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MY LORD,--Your Lordship is probably aware that there is a dispute pending between the Colonial Office and the Government of New Zealand, relative to the expenses of the late Maori war.
Your name is identified with the successful foundation, upon sound principles, of a settlement of British colonists in New Zealand; and it is therefore natural to appeal to you in a matter which, while it affects most deeply the interests of our own colony, may have an important bearing on the general system of the Imperial administration of colonies.
It is my desire to recapitulate to your Lordship the circumstances which have led to the present disagreement, and to expound what I may venture to represent as the Colonial view of the rights of the matter.
It is a cause of great concern to us all to feel that at present the general impression throughout England, as represented in Parliament and by the Press, is very unfavourable to New Zealand. And I fear that a much closer attention must be bespoken to rectify such an impression than that which was needed to form it. But I trust at the same
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time that a statement carefully made on behalf of the colonists will be listened to with the candid hope of arriving at the truth on the one hand, and on the other, of securing that vindication of the character of the colonists which their kinsmen of the mother country must desire to see made.
THE CASE AGAINST THE COLONY.
By whom charges are made.
An article lately published in the 'Times' 1 newspaper conveniently illustrates the injurious impression to which I have alluded, and nowhere else has the general case against the colony been more strongly or more compendiously stated. I therefore adopt it as representing the darkest picture that can be drawn of our shortcomings; and it is certain that the assertions contained in it, be they true or false, do actually raise all the points in the question.
What the charges are.
The line of argument taken by the writer may be summarized thus:--
That the colonists are responsible for the origin of the native disturbances in New Zealand.
That the hostilities which began in the year 1860, and in which a large force of British troops have been employed, were commenced for the purpose of obtaining land for the benefit of the colonists.
That the troops now quartered in the colony are maintained there for the protection of the settlers.
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That the settlers, being protected by others, are unwilling to exert themselves in their own defence, but desire to throw the whole burden of military operations, conducted for their benefit, on the mother country.
That a state of war is encouraged by the colonists for the sake of the expenditure from the Imperial Treasury which attends it.
That so long as Great Britain at its sole expense supplies the colony with troops the same causes will be in operation and similar effects produced, in the constant outbreak of little wars, to be carried on at the expense of British taxpayers.
That with such an association of facts before it, it is the duty of the Imperial Government, in justice both to itself and the colony, to remove its troops as quickly as possible.
I am not aware that any other argument of any force has been employed, or that those which I have stated could be put more fairly.
If the premisses are true the conclusion must be admitted. But the are entirely untrue; the argument cannot be supported for a moment by any one who will consider the facts, and the conclusion, as it is not fairly arrived at, is mischievous.
TECHNICAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR NATIVE GOVERNMENT.--THEORY OF SEPARATE ADMINISTRATION.
Distinction between native and colonial Government.
The first step towards determining who and what caused the native war in New Zealand, and whose
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the conduct conclusion and cost of it ought to be, will be to consider what has been hitherto the machinery of Government in the colony. To do this I shall venture to trouble you with a brief recapitulation of our political history from the date of the Constitution to the present day. In the course of this recapitulation, I shall shew that the colonists themselves have been entrusted with the administration of their own affairs, and their own affairs only; and that the Imperial Government has distinctly and jealously retained all along in its own hands the control of the native population. I shall more especially point out that this has been no mere theoretical distinction, but a most practical division of administrative government. I shall be the more careful in insisting upon this last point, because I am aware that many persons admit the nominal existence of the distinction, while they slight its importance, and avowedly treat an appeal to it by the colonists as an unhandsome recourse to technicality for the evasion of their legitimate responsibilities.
Intention and effect of Constitution Act.
The Constitution Act of 1853 conferred full powers of local self-government upon the settlers of New Zealand. It contains express provisions for the benefit of the Maori race, and treats them as a people apart from those on whom the rights of self-government were conferred. One provision of the kind, amongst others, reserves to her Majesty the power of declaring at pleasure "native districts," within which the laws and customs of the
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aborigines shall remain in force, i. e.:--in which the acts of the Legislature shall be inoperative. Further, a property qualification excludes almost every Maori from the franchise. It follows that, though a Maori might qualify himself for the franchise, and though the acts of the Legislature run nominally all over the Colony, practically it was provided that the Maoris should not govern themselves, and intended that they should not be governed by the colonists. Further, by the reservation of a sum of £7000 on the Civil List for native purposes, a separate government of the race was rendered possible.
But this is not all. It will be said that, whatever may have been the intention of the framers of the Constitution, yet, in fact, the whole power of Government was, by consent of the Imperial authorities, assumed and exercised by the colonists. This was by no means the case. All the functions of administration have been carefully reserved and exercised by the Home Government, as I shall proceed to shew.
Interval of no-government.
During a period of more than 18 months after the coming into operation of the New Zealand constitution--a period of the greatest importance in the political history of the colony--Her Majesty's Government left vacant the office of Governor of the Colony. The administration of all affairs, both European and Maori, was conducted by the senior military officer and the permanent officials of the old regime. The colonists asked for the concession
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of ministerial responsibility for the management of their own affairs: but this concession Colonel Wynyard found himself without power to make. Without this, the mere existence of an elective legislative body was not, it must be admitted, real local self-government: and if not self-government by the colonists in their own affairs, how much less a government of the native race, for which there was no necessity to take votes of money, and in whose case even laws solemnly enacted might be set aside at pleasure.
Local self-government established.
From the first session of the General Assembly, in 1856, which followed the arrival of Governor Gore Browne in 1855, dates the establishment of complete local self-government by the colonists, three years after the passing of the Constitution Act. The crown officials were then replaced by gentlemen possessing the confidence of the legislature. From this time began the practical application of the theory deducible from the Constitution Act--the division of the Government into two branches, one for the administration of European, the other of Maori affairs. As in the mode of creating and carrying out this distinction lie the main facts of the case now under discussion, I will narrate the circumstances somewhat in detail, appealing almost exclusively to such sources of information as are readily accessible in this country.
A condition imposed by Home Government.
Governor Browne found that the claim for the establishment of responsible government had been admitted by the Home authorities in a despatch
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from Sir George Grey, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, to the acting Governor, dated 8th Dec. 1854, [Parl. Papers, N. Z., 30 March, 1855, p. 39,] in which is disclaimed "any desire to propose terms or to lay down restrictions on your assent to the measures which may be necessary for that object, except that of which the necessity appears to be fully recognized by the General Assembly, namely, the making provision for certain officers who have accepted their offices on the equitable understanding of their permanence, and who may now be liable to removal." Nor in any other despatch is a reservation suggested on the subject of native affairs.
Plan of double government first proposed.
Governor Browne was therefore not compelled to make any exceptions, when entrusting the administration of the affairs of the Colony to his new advisers. But he did make an exception. He had time before the meeting of the Assembly to mature his opinions and obtain a personal knowledge of the circumstances of the Colony, by a tour through the provinces. Thereupon, on the 14th of February, 1856, two months before meeting the Assembly, he wrote a general report of the state of the Colony, [Parl. Papers, N. Z., July, 1860, pp. 184-7,] and explained his opinions and intended policy on several subjects. After describing the circumstances from which causes of dissatisfaction between the races might at any moment arise, [sn. 30-35,] and which would require, as he said, the utmost circumspection and the most careful management, His
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Excellency added, (Sn.37,) "I shall view with apprehension and object to any attempt to alter the provisions of the 73rd Clause of the Constitution Act, or to bring the powers therein entrusted to the Governor, in any way under the control of the Assembly."
No reply from Colonial Office.
To this first indication of Governor Browne's policy it is remarkable that the Secretary of State, in a seemingly careful reply to the despatch, [ib. pp. 456-8] does not refer by so much as a single word. But soon Her Majesty's Government were asked to be more explicit.
Formal announcement of Governor's plan.
Governor Browne found that different opinions were entertained as to the meaning of that section of the Constitution Act which reserved to Her Majesty certain exclusive powers in native affairs. As he deemed the subject "of great importance, and one which must affect the relations between the Governor and his responsible advisers," he submitted it for the consideration of the Secretary of State in the following words, on the 12th March 1856, [ib. p. 193]:--
"The view I have taken of the relation which ought to exist between myself and my responsible advisers (when they take office) is, that, as these gentlemen are responsible to the Assembly, I should be guided by their advice in all matters under the control of that body, even when I differ from them in opinion. On matters affecting the Queen's prerogative and imperial interests generally, I should receive their advice; but when I differ from them in opinion, I should, if they desire it, submit their views
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for your consideration, but adhere to my own until your answer is received.
"Among imperial subjects I include all dealings with the native tribes, more especially in the negotiation of purchases of land. My responsible advisers would probably fix the amount to be expended in any one year in the purchase of land; but at that point their interference should cease.
"The Governor alone is responsible to Her Majesty's Government for the tranquillity of the colony, which would be endangered even by the ordinary and inevitable change of opinion consequent on a change of my advisers. It is also necessary to observe, that though I might be judiciously advised by gentlemen who have lived among the natives, and had experience of their habits and feelings, I should also be liable to advice from gentlemen of great influence who have never resided among them, and from others whose known opinions would, if acted on, plunge the country into war or inextricable difficulties.
"If my views are correct, it is evident that the Chief Land Commissioner and his subordinates must take their orders from me alone. My late Despatches will have satisfied you that in all dealings with the natives the utmost caution and the most careful management are necessary; and if the power of interference with them is confided to gentlemen liable to the pressure of public opinion, and whose tenure of office is dependent on the confidence of a public assembly, it will be impossible to foresee the result."
Statement of plan to Assembly.
On the meeting of the General Assembly in the following month (April, 1856), the Governor addressed himself at once to the organisation of an Executive Council, composed of gentlemen respon-
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sible to the Legislature. At once he placed in their hands the following minute, [ib. p. 209], which is identical in terms with the despatch last quoted:--
April 15, 1856.
The view the Governor takes of the relation between himself and his responsible advisers is as follows:--
1st. In all matters under the control of the Assembly, the Governor should be guided by the advice of gentlemen responsible to that body, whether it is or is not in accordance with his own opinion on the subject in question.
2d. On matters affecting the Queen's prerogative and imperial interests generally, the Governor will be happy to receive their advice, but when he differs from them in opinion he will (if they desire it) submit their views to the consideration of Her Majesty's Secretary of State, adhering to his own until an answer is received.
Among imperial subjects the Governor includes all dealings with the native tribes, more especially in the negotiation of purchases of land.
He will receive and act on the advice of his responsible advisers in reference to the amount of money they may desire to have expended in any one year in the purchase of land, but beyond this he considers himself bound to act on his own responsibility.
The Governor alone is responsible to Her Majesty for the tranquillity of the Colony, which would be endangered by the ordinary and inevitable change of opinion consequent on a change in his advisers.
It follows as a necessary consequence of these views, that the Chief Land Purchase Commissioner and his subordinates must take their orders from the Governor alone.
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Before giving his assent to Acts passed by Provincial Councils and other matters of a legal nature, the Governor will require the annexed certificate from the Colonial Secretary and Attorney-General; and in approving appointments to vacant offices, he will require to be assured that the gentlemen recommended are fit and eligible for their respective situations.
(Signed) THOMAS GORE BROWNE.
(Signed) HENRY SEWELL. FREDERICK WHITAKER.
(a.) In explanation of paragraph No. 1, the Governor of course reserves to himself the same constitutional rights in relation to his ministers as are in England practically exercised by the Sovereign.
(b.) In further explanation of the same paragraph, he intends by the term "matters under the control of the Assembly," all matters whatever relating to the government of the colony not referred to in paragraph No. 2.
(c.) In explanation of paragraph No. 2, the Governor refers to Clauses 19, 20, and 21 of the Royal Instructions accompanying his Commission, which oblige him as a general rule to take advice in all matters with his Executive Council. He considers such rule as applying to the subjects referred to in paragraph No. 2, and he will not object (having the Queen's sanction to that effect) to limit the members of the Executive Council to his responsible ministers.
(d.) In explanation of the 4th paragraph, the Governor would observe, that he feels no objection to the House of Representatives defining the specific lands to be purchased, it being, however, understood, that it is not to be com-
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pulsory on the Governor to make purchases, if in his opinion political reasons render it inexpedient to do so."
Assent of colonists to plan.
The terms of this minute were assented to by the Assembly. The condition required by the Secretary of State was satisfied by the passing of an Act pensioning the Crown Officials; and the Governor's conditions were accepted by both Houses and by the Ministry, though not willingly or hopefully.
Approval of Colonial Office.
I call attention to the reason given by Governor Browne (in par. 3 of his despatch above quoted) for reserving the control of native matters. This reason is reproduced, as the chief among several, by Mr. Secretary Labouchere, in reply [ib.. p. 40l]. Her Majesty's Government, when for the first and last time for some years they spoke on the subject, said as follows:--
"After the best consideration which they can give to the subject, Her Majesty's Government approve of the principles by which you propose to conduct yourself in relation to the affairs of the natives, and which they find laid down with sufficient clearness in your Minute of the 15th April last, and the Memorandum annexed. They consider that, notwithstanding all the respect due to the principle of responsible government, the management of native affairs should remain for the present mainly in the hands of a Governor responsible for it to the Crown. They are of opinion that the circumstances which justify this decision are the terms of the Constitution itself, which withhold this subject in great measure (as regards the land dealings) from the control of the Local Legislature, to which the Local Executive is responsible; the still subsisting or apprehended danger in certain parts of New
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Zealand; the necessity arising from this danger for maintaining in the Colony a large force at the expense of the mother country, a force of which the discipline, control, and application must remain in the hands of the Governor, as a servant of the Crown; the large amount of the native contributions to the local revenue (as shown by yourself), while from unavoidable circumstances they remain almost unrepresented in the Legislature; and the fact that the mass of the native population is found in one or two provinces only, while the greater part of the European community, with preponderating influence in the Legislature, has in reality no direct concern with native affairs.
"You are therefore fully authorized to act, until further instructions, on the principles there laid down, and assented to in April last by your responsible advisers. If you should at any time find it in your power to carry into effect the provision of the Constitution for setting apart native districts, it is plain that a considerable step would be made towards the solution of this difficulty. But this is not a subject on which Her Majesty's Government feel themselves justified in prescribing any course to you, as your conduct must needs depend on local circumstances."
Reasons for reserving: control of natives.
The main reason thus urged by the Governor and endorsed by the Secretary of State for reserving some of the most important functions of Government from the control of the colonists was admitted by the latter to be a sufficient reason, and because of it they submitted to the terms imposed [vide 'Minute of Ministers,' ib. p. 363]. The three parties, therefore--the Secretary of State, the Governor, and the colonists--agreed to the control of native affairs being reserved by the Imperial Government, because
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that Government held itself responsible for the provision and maintenance of a warlike force, should, as was always possible, the conduct of the natives require the exhibition of force.
I am bound to express my conviction, one in which a great number if not all of the colonists have agreed, both before and since the war, that this reservation was a most unfortunate act, highly injurious to all the three parties to it. The action of the Colonial Ministry has been all along a standing protest against its adoption and continuance. But this point must be considered separately.
As Mr. Secretary Labouchere had a short time previously (on the 28th November 1855) written a despatch [ib. p. 451] requiring the colonists to provide such additional means as might be needed for their own defence, and repeated this caution in the later despatch first quoted, it seems evident that he contemplated as possible a necessity for employing additional troops against the natives for other objects than the defence of the settlers. If he did, his foresight has been entirely justified.
Governor Browne's plan of native government was not entirely satisfactory, even at first, to the Legislature. Very quickly it was found that serious inconveniences arose from the erection of a double government in the colony, and from the ignorance in which the Ministry, who were expected to inform the Legislature, were kept of the proceedings of the Governor's advisers and servants in
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native affairs. A slight change was accordingly made. [See Letters and Memoranda, ib. pp. 360, 364]. The papers respecting native affairs were now ordered to pass through the hands of a Minister, on their way from the Native Secretary to the Governor. But this Secretary was not to be appointed or removable by, or subordinate to, the Ministry, and was to communicate personally with the Governor. Ministers, in fact, were informed of what was being done, and that was all.
At this time, also, the office of Native Secretary was combined with that of Chief Commissioner for the Purchase of Native Lands, and the two departments were more or less amalgamated. This combination was made by His Excellency, owing to the high qualities of Mr. McLean, who previously held the latter office only; but it is certain that it resulted injuriously to the cause of law and order among the Maori race, by presenting the Crown to them chiefly as a bargainer for their land.
Firmness of the Governor.
That Governor Browne took every step with deliberate reference to the rule which he had laid down, is quite evident from the facts. He had fortified himself with the opinions of a large number of clergymen and others, long resident among the Maoris, to the effect that it was not safe to trust the Government of the race to a changing and indifferent body of men. Indeed, all through the negotiations with the Legislature, as well as in the practical administration of affairs, he
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exhibited a firmness of purpose, a careful adherence to his plan, and a consistent reliance, in native affairs, on his own opinion and on that of his chosen advisers in preference to that of his responsible Ministers, which contrasts remarkably with his complete acceptance of a constitutional position in all matters relating to the colonists. That Governor Browne planned and carried out most exactly, for several years, this most difficult system of the double government, ought to be a complete refutation of the assertion which has been made, that after all, in the serious matter of going to war, he weakly departed from his principles, and yielded to the solicitations of interested colonists. He listened to the advice of his Executive Council, as he was bound to do, but never deferred to it in native matters. Here he held himself alone responsible, and never sought to throw that responsibility on any other person. He had the firmness which springs from a clear perception of duty.
It is desirable, before closing this enquiry as to the theory of native government in New Zealand, to shew that the opinions of Governor Gore Browne and the Home Government did not change during the period which followed the first few years of its practical experiment. After the session held in 1858, the last which took place before the outbreak at Taranaki, occasion arose (to be hereafter noticed) for a fresh enunciation of the principles of government. Governor Browne, in a despatch to the
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Secretary of State, dated 14th October, 1858, defines his practice as follows:--"I admit the right of the Assembly to legislate in the manner it thinks proper, reserving to myself the right of veto, as provided for by the Constitution Act. I retain to myself the executive and administrative part of native affairs, admitting my responsible advisers to full information, and granting them the right to advise me, but reserving to myself the right to act upon my own judgment, when I differ from them."-- [Parl Papers, 27 July, 1860, p. 19.] This is the announcement of the constitutional relations between the Governor and the colonists in native affairs, made by the Representative of Her Majesty's Government in the colony, after two years' experience of the actual working of those relations; and it must be carefully noted that no innovations had crept in during the period. Nor did the Imperial Government yet see reason to alter its mind. Lord Carnarvon, writing for the Secretary of State in reply to the Governor, on the 18th May, 1859, states his conviction to be, not that the colonists had not both the desire and the capacity to advance the well-being of the natives, but that--"circumstances do not yet justify the Imperial Government in abdicating the responsibilities which at present rest upon it with regard to that remarkable race."-[Ib. p. 171.] In the same despatch he proceeds:--
"If, indeed, the Imperial Government were prepared to depart from the arrangements already sanctioned, and to
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transfer the management of native affairs from the Governor, acting under instructions from this country, and through a staff of permanent officers, to an officer responsible to the colonists, and changing with the Government, it might be considered that the system of land purchase from the natives was to be decided upon by colonial and not Imperial authority. But this view of the subject I am not able to accept. Her Majesty's Government wish to give the fullest effect to the system of responsible Government, and to leave all questions of domestic and internal interest to be decided by the Colonial Government; but they cannot, either for the sake of the colonists or for that of the natives, or for Imperial interests, surrender the control over native affairs, the administration of which has been, up to the present time, considering the difficulties and intricacies of the subject, crowned with a very remarkable success, and is paving the way towards that complete civilization and consolidation of the native race with the English colonists, which Her Majesty's Government, not less than the local Government, desire to see effected. And whilst Her Majesty's Government feel themselves constrained to justify to Parliament the large expense which every year is incurred for the maintenance of a military force in New Zealand for the defence of the colony, and for the better control and regulation of the native race, they must retain in their hands the administration of those affairs which at any moment may involve the employment of those troops, and the consequences of an expensive conflict." [Ib. p. 173.]
Importance of foregoing facts.
I have dwelt at length on this period; because here are to be found the main facts which must determine; not only by whom, but how, the natives of
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New Zealand were governed for some years before the late war, and which therefore can alone fix a real responsibility, whether incurred technically or morally, for the outbreak and its consequences upon anyone.
PRACTICE OF ADMINISTRATION IN NATIVE AFFAIRS.
Examples taken from points of difference.
Having quoted the repeated enunciations by the Imperial Government itself of the doctrine of exclusive responsibility in native affairs, I proceed to illustrate by a few examples the method by which it has carried that doctrine into practice. For that purpose I shall take cases where the Governor and his responsible advisers differed in opinion: not only because they are naturally the only cases which have been worth recording in despatches, but because no number of instances of agreement of opinion between two powers can place beyond doubt which was the superior, or with which rested the responsibility of action.
The course which the administration of affairs practically took after 1856 agreed exactly with the special policy of the Governor. Action or inaction was in his hands "in all matters affecting Imperial interests, including all dealings with the native tribes, more especially in the negotiation of the purchase of lands." The system of double government early became irksome to the colonial half of the administration; yet there was no perceptible personal
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Willingness of colonists to cooperate with Governor.
irritation between the Governor and his Ministers, or the party which supported the Ministry in either branch of the Legislature. There was necessarily some antagonism, but no such conflict as to lead the Legislature into deliberate acts of obstruction to the Governor's policy, such as no doubt were at any time within their power. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence of the readiness of both Houses to lend their assistance in a liberal spirit, if not always as approving that policy which was beyond their reach, or in a way to gain his Excellency's cordial approbation.
Grants of money for native purposes.
It has sometimes been asserted that the Government of the natives was in the first instance reserved to the Crown, and the administration of it subsequently impeded, by the illiberality of the colonists in matters of supply. I will not go so far as to say that Governor Gore Browne did not encounter any difficulties in this respect, but I will proceed to shew that in the main his needs for purposes connected with the natives were fairly and even generously provided for by the colonists.
I have stated that the sum of £7000 a year had been reserved on the Civil List for native purposes, and was deducted without question from the Colonial revenues. But as early as 1855-6, I find that an additional sum of £8762. 7s 6d was expended solely for native purposes. A provision for the same purposes for 1856-7 was granted by the Assembly of £14,872 in all. In 1858, the Legislature voted
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a permanent yearly grant of £7000, to supplement the Civil List, besides removing various native charges, formerly defrayed from the latter fund, on to the list of ordinary appropriations. These grants were exclusive, of course, of such share of the general expenditure as may represent the benefit derived by the Maori population from the ordinary civil government, from roads, posts, jetties, and other public works and undertakings, provided out of common funds, of which the natives make no little use. It must be added that returns of the land purchase operations shew that of the whole outlay at this time about one-third was expended upon the staff, the members of which had become by the amalgamation of the departments, more or less, for good or evil, representatives of the Imperial Government among the Maoris.
Native contributions to revenue.
Governor Browne, in 1856, estimated the contributions of the Maori people towards the general revenues at £51,000 for the ensuing year. For the same year, when it was over, the Colonial Treasurer calculated that those contributions had amounted to a little over £17,000. [Parl. Papers, N. Z., July, 1860, p. 228, and 27th July, 1860, p.34.] These two estimates (for they partake of the same character), can as little be reconciled as other contradictory opinions upon native affairs. The grounds of each estimate are given at full length. At least the colonists did not propose to themselves any gain from the taxation of the native race. The
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Colonial Treasurer, Mr. Richmond, states as the conclusion of an elaborate calculation, from which he educes the result above mentioned:--"The practical conclusion is, that in those years in which the demand for native produce has brought the Aborigines large profits in the European markets, and in which they have consequently largely availed themselves of the advantages of a civilized state, their contributions to the revenue have constituted a fair, but not it would seem more than a fair equivalent; whilst in years of slack demand, those contributions do not probably exceed the sum returned to them in direct and exclusive governmental benefits." [Parl. Papers, 27 July, 1800, p. 35.]
Legislation for native purposes.
The important session of 1858 is the only one by which the policy of the colonists towards the Aborigines may fairly be judged; for it was the first session after the establishment of a responsible Government, and it was the last that was free from the excitement of civil war. The "native" legislation of 1858 consisted of five acts--for the constitution and regulation of "native districts"--for the administration of justice in those districts--for the support and management of native schools--for the colonization of mixed settlements--and for the recognition of aboriginal title to land in such a manner as to give to individual natives, under conditions, the rights incident to landed property. To all of these but the last the Governor was a consenting party. Rut the "Native Territorial
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Difference of opinion.
Rights Bill," as the last was termed, contained provisions to which he could not agree. Among other objections and the chief of all was that, not the Governor, but the "Governor in Council," was empowered to act. The Council consisted of the colonial responsible advisers. It is surely most important to notice that this attempt by the colonists to obtain power in the administration of native affairs was promptly resisted by the Governor, as contrary to the principles which had been accepted on both sides. Because also the effect of the bill would be to do away with the pre-emption of the Crown over native lands, and to introduce a system of direct purchase by individuals, it was deemed in the highest degree dangerous to the peace of the country. For other reasons the measure was considered unjust to the Maori. The Governor was not called upon to exercise his right of veto, a provision within the bill itself reserving it for Her Majesty's assent. But a similarly independent course was taken; His Excellency forwarded the bill, and begged the Secretary of State to advise the Queen to refuse her assent to it, which was done. [See Despatches from the Colony, Nos. 1-6, with enclosures; and to the Colony, No. 1; in Parl. Papers, N.Z. 17 July, 1860.] The course taken by Governor Browne arose entirely from his sense of separate responsibility; it would have been impossible under any other system than that of the double Government. It proves both that: the Imperial Representative car-
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ried out the doctrine of exclusive responsibility into practice, and that when any act of the colonists seemed to infringe upon that doctrine he was able to defeat the attempt.
Question not of merit.
The temptation to enter into the merits of the questions at issue in the "Territorial Rights Bill" must be resisted. It is enough for my present purpose to show that a constitutional conflict arose, and that the Imperial Government defeated the colonists. I think further that a perusal of the Blue Book will show that the contest was one of argument only, temperate and fair; and that the colonists attempted to bring no undue pressure to bear upon the Governor.
The King Movement.
Another important example of the same kind is on record, I regret that the Parliamentary Papers which I have been able to consult do not furnish me with all the documents, and that I must therefore refer to the printed papers of the Colonial Assembly, which are not so accessible in this county. But the facts which I wish to recall are too well known to require specific proof. I refer to the policy with which the 'King' movement among the Waikato tribes was treated in its earlier development. [See Report of 'Waikato Committee'--Appendix to Journals, House of Representatives, N.Z., 1860; pp.111 to 129.] This movement was regarded by the Colonial Ministry of the time as indicating a desire for law and order; that is for a stronger government than then ruled those tribes. The Governor's special
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Responsible and irresponsible advice.
advisers in native affairs, on the other hand, considered the movement to be merely one of trifling local and evanescent consequence, originating in the ambition and restlessness of the young men who desired to rival the older chiefs. At a later date, the movement either assumed or was recognised for the first time as possessing the character of a wide spread organisation for procuring the absolute independence of the Maori race. But in 1858, though there had been already much reason for studying the symptoms of the movement, politicians had not advanced beyond the first two opinions, between which they were divided--the representatives of the colony on one side, those of the Imperial Government on the other. The Resident Magistrate at the head-quarters of the movement, Mr. Fenton, held the first opinion, and was energetic in his attempts to guide what he thought a movement in favour of law and order to a safe and legitimate result, by bringing English Government within reach of the natives in a shape adapted to their customs. In these efforts he was supported by the Ministry, who tendered their advice to his Excellency accordingly. The Governor, however, true to his rule, did not suffer himself to be guided by this advice, even though he might at first approve of it. He sought counsel from the heads of the native department, whom he was justified in assuming to have a more exact knowledge of the history, and a more intimate understanding of the designs of the Maori
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people. He acted upon the opinion entertained by these gentlemen, that Mr. Fenton's policy was alienating the old chiefs, in whom confidence ought to be placed; that to treat the movement as important was to make it so; and that to neglect it was the only safe treatment. Mr. Fenton was therefore recalled from the Waikato: the work that he had begun was undone, and the King Movement was left to itself. It is of no importance for the present argument, whether the colonial policy were right or wrong; possibly neither may have been the right one. But every one must confess that no more important question than this could have been presented for solution to those holding the reins of government, even though peace had never afterwards been broken; and that the positive rejection of the advice tendered on the part of the colony on this occasion, and the deliberate undoing of the work of which the Ministry approved, remove from the latter any sort of responsibility for whatever consequences may be traceable to the progress of the King Movement.
Conclusion to be drawn.
It must now be conceded that both in the theory of native government and in the administration of its functions, as well legislative as executive, the Imperial Government has rigidly reserved from the Colony, and to itself, all real power.
Governor's attitude towards his advisers.
It must be admitted also that Governor Browne, during the period preceding the first indications of a Maori outbreak, shewed no want of firmness in his purpose, suffered no departure from established rule,
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and exhibited no symptoms of weakness before an antagonistic legislature. On the other hand he was on excellent terms with his colonial advisers. And he observed what he took to be the spirit and letter of the Constitution as completely to permit the self-government of the colonists in their own affairs as he did to prevent their interference in matters relating to the native population. Where, in the latter case, he and his advisers differed, as their advice was not put to the test of practice, it is impossible to say that they were more often right than he. And it is as little likely that he was ever induced by jealousy of them to take an opposite view as that he submitted to their view through carelessness. I assert this, not that any words of mine can raise or lower Colonel Gore Browne's character, but because a true view of his relations with his advisers and the colonists is necessary to a proper understanding of the question at issue.
MORAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WAR.
Colonists will not evade responsibility.
It is no doubt sufficient for the purpose of fixing on the Imperial Government complete technical responsibility for the late Maori outbreak and its consequences, to have shewn the complete exclusion of the colonists from control over matters affecting the native race; an exclusion not more perfect while New Zealand was a Crown colony than after the rights of self-government were conferred upon its white inhabitants. But the settlers of New Zealand
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How responsibility might be divided.
are not so changed by a few years' absence from the mother country as to evade any responsibility that may be morally theirs because they can prove it to be technically another's. They hold fast by the doctrine that a Government is bound to maintain order among and to protect those whom it governs, and to provide any force that may be required for these purposes. Yet they will not shelter themselves under that doctrine if they have themselves caused or contributed to a breach of the peace which requires force to repress it; or if they have been the means of inducing the governing power to take steps which have brought about a mischievous result; or even if without their consent or interference any act involving the employment of force has been done either solely or chiefly for their benefit. If the colonists have been partly a cause of the disturbances in New Zealand, it is certain that they are proportionately responsible for the consequences; but the burden of proof that this was so lies now with the other side. The common notion that the colonists are answerable because the affair happened in the colony cannot be sustained. If the New Zealand war has been the result of bad government of the natives, it is only one of many excuses for those whose duty it was to govern well to say that the colonists by their acts made government difficult. If it be argued that the Government was overborne by a pressure from without, and so urged into a mistaken policy, that at most is but an
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attempt to divide the responsibility. If, again, an injudicious anxiety on the part of the Government to benefit the colonists be put forward as a main cause of the war, the suggestion only imputes blame to those who so little understood what was the best way of performing their peculiar duty. Now the charge against the colonists of complicity in the war takes one or other of these three forms, or is compounded of them in various proportions. Yet it can be shewn that neither as a body nor through their representatives have the colonists taken such a part in bringing about the native disturbances as can cast upon them a real responsibility for the consequences. To shew this it is not necessary to go into any minute detail or to examine any doubtful evidence on the subject. The case of the colonists in this respect, as in the former, rests on broad facts and obvious inferences.
State of natives in 1853.
In the year 1853 the Maori tribes were perfectly peaceful throughout the colony. In 1860 the war began. All the progressive symptoms of disaffection as well as its more immediate causes are to be sought for during the intervening period. At the end of the former year, Governor Sir George Grey left the colony. His policy towards the natives may be called distinctively one of conciliation, but was not unaccompanied by the operations of active government. Resident magistrates were administering justice in native districts. Arms and warlike stores were denied to the aborigines. Land purchase
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operations were conducted with great caution. Maori land was offered to Government more freely than funds could be provided for the purchase. And the tribes were in a singular state of peace among themselves. [See Parl. Papers, N. Z., July 1860, p. 28.]
Carelessness of Government.
At this time, as before stated, the Colonial Office left New Zealand without a Governor for eighteen months; and then Governor Gore Browne was appointed. Throughout the seven years which ended with the war, the Papers laid before Parliament shew that no advice as to dealings with the natives was offered by Her Majesty's Government. There are certain formal despatches expressing a simple approval of the Governor's acts and views as detailed by himself. And there are parts of two despatches, already quoted, commanding him to reserve all control over native affairs to the Crown. But the Colonial Office took no part of this control on itself, and left the government of the natives, which it deemed so delicate and important a duty, to the unassisted discretion of its representative in the colony. The task was thrown upon the Governor, but surely all responsibility was not so got rid of.
A new Policy.
Before Governor Browne's time, serious difficulties had already arisen. Governor Grey's processes of conciliation and government had been discontinued together. Hostilities had sprung up between two parties of natives near Taranaki, and they had been dealt with after a new policy which may
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be distinctively called one of non-interference. One example among many may be quoted. Katatore quarrelled with Rawiri, killed him, and was left to the vengeance of the murdered man's friends. (See below, p. 39). The two men were intimate with the Europeans, and justice might easily have been done. But it had come to be deemed no part of the duty of the Government to do justice between native and native. For the origin of this policy see Acting-Governor Wynyard's despatches, 2nd November, 1854, and 5th February, 1855. [Papers, March, 1860, pp. 58, 71]. This policy, and the departmental staff which transacted native affairs, were Governor Browne's inheritance. The amalgamation of the native governing department with that of land purchase, which took place in 1856, has been already mentioned. Government was less efficiently conducted and land purchases were less satisfactorily effected after this step. Promises of hospitals, schools, further payments out of the proceeds of land sales, and other advantages, which had been made to natives when they ceded their land, were forgotten or disregarded. At the same time the restrictions on the disposal of arms and ammunition were relaxed. The natives became almost absolved from control. Dislike to a Government which appeared to them a mere bargainer for their property, joined to a deep-rooted jealousy of European advancement into their territory, roused many to oppose any further cession of
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lands. At the same time the want of any governing and restraining power from without moved many thoughtful men among them to attempt the constitution of some authority over themselves from within. The two objects harmonized, and were allied to a thoroughly natural desire for the independence of the race. Though many who aimed at more practical objects were far from desiring to overthrow the Queen's nominal sovereignty within their borders, many others of the ambitious and reckless classes urged on the agitation towards this end. The Land League first, and then the 'King' movement, were the result. This was the movement the treatment of which by the Government has been already described. It was left alone, in the hope that it would die out, but it spread and grew and soon bore plentiful fruit.
Irritation of natives not against settlers.
It was at this time, if at all, that the settlers could be charged with stirring up discontent among the natives, making Government difficult, and so contributing to the coming outbreak. But it is remarkable that no feeling of hostility was ever manifested by the natives towards the colonists. The two races continued on the most friendly terms privately, and even in spite of exceptional though frequent annoyances from individual Maoris, which the law was unable to punish, the settlers in outlying districts remained guiltless of any misconduct. It cannot be maintained, therefore, for an instant, that the settlers irritated the natives and provoked them to a breach of the peace. But if it be said that Go-
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vernment was rendered difficult by false reports, inconsiderate suggestions, and comments injurious to the authorities circulating through the press, these cannot be altogether denied, though their influence may be doubted. The difficulty is one which constantly besets a free Government, and is the price which it pays for at least an equivalent support and sympathy from its more thoughtful subjects.
Agitation against Government.
It must be remembered that the agitation called the King movement was attended by no violence, by no exhibition of forcible resistance to constituted authority, nor even by the display of any such intention. It was confined to the strong tribes in the Waikato district, in the interior of the island. The natives in other districts were either still submissive to the Government, or were influenced similarly with the Waikato tribes without their organization. The latter state of feeling prevailed in the province of Taranaki, where for several years the peace of the country had been broken by feuds between a minority of natives desirous of selling, and a majority whose object was to prevent sales of land to the Government.
Early in the year 1859 Governor Browne visited Taranaki. What happened there is described in a Parliamentary Blue Book entitled "Papers relating to the recent Disturbances in New Zealand," presented by command, March, 1861, from which I shall quote.
The Governor, finding the settlers at Taranaki
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Taranaki--Governor and settlers.
very desirous for more land, assured them of his earnest desire to meet their views, when he could extinguish the native title to land satisfactorily, and without compromising the neutrality which he had determined to observe in all native quarrels, [p. 1.] No language could be calmer on one side or more cautious on the other than that which is recorded as having passed between them. There is no evidence that the settlers were as yet unduly urgent upon the Governor, or that he gave way in any degree to solicitations from without.
Governor and natives.
The Governor after meeting the settlers had an interview with the natives; and here we approach the immediate origin of the war. It is necessary to observe carefully what the opinions and intentions recorded at the time were, for subsequent explanations of motives may be thought open to suspicion as influenced by the event.
The Governor says in his despatch of March 29, 1859, (pp. 1,2) as follows:--
"After this a chief, named Teira, offered some land for sale, which he and his relatives desired to dispose of to the Government, and which, as being situated at the mouth of the Waitara river, on the south bank, will be a valuable acquisition to the province. He pressed for an immediate answer, and I replied that if he could give a satisfactory title I would accept his offer. Another chief rose to object, but when asked if he had any claim to the land, admitted that he had not. William King then rose, and while asserting no claim to it, said he would never permit that land to be sold; then, waving his hand to his people,
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he and they left the meeting with some want of courtesy to myself.
"Since then progress has been made in ascertaining Teira's right to dispose of the land (of which there seems to be little doubt), and, if proved, the purchase will be completed. Should this be the case it will probably lead to the acquisition of all the land south of the Waitara river, which is essentially necessary for the consolidation of the province, as well as for the use of the settlers.
"It is also most important to vindicate our right to purchase from those who have both the right and the desire to sell.
"The right to sell land belonging to themselves without interference on the part of other chiefs (not having a claim to share in it) is fully admitted by Maori custom; any recognition of such a power as that assumed by William King would therefore be unjust to both races, because it would be the means of keeping millions of acres waste and out of cultivation. I have, however, little fear that William King will venture to resort to violence to maintain his assumed right; but I have made every preparation to enforce obedience should he presume to do so. Copies of the instructions I have given to both the civil and military authorities are herewith enclosed.
"I found the settlers extremely anxious that favour should be shown to Ihaiah, the chief with whom William King is at feud, and who has always been a firm friend to the English. His quarrel with King is chiefly because the latter has some claim on the land which he desires to sell, and which King will neither yield nor sell.
"I have, however, declared my firm determination to remain entirely neutral in this and all other Native feuds, and to purchase no land without the consent of all who have a claim on it."
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And that portion of his address to the natives (enclosed in the despatch) which bears on the subject was as follows:--
"The Governor then said, he had but two subjects on which he desired to speak particularly to the tribes living near Taranaki, and they were,--First, in reference to criminal offences; second, in reference to land. He wished these subjects to be considered separately, and as having no sort of reference to each other. He observed that the tribes in the vicinity of Taranaki have greater advantages than most others, as they are much intermixed with the Pakeha, and ought to profit by their intercourse with them. If they chose to live peaceably and cultivate their lands they would grow rich and multiply, instead of which they were constantly at war with each other, and their numbers were decreasing. Their disputes were almost always about matters of little or no importance, or about land which was not worth quarrelling for. The Governor then said that had he been in New Zealand when Katatore slew Rawiri, he would have had him arrested and brought before the Judge, and, if the Judge had sentenced him to be hanged, he would have caused him to be hanged; that he had not thought proper to arrest Ihaiah, because though the murders to which he was a party were horrible and disgraceful, yet they admitted of some extenuation, inasmuch as they were committed in retribution for the murder of Rawiri. All this, however, now belongs to the past; but, for the future, he had determined that every man (whether he be Maori or Pakeha) who may commit any violence or outrage within the European boundaries shall be arrested and taken before the Judge, and the sentence of the Judge, whatever it may be, shall be carried into effect. He was determined that the peace of the settlers should no longer
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be disturbed by evil-doers, and that those Maoris who are not content to live in peace among the Pakehas had better go elsewhere. In reference to the second subject, the Governor said he thought the Maoris would be wise to sell the land they cannot use themselves, as it would make what they could use more valuable than the whole; but that he never would consent to buy land without an undisputed title. He would not permit any one to interfere in the sale of land unless he owned part of it; and, on the other hand, he would buy no man's land without his consent." [pp. 3, 4.]
Governor Browne evidently had the circumstances of the then late native feud in that district strongly impressed on his mind at the time of this address. These circumstances are sufficiently remarkable to be briefly mentioned; the more so, that they illustrate the case that was just about to arise.
Lesson taught by previous case.
In the time of Acting-Governor Wynyard, a piece of land at Taranaki had been offered to the Land Purchase Department by a native named Rawiri and his friends. Preliminaries being arranged, and it being known that another party of natives would oppose the sale, the Government officer did not undertake the survey, but sent the sellers themselves to lay out the block. When the survey party went about their work, the opposing natives, headed by their chief Katatore, fired upon them and killed Rawiri. The Government refused to interfere. A bitter feud sprang up between the two parties, lasting several years; during which, among other atrocities, Ihaia, the friend of the deceased Rawiri,
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plotted and effected the death of the murderer Katatore. [Parl. Papers, July, 1860, pp. 41,72, et seq.]
The Governor as we have seen expressed his views upon Teira's offer at once. He placed first on record an opinion on the point whether the land was worth purchasing at a price for general purposes: secondly, a desire that as much land as possible should be removed from being the subject of native quarrels: and thirdly, a determination that, if Teira should prove the real owner, no self-constituted authority should interfere to rob him of his right to sell and receive the value. Therefore the investigation was ordered to proceed.
Investigation of land title.
With the nature of the investigation and the decision arrived at I have no concern, further than that the colonists, from the Ministry downwards, had nothing to say to it; they could not control the officers of the department nor interfere in any way with their work. The decision was to be arrived at on the responsibility of the Imperial Government alone, and therefore the enquiry was left in the hands of its own officers. The investigation was completed by January 1860, and resulted in favour of Teira's claim.
Approval of Home Government--silence of settlers.
By this time the intentions of the Governor had been submitted to and approved of by the Secretary of State (p. 259). The settlers had made no demonstration whatever. If they wanted the land they had at least self-control enough to leave the Governor and the department to the execu-
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tion of their duties. If it be asserted that any pressure was brought by the settlers to have the title to the land at the Waitara declared good for purchasing, the assertion is not true.
Preparation for force; and reasons.
The Governor then, satisfied of Teira's right, paid part of the purchase money and ordered a survey (p. 5). Even at that time he so far expected opposition as to prepare for the display of force. It is most important to note that in this very first mention of force the Governor gives his reason for proposing to employ it. He says--"Though always ready to consider every reasonable objection, I am not the less determined to enforce Her Majesty's right to deal with her own subjects without hindrance from any one not having a legitimate interest in the transaction." The desirability of obtaining a good bit of land, which was a good reason amongst others for entering upon the negotiation, was no reason, actual or professed, for the employment of force. Governor Browne henceforth stated his motive to be the assertion of Her Majesty's authority. The bit of land might be the occasion but it was not to be the cause of war.
Approval of Colonial Ministry.
Having satisfied himself of the correctness of Teira's title to the land, and believing that the right to sell would be opposed by the chief, Wiremu Kingi, Governor Browne consulted the Executive Council, which included the members of the Colonial Ministry. The minutes of the meeting are on record (p. 6,) and shew that the views of the
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Governor were fully concurred in by the Council. The determination was taken to survey the land; to support the survey by a military force if necessary; to hold the land in the same way; and in the event of serious opposition to call out the militia and volunteers, and to proclaim martial law in the district.
Their reasons for supporting the war.
It is not necessary to explain the concurrence of the Ministry in this determination. The facts speak for themselves. The Governor had in his own person, a year previously, taken the first steps in the matter, foreseeing the issue which had now come about. He now took the opinion of his Council, as he was bound to do, and it agreed with his own. There is no doubt about what his own opinion had been all along; and there is as little doubt that had his own opinion been otherwise, and had his Council recommended this course, e mero motu, he would have been as little induced to give way to them as he had been on all former occasions. This was one of many instances, no doubt, of unanimity in opinion. In the present instance it was clearly arrived at by the acquiescence of the Ministry and not by any yielding of the Governor. Whether the determination thus taken was the wisest possible, or an error of judgment on both sides, does not alter their relative positions in any degree. There is no evidence that the Colonial ministry did more than adopt the Governor's plan. They cordially supported his Excellency in asserting the Queen's authority; hoping that the question of sovereignty might be deter-
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Statement by Colonial Treasurer.
mined once for all, and order restored and maintained to the ultimate advantage of both races. That I am not imagining motives for the Ministry is shewn by the following passages from Mr. C. W. Richmond's minute of May 25, 1860, the whole of which is worth reading:--
"The insinuation that the war is one of aggrandisement, that it is undertaken for the sake of acquiring territory, is quite untrue. The proceedings which have led to it were under the immediate superintendence and control of the Governor. His Excellency will confirm the statement that those proceedings were not, at any stage, urged upon him, or so much as suggested to him, by his responsible Ministers. Nor was there, previously to the commencement of the war, any manifestation of public feeling on the subject of the dispute between the Governor and Wm. King. It would be absurd to suppose that his Excellency could be actuated by the motive imputed. And it must appear almost equally improbable, to any person who calmly reflects on the matter, that the colonists, or their representatives, should willingly incur the risks and submit to the sacrifices of a Maori war for the sake of a few hundreds of acres in the least important province of New Zealand. Other motives must be sought for to explain the general support which his Excellency has received in the colony upon the present occasion." * * * *
"On behalf of their fellow settlers, his Excellency's Ministers would represent to Her Majesty's Imperial Government, that the grand desire of the British colonists in respect to the natives is, not the appropriation of the native territory, still less the destruction of the race, but it is to see the Maori people rendered amenable, in their dealings with the settlers, to British law. The restless instinct of
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progress, the love of wealth, the hatred of race, are all no doubt motives at work in the country, and against the indulgence or the excess of these strong passions the Government is bound to be upon its guard. But stronger, and more universal, and more inevitable than all these feelings, is the desire which animates the public mind, that all the inhabitants of New Zealand should be subjected, in their mutual dealings, to the control of one equal law. This is a natural and praiseworthy desire, and, if duly regulated, must be conducive to the good as much of the natives as of the colonists." * * * *
"It is because the decisive action of his Excellency the Governor appears to the colonists adapted ultimately to secure this great and happy result, that they are not merely reconciled to the heavy present sacrifices it entails upon them, but prepared to give the Imperial Government their most active support in suppressing the existing rebellion. His Excellency's responsible Ministers concur in this general opinion and determination, and now express their expectation that his Excellency's policy, though beset with unavoidable and accumulated difficulty, will be recognized and supported as neither unwise nor unjust, nor likely to prove disastrous to either race, but that it will be seen to have been, on the contrary, dictated by a due regard to the welfare of New Zealand and the dignity of the Crown, and of necessity to have been in strict accordance with those just principles which have hitherto regulated the conduct of the British Government in these islands." [pp. 52,53.]
Beginning and progress of war.
The rest of the story may be briefly told. On the 20th of February, 1860, the survey of Teira's land was attempted by a small unarmed party, under the orders of the District Land Purchase Commissioner, but was put a stop to by a crowd of Kingi's
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people. The Governor himself came to Taranaki in consequence. He warned Kingi and all the natives not to attempt to oppose his orders. He finally determined to carry the survey by a military force, and on the 5th of March troops were moved down to the spot from the town of New Plymouth. The next day a small pa (fortification of palisades) was erected by the opposing natives, and some carts carrying supplies were stopped by them on the road. But on summons the pa was evacuated, and the carts were allowed to pass. The survey was completed, and the boundaries marked out. On the night of the 15th of March, another pa was erected by the insurgents on the purchased land, and the survey sticks pulled up and burnt. On the 17th a summons was sent to the occupants of the new pa, but it was not listened to. Fire was accordingly opened by the troops, and on the 18th the pa was evacuated by the insurgents (pp. 21, 22). This was the actual beginning of the war. Kingi obtained reinforcements, and so did the troops; the fighting went on with little advantage, if any, on the side of the military. Further reinforcements quickly came over from Australia, and Kingi sought and obtained the help of the powerful Waikato tribes, by joining the King movement and handing over the land in dispute to be dealt with by the Maori Confederation. The war now became a national contest, and soon there was scarcely a district in the island where the natives could be relied upon as certain to remain friendly. The consequences exist to this day.
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Home Government approve of the war.
The proceedings of Governor Browne in going to war and in prosecuting it were approved of by the Secretary of State. [See Despatches, 23 May, 26 June, 26 Sept, and 27 Nov., 1860, amongst others.] The policy of the war and the conduct of the Governor have never been objected to: but the expense was condemned as soon as it was felt.
Conclusions to be drawn.
Summing up the results obtained, I assert:--
First, that the colonists are not technically responsible for the war and its consequences.
1. Because the Imperial Government reserved to itself the management of native affairs.
2. Because the Governor strictly carried into practice the exclusion of the Colonists from the control of the native race.
3. Because the war was commenced by the Governor in person on behalf of the Imperial Government: and the only share in it taken by the Colonial Government was one of loyal and subsequent co-operation.
Secondly, That the Colonists are not morally responsible for the war and its consequences.
1. Because their plans for the better government of the natives were rejected.
2. Because they in no way provoked the war, or induced a breach of the peace leading to it.
3. Because they brought no pressure to bear upon the Governor in the matter.
4. Because the war was not begun for their sole or special benefit.
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THE MINOR CHARGES AGAINST THE COLONISTS.
Having now refuted at length the fundamental charge brought against the Colonists of New Zealand of having brought about the war, the subsidiary accusations against them may be more easily disposed of.
Defence of the colony.
As the war was not begun for the special benefit of the Colonists still less was it meant for their defence. In fact there was no danger to defend them against: there was no such prospect of invasion as is commonly supposed to attend settlers on the frontiers of savage tribes. What the settlers did feel was the want of power in the law to punish individual native offenders who acted from time to time as evil disposed persons among even civilized nations will act where the law cannot reach them. A policeman and a magistrate were all the force wanted to repress the sort of crime that was committed in the place.
How the Taranaki settlers fought.
The Government nevertheless would have been blamable had they counted upon this good disposition of the natives as sufficient protection for the country. A small force had been maintained accordingly at Taranaki and at each of the chief settlements in the North Island; but it was never made use of. And even before Taranaki was furnished with a regular force, the settlers were required to organize themselves as volunteers and were rendered liable to be called out as militia. When the war began, the volunteers and militia
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Evidence of Capt. Cracroft, R. N.
of Taranaki were at once called out for active service. Some who have spoken of the colonists with a sneer may perhaps be surprised into a compliment when they learn that these settlers--the whole active male population of the province--flew to arms at the call, and fought side by side with the Queen's troops, not for the defence of their property or their families, but for the support of Her Majesty's authority. Compelled to abandon their homes in the country, to send their women and children away to another province, to serve in the field and in garrison along with but as subservient to the troops of the line, they behaved gallantly throughout, endured danger and hardship willingly, even after their whole property had been sacrificed, and spilled their blood freely with no prospect of better reward than to be turned adrift paupers into the wilderness when the war should end. I cannot resist the temptation to quote here the words of an independent eye-witness, Captain Cracroft, R. N., who, being in command of Her Majesty's ship "Niger" throughout the war, distinguished himself by leading the attack on the Waireka pa, one of the few successes of the British arms during the campaign. In an address to a body of English volunteers, after his return from the Colony, the newspapers report that--
"Captain Cracroft, R. N., said he could not express to them the pleasure he felt in meeting the Volunteers of England, and this was the first time he had had that honour. He
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had met Volunteers elsewhere, for wherever the English flag was planted there the noble spirit that had actuated the Volunteers of England was found to exist. There was now no colony which owned England for its parent without its Volunteers. It had been his privilege to see them brought into action on a late occasion in New Zealand, and when he said they were the first in the field, and the first to face the enemy, and had shown the way to the Regulars and the Militia, he felt he need say no more--that he could award them no higher praise. When called upon they were in their places, as those before him would be, should their hour of trial ever arrive. He (Captain Cracroft) had been brought side by side with the Volunteers in New Zealand, and had found as much honour and bravery among them as among his own men, who regarded them as brothers, and would have done anything for them."
Consequences to the settlers.
It is absolutely true not only that the New Zealand war was not for the defence or the special benefit of the settlers, but that it converted the settlement where it was carried on into a battle-field held by the enemy; and brought upon the the colonists, who for twenty years had been struggling to build up their fortunes there, the total destruction of their hard-earned property. Whatever annoyance might have been anticipated from the lawless character of individual natives, it is certain that nothing short of the declaration of war could have brought such a catastrophe as this upon the settlement. Nor can it be urged that the colonists of Taranaki entered upon the war without foreseeing its consequences. Before its declaration, but expecting it, they had already
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removed their families from the country to the town; and when they applauded and supported with all their vigour Governor Browne's attempt to maintain the Queen's sovereignty, they had already made up their minds to the coming sacrifice. [Parl. Papers, March, 1861, pp. 8-10.] Three weeks before the first shot was fired the settlers had left their homes, and presented themselves for enrolment as militia and volunteers.
Defence of Auckland;
In Auckland the settlers were charged with the entire defence of the town and settlement. They mustered in great strength, and were quickly available for active service in the field. But throughout the campaign, though the war raged in a neighbouring province, and the ranks of the rebels were recruited from the borders of Auckland, the citizen forces were never called upon to strike a single blow. With remarkable forbearance, the insurgents, savages though they were, and engaged in a bloody and desperate struggle with the Government, left unhurt the persons and property even of the outlying settlers who were all the time completely at their mercy. Only in Taranaki, the authorised battle-field, where martial law (the 'law of fighting' as it was translated to them) had been proclaimed, did the natives think themselves privileged to pillage and kill.
and other Provinces.
The settlements of Napier, Wellington, and Wanganui, on the eastern and southern shores of the North Island, were similarly exposed to danger,
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similarly defended, and in the same manner left unattached. Though it would have been madness to calculate on such immunity, yet the result proves the truth of the feeling often expressed by the natives that their hostility was against the Government and not against the settlers. Even the most savage and dastardly of the tribes shewed this feeling. [See amongst other passages, Parl. Papers, March 1861, p. 14.]
Present condition of colonial forces.
As soon as the pressure of probable danger ceased, the movement for self-defence naturally lapsed into that state which it has assumed in other countries under similar conditions. Its vitality would be aroused at the first note of warning, and in real danger it would resume at least its first appearance of vigour. But a whole population in a colony, as elsewhere, cannot always remain under arms. The smallness of their numbers, and the difficulty of mustering any force of consequence at a central point, hinder their general employment as an offensive force. Readiness on the part of the New Zealand colonists to enrol and train themselves cannot be questioned. And with the case of Taranaki as evidence, their willingness and ability to fight even for other purposes than self-defence is well established. It is absurd therefore to assert that the settlers wish to shirk the duty of defending themselves.
On which side obligation lies.
So far from the settlers demanding the help of the British troops for their purposes, it is the fact that they gave their assistance to the Imperial Go-
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vernment in the furtherance of its objects. And the Government, having got their help, would not let it go. Their houses might burn, their families might starve or go into exile, all they were worth in the world might be swept away before their eyes; but they were soldiers of the Crown and might not stir. They were not permitted to take measures for defending their property: they were prevented from disposing of the produce of their lands while it was still removable; and down to the date of the latest news from the colony, they have even been forbidden to go upon their own lands, for fear of embarrassing the Imperial military policy! By which side then is a debt due to the other for assistance rendered during the war?
The use of British troops.
To the assertion that troops are now quartered in New Zealand and maintained there at the expense of the British tax-payer, for the protection of the settlers, the reply is simple. In time of peace their protection is not wanted; and in time of war the troops, judging from the past, are otherwise fully employed. A slender garrison is all that can be alleged to have ever been even intended for defensive purposes.
The war not yet ended.
It will probably be asked, why then are the troops kept there, since now the war is over? First, because the exhibition of force is needed for the restoration of government among the natives by pacific measures, of which I shall say more hereafter: secondly, because the war begun in 1860 is not yet ended. The practical result of the first cam-
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paign is that the rebels took possession of the lands of the Crown and the settlers, and still hold them. Even supposing that it is not thought convenient to punish the rebels, the Imperial Government at least knows that they cannot be permitted to maintain a claim to possession by conquest of part of her Majesty's dominions. As it has been put in the colony--if the war were for the assertion of her Majesty's sovereignty, it has weakened her authority: if it were for the acquisition of land, land has instead been surrendered. The war will not be at an end till the obvious loss sustained in both these respects shall have been retrieved. The Ngatiruanui tribe hold the district of Tataraimaka, in the province of Taranaki, by right, as they say, of conquest from the Crown, effected in 1860. It is impossible that the Imperial Government can allow this to continue until the natives die off the land. And though the Governor may devise means for recovering the territory without appealing to arms, the greater probability is that the force which must be employed in some shape for ejecting the rebel occupants will light up the flame of war afresh throughout the island. While I write, the problem is very probably in course of solution; solved it must be sooner or later; and if the result should prove to be a recourse to arms on both sides, it must not be called a fresh war, but a renewal and direct consequence of the former. These are the reasons why a force is quartered and maintained in the colony.
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Expense borne by the colony.
To the assertion that the colony desires to throw the whole burden of the war upon the mother country, I reply that New Zealand has undertaken a separate war liability of about £650,000; besides an annual payment of about £5,000 for the troops to be employed, and a further annual sum of £25,000 for pacific means of restoring order. These amounts are exclusive of appropriations for self-defence. In proportion to population (one hundred thousand to thirty millions), the corresponding charges upon Great Britain would be about two hundred millions of debt, and fifteen millions of annual grants from revenue. Reference will be made presently to the condition which the Legislature of the colony has attached to these large grants.
War no advantage to settlers.
Of the assertion that a state of war is encouraged by the colonists for the sake of the expenditure from the Imperial Treasury which accompanies it, I will not speak with the indignation it deserves. Such a calumny is easily uttered, and is generally hard of disproof. It is commonly repeated without consideration, and comes to be believed on no evidence of facts, but merely because it is probable. Whoever utters such a charge against the people of New Zealand shews not only a want of charity towards the absent but an ignorance of plain facts. The war, I have shewn, was most warmly supported by those who had everything to lose by it, and who undertook to lose all, even to life itself. It was also strongly approved of, from its commencement
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to the present time, by the great majority of the settlers in the Middle Island, who had nothing to gain by land purchases, and derived as little benefit from commissariat expenditure in the north as if they had been in Australia. The settlers of Auckland, Wellington, and Napier, to whom alone it could be imputed that they profited by a war which did not touch themselves, furnished the whole strength of what was called the "peace party," which vehemently opposed Governor Browne's fighting policy. In the foremost ranks of this party were the leading members of the commercial class. Those, therefore, against whom a prima facie charge might perhaps he said to lie are an insignificant minority.
Opinions of colonists.
In the addresses to the Governor from the people of the Northern Island, [pp. 53-57], it is observable that a state of war is declared to be extremely prejudicial to the material interests of the colony. This feeling has, so far as I can judge, strengthened with the progress of the war. A true explanation of the views of the colonists is to be found, not in the suggestion contained in the charge now made against them, but more probably in one exactly its opposite.
Meaning of colonial support of war.
The British public may therefore be quite satisfied that little wars will not be excited by their fellow subjects in New Zealand, for any gain to accrue to them from fighting. If the colonists are found again supporting the prosecution of a war within their borders, it will he because they feel as Eng-
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lishmen, that a timely exhibition of strength is sometimes necessary for upholding the right and punishing the wrong.
IMPERIAL POLICY TOWARDS THE COLONY.
Object of Maori protection.
It may be said, if the war was not for the benefit of the colonists, it was certainly not for that of the English people, and the taxpayers of the three kingdoms should therefore not be more heavily taxed to carry it on. This is a very natural observation to make, but the time to make it has gone by for the present.
The philosophy of English statesmen and the philanthropy of the people were early enlisted on behalf of the Maori race. England had become ashamed of those pages in her history which describe the destruction of the aborigines in those countries where her earlier colonies have been planted; and she determined to save the Maori race from a similar fate. The Maