to be relieved from the task of restoring order in New Zealand." An answer to that effect would have been easy, and it would have been effective. It would have authoritatively stopped denunciations of himself and the colonists, and he would have been authorized and encouraged to proceed with the policy to the predetermined conclusion. To have so answered merely required a little wisdom, with some sense of honour and straightforward manliness. Another course was as easy --as easy as lying--it was simply not to defend it, but to transfer from his own shoulders to those of the colonists all responsibility for the policy now sought to be condemned. It is true that this would be behaving rather scurvily to the colonists who had so heartily supported alike his measures of peace and his measures for war; but then they were mere colonists, whom it is now fashionable in England to revile; while he, the "great pro-consul," if he would but desert and revile them also, might reasonably expect emoluments
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and honours, even including that of a place beside my Lord Ebury and his noble colleagues.
We have indicated two courses which Sir George Grey might have taken when first his policy--now termed that of the colonists only--was commented on. That he did not take the safe and proper course, may be inferred from the increasing censure heaped on that policy. This censure, self-invited, is paralyzing his conduct--now more than ever trimming and vacillating--suffering him to be neither at peace nor at war: one day planning a campaign, the next holding the hands of the General when prepared to prosecute it; at another time, squabbling as to the custody of the native prisoners, then letting them escape when handed over to him, then begging them in vain to come back; again, giving written instructions to put up lands of the rebels for sale, and afterwards refusing to sign grants for the land when sold. The sins of this vacillation are coming home to him to roost. We do not envy his feelings, nor his daily increasing anxiety as to what next to do. The natives, but lately prepared to submit, are regaining courage for fresh hostilities. They see some 15,000 troops, regular and colonial, standing idle, while nothing is done to conclude the war. They are told that the troops are to be removed in the beginning of next year, and that the colony is in financial difficulties. They are making their plans accordingly. Another period of anarchy and bloodshed, with financial distress super-added, looms out darkly for the colony. It is needless to pursue the subject further. The man who led the colonists into a war, proposed by himself to be conducted on a plan which could only succeed if carried out completely, and then refused to complete it just when it promised to succeed--who has failed to induce the natives to trust him while at peace, or to respect him while at war--is unfit to continue to administer the government of a country where so many important interests, Imperial and Colonial, are at stake. One sentiment is being expressed throughout the colony; that whatever the people of New Zealand may continue to endure, they have had enough of Sir George Grey. If the same sentiment is not soon expressed at home, then so much the worse for the interests of the empire.
Those members of the Imperial Government who have publicly commented on the policy of the New Zealand Government, have, probably owing to their more intelligent information on the subject, done so in decorous language, which presents a marked and instructive contrast to that which other public speakers or writers on New Zealand affairs at present think that it comports with their dignity to indulge in. In their places in Parliament, and in the paragraphs of the Queen's speech referring to the New Zealand war, her Majesty's Ministers correctly describe it as a revolt, of some natives tribes; and not only do they abstain from censure, but they dare--notwithstanding the railing of wrathful colonels sitting in Parliament, and public censors moved, we presume, by their "own correspondents"--to do justice to and defend the conduct of the maligned colonists. Mr. Chichester Fortescue, especially, has from first to last refuted any attacks on the colonists, and displayed a real knowledge of the subject in all its details rarely exhibited in the discussion of a merely colonial question. Even Mr. Gladstone, cautious as he is where expenditure is in question, stated that the policy of the war was not exclusively that of the colony, but one which the Home Government had approved and were responsible for; and further, that New Zealand was the only colony in modern history which paid a moiety of the expenses of the war in which it was engaged. Mr. Cardwell, too, though sorely baited, defended the colonists, against the imputation of having provoked the war.
But although the colonists have been thus supported in words, there has, in deeds, been evinced a very marked shortcoming and want of appreciation of the position by the Home Government, or perhaps it may rather be said, by the new Secretary of State for the Colonies. When Mr. Cardwell succeeded the Duke of Newcastle at the Colonial Office, he found that, in the Provinces of Taranaki and Auckland, the natives had for a year been in armed revolt to Her Majesty's authority. He found that, to suppress this revolt, and prevent similar revolts in future, Sir George Grey had adopted a plan which the Duke of Newcastle had sanctioned, and to which the Colonial Legislature, when the question was submitted to it some six months after the war had commenced, had given its support by passing the necessary legislative measures to give effect to it: and that in support of this plan there were then in New Zealand ten battalions of troops of the line, with some engineers and artillery, while the colony had raised, equipped, and paid, forces nearly equal in number. Mr. Cardwell also found that the Imperial Government had compelled the Colonial Parliament to accept for the future the responsibility of directing the native policy, and that, during the Session of 1863, its acceptance of this responsibility had been
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signified and acted on There were two questions therefore for his consideration--First, the mode in which the existing war was to be conducted and brought to a conclusion; secondly, the question of colonial responsibility in native affairs. Both these questions had been dealt with by his predecessor in the spirit of what had actually been done, but Mr. Cardwell may have supposed that he was free to reopen them--at all events he has acted as if he so supposed--but in a most unsatisfactory and inconclusive manner. If he were of opinion that either of these questions required to be reopened, and that the existing relations between the home and colonial authorities with respect to them should be reconsidered, and the engagements entered into on the faith of these relations put an end to, then, in justice to the large interests involved, the colony should have been explicitly informed of that opinion without delay; but he took no such course, and has, with respect to either question, expressed neither a positive approval nor the contrary, but he has, from time to time, given instructions to the Governor which he had no right to give, compatibly with engagements previously entered into between the Home Government and the colony, the existence of which he appears quietly to ignore. If Mr. Cardwell is indifferent to these engagements, and believes that he can in this quiet manner, and without any formal understanding, set them aside and take them up when he pleases, he is seriously mistaken, and the sooner this mistake is made known the better for all parties. The colony is not in the mood to allow itself to be any longer played fast and loose with; it cannot afford to do so; and it would not if it could. In the Session about to commence in a few days, the Colonial Parliament can find means of signifying clearly that it will not be trifled with for the future; that there have been rather too many shams already with respect to native matters, and that it has no intention of submitting to such a gigantic sham as is apparently being attempted at present; that it must either have, once for all, the direction of native policy, or it must put off and disavow all responsibility for the result of that policy, pecuniary or otherwise.
The conduct of the Imperial authorities for a series of years, and especially recently, has brought the colony to its present state of embarrassment, and, instead of seeking to charge the authorship of this state of things on the colonists, it is the duty of those who have from the first had the management of native affairs, to reduce them to order. There is no moral liability resting on the colonists for the existing native revolt, but, nevertheless, every disposition has been shown by them to support the Imperial authorities in suppressing it. The colonists indeed are making almost ruinous efforts to remedy the evils caused by others, but their efforts are thwarted by the attempt to impose on them impracticable conditions. When they seek to defray a very large and, as Mr. Gladstone has admitted, unprecedented portion of the cost of the native war--first entered into without their having been consulted--and with that object apply to the Home Government for the nominal assistance of an Imperial guarantee to enable three millions to be raised at a lower rate of interest than might otherwise be possible, their application is virtually refused, and in a manner bordering on insult. In place of three millions, a guarantee is offered for but one million, and that only on conditions which--so impossible of fulfilment are they--it is difficult to characterize properly, especially having regard to the causes which led to the loan being required. It is sufficient to state, that it would be difficult to conceive conditions more ingeniously calculated to effect the ruin of New Zealand. They are such as would not only produce present financial embarrassment, but would destroy the future credit of the colony, and all belief in its honour. One indeed of these conditions--namely, that the payment of loans already obtained (except one guaranteed by the Imperial Parliament in 1857) was to be postponed in favour of the million which they offer to guarantee--is so monstrous, that it would scarcely have been believed that it had been seriously proposed by a British Government, had not the despatches and bill referring to it been published. Had this proposal emanated from the colony, the language which would have been used, in the present temper of England towards her colonists, would have been overwhelming. "Repudiation," "Gross breach of faith," and terms of a like nature, would have been amongst the mildest epithets which would have greeted such a proposal. Coming as it does from the Imperial Government, it devolves on the colonists to refuse, in such terms as may be fitting, to conspire against their own honour and the good faith of the colony. The intimation that such a condition was proposed with respect to the new loan, could not but affect--indeed, has already affected--the existing New Zealand securities. The holders of these securities may however rest assured, that not even the urgent need for money in the present crisis of the colony, will induce the colonist to agree to raise a loan on such conditions.
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There is not a ghost of a chance that the Imperial guarantee will be accepted on iho conditions proposed, which, besides affecting the honour of the colony, would operate injuriously in other respects. The colonial Parliament is required to be a consenting party to these conditions, and cannot entertain them for a moment. There is a limit to the passive obedience of colonists to the dictation of the Imperial authorities, and it may as well be understood at home that, with respect to the New Zealand native question, the limit has been reached.
We have, hitherto, been accustomed to believe the assertion, that the Yankee press and stump-orators were unrivalled in the use of opprobrious epithets and calumnious accusations; while, on the other hand, the press and public men in Great Britain maintained a calm philosophic tone and temperate language, in the discussion of public questions. It is but right to acknowledge that we now find ourselves to have been grievously mistaken in this belief. We have read attacks of the American press on the "Britisher," and comments from all parts of Europe on the recent policy of Great Britain; but, angry and excited as they are (and, as regards the latter, with some justification), they are mild to a degree as compared with the "tall-talk" employed by the press and public in England in reference to her colonists. Last year Canada was the chief object of abuse: at present most of the violent words in an English dictionary, and some not to be found there, are hurled at the people of New Zealand. Inhuman bloodseekers; possessed of an unholy lust for land; seeking war for commissariat spoils; greedy plunderers of those who, by the way, are at the same time described as half-naked--are a few of the choice terms applied by some people of England to those of their own blood in New Zealand, none of whom have been more than some twenty years, and a large proportion not so many months in the colony. As appropriately might this language be applied to our fellow-countrymen in Yorkshire or Midlothian. We suppose it would be the proper thing to feel deeply humiliated at being thought fit subjects for this abuse, but somehow we do not. It is not that the intelligent opinion of our fellow-countrymen, or an impartial criticism of our actions, is a matter of indifference to us; but it may well be that, recognising in the present case neither intelligence nor impartiality, we cannot help feeling indifferent. Censure to be useful must, it is presumed, be based on a full and disinterested knowledge of the facts, which is signally wanting to our would-be censors, who, owing to this deficiency, have been betrayed into an unreasonable extravagance of clamour. Nothing, indeed, can well equal the virulence displayed at home with respect to the New Zealand war, save perhaps the ignorance as to how or by whom it was commenced, or what has been the conduct of the colonists in connection with it. The fact is, the hitting has been rather too wild to be effective; and then, too, we know who are the chief authors of the calumnies supplied to the British public, and the somewhat interested motives with which they write. Of these, undoubtedly, Sir George Grey is the head and front of the offending, the fons et origo malorum. After him come the military scribes, whose letters are conveniently at hand when any one, either in public or private, desires to declaim against the war in New Zealand. Naturally these letters are full of abuse of the war, and all concerned in it. Could it well be supposed that officers in "crack" regiments recently sent to New Zealand from China, India, and elsewhere, arrested too when on the eve of returning to England, could like a campaign in New Zealand? No quotable glory or honour results from a victory over those who are described as savages only half-armed and half-naked-- we do not quite see, by the way, how the latter condition affects the question--while there is a constant risk of being defeated by these same savages. There being, therefore, little or no glory to throw a professional halo round the "crack" officers fighting in New Zealand, what remains as a compensation? --Loot? Unfortunately not. Wars in China, and Japan, of very doubtful morality, were not abused by those who took part in them. We suppose there was some reason for this if we could but discover it. Would that the Maori king's palace could have proved a "Summer Palace"--but, alas! we fear its chief contents would be rather clinging than clung to. Then, again, no land of the rebels has, as yet, been allotted to the regular troops, though some of them have petitioned for it. What wonder, therefore, that they should grudge "to fight to get land for others?" Fight they can most gallantly, and will again whenever occasion may require; but to like the war--that is quite another thing. Of course, then, the war is unpopular; and if only the people at home could be got to believe that it was promoted by or on behalf of the colonists, what so likely as that it would be put an end to--in so far at least as the officers of the "crack" regiments were concerned? We will admit, then, that their efforts to get
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up a "cry" unfavourable to the war, have been naturally prompted, and they have met with a fair share of success. Members of both Houses of Parliament have caught the cry and taken it from their informants, as people do certain infections, after the natural mannes. As a matter of course, some of the leading journals have adopted the cry, which is a very good one as it stands, and none the less so that it stands on no foundation of truth. It is consolatory to us to observe that, in the recent debates on New Zealand, the average knowledge--or want of it--as to questions at a distance, has been fully maintained. It is not all public men who can say so much, without any knowledge of the subject; or who can so conveniently shut their eyes to their own responsibility, individual and collective, for that of which they complain. Amongst other speakers, my Lord Grey specially distinguishes himself by the fierceness with which he charges the colonists with desiring to obtain the land of the natives, and declaims against the Constitution which gives the power of self-government to the people of New Zealand, who may well exclaim, "Et tu Bute?"
Is this the Earl Grey who, when Lord Howick, was chairman of a committee of the House of Commons, which reported that the colonists had been very badly treated, and that the natives should be coerced; who, when Colonial Secretary instructed the Governor to take away from the natives the whole of their land which they did not occupy or cultivate; and who, himself, framed the very constitution of Government under which the colonists live? Mr. Arthur Mills objects to the war, because it costs money. We had thought all wars did, and that rebellions were not generally put down with rose water. The Imperial authorities should have remembered this, when, for twenty-four years, they so managed the natives as to end with rebellion. Sir John Trelawney states that the colonists had been rebuked by two or three Colonial Ministers for seizing lands belonging to the natives. Would the honourable baronet also inform us where the despatches administering these rebukes are to be seen, and where the lands which were so seized are situate? Mr. Cobden tells us that the Customs Revenue of New Zealand is derived from duties on British manufactures. We thank him for the information that wines, brandy, rum, hollands, tobacco, tea, coffee, and sugar, from which six-sevenths of the Customs revenue are derived, are British manufactures. Sir J. Hay objects that one of the first acts of the Legislature, after New Zealand became a free colony, was, in opposition to her Majesty's Order in Council, to pass an Arms Bill, permitting the sale of arms to the natives. We were not before aware that Colonial Parliaments could so override the Royal prerogative, as to repeal the Sovereign's Orders in Council, or that there ever had been any Order in Council on the subject; but had believed that there were merely some regulations made by a Governor, under the authority of an old ordinance of the Colonial Legislature, which were somewhat relaxed, not by the Colonial Parliament, but by another Governor, and that the only action taken by the Parliament, after New Zealand became a free colony, was to censure that relaxation, and to pass the existing Arms Act, which imposes most stringent penalties on all who supply the natives with arms. Mr. Monsell quotes it as the opinion of Sir William Martin, that there has been a constant exercise of acts of injustice on the part of the colonists towards the natives. Sir William Martin writes in reply to the public papers, stating that it was not the colonists, but the Imperial Government, which he accused of this injustice. Another member says that the colonists have formed themselves into a federation, and that goods passing from one port to another within the colony have to pay Customs duty. We did not know there was a federation in New Zealand--whatever crime may lurk behind that word--but supposed we lived under the Constitution created by the Imperial Parliament in 1852; or that there were any separate Customs duties for each province or port, but only one set of Customs law's for the whole colony. But cui bono? Were we not justified in considering that the knowledge of facts pertaining to questions at a distance, was as lively as ever in the British Parliament? Could any better school of instruction, in more ways than one, be found by those labouring under a thirst for information? Where would one oftener be reminded of the slightly trite saying of the Chancellor Oxenstein, or the somewhat less known observation to an author, that there were in his book many things that were new, and some things that were true; but what was new was not true, and what was true was not new?
Equally correct and equally instructing are those papers which follow suit in abusing the colonists. The leading journals of the first city of Europe (we except the Spectator, Economist, and a few others), have shown themselves equal to the occasion. Given colonists to be abused, and they can supply any demand for--well, we will call it "screaming" language -- history written with a "sensation" pen. The phrases are not much varied and
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need not be, if only strong enough. A few such sentences will suffice:-- "An unholy war!" "Territorial lust!" "Greed for contracts!" If stronger terms can be found, so much the more would they appear to be appropriate, whether as respects England's sons in the North American colonies on the defence question, or in the Australian colonies demurring to receive the old world felonry, or in New Zealand making unprecedented sacrifices in support of the Imperial policy. Until the people of New Zealand were accused of supporting the war to get land, and to grow rich from commissariat contracts, we did not know how fortunate they were. Some things we did know. We knew that three-fifths of the colonists resided in the Southern Island, over the whole of which the native title is extinguished (ample reserves being made for the twelve or fifteen hundred natives scattered along its coasts), and that, as that island contains some fifty-six millions of acres, there was, probably, land enough for the colonists without taking any from the natives in the North Island. We also knew that not a single soldier or commissariat contract was to be found in the South Island, and yet the people there (three-fifths of the whole colonists of New Zealand) have all through supported the war, by which they could not possibly gain but must surely lose. We had thought they did so, not because it was an "unholy" war, but from a loyal desire to enforce her Majesty's supremacy at every cost. We also knew' what the colonists in the North Island had suffered from the war--that some scores (including women and children) had been murdered in cold blood--that many more had been killed and wounded in battle--that people of all ages had been taken from their homes and occupations and made to become soldiers in support of the policy of Sir George Grey. We are now, however, better informed from home, and find that all this took place to enrich some dozen contractors in the North Island. We wish we were also informed as to the profits made by these twelve or twenty contractors, for whose sake we are told that all New Zealand is, in so single-minded a manner, content to lose heavily. What percentage of the expenses paid by all the other colonists goes into their pockets? We have not heard that any special means have been used by them to enrich themselves, and fear they are much behind hand, and must be acting in a merely ordinary business-like way. We hear of no lime in the flour-barrels, or dead lambs or shavings in the trusses of hay, which it was whispered slightly swelled the profits of the British contractors to the army in the Crimea. There is evidently room for improvement yet, and when next the Governor is forced into war, as the Illustrated News says he was with respect to the present one--when he had planned and carried on the war for some months before he even informed the Colonial Legislature with respect to it--it is some consolation to know that there remain yet untried means of making that money which we are told is the mainspring of all our actions. There is also the consolation said to attach to those who have companions in misfortune, for the censure applied to New Zealand matters falls inciscriminately enough. General Cameron conies in for his full share: witness his being blamed for not battering the Gate Pah with ordnance until there was a breach, and the troops could thus get into it. We on the spot had supposed that he had battered the pah for some seven hours, that a breach was made, and that the troops did get in, only, somehow, they didn't stay in. But we perceive we must have been wrong in this supposition; an enlightened English public must be much better informed on all subjects connected with New Zealand, and the war there, than mere colonists can hope to be. We need scarcely go on for the present: when the next English mail arrives, doubtless it will convey more specimens of the accuracy of the statements made at home as to New Zealand and its people. Jam satis est. --Nelson Examiner.
LONDON: PRINTED BY W. CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.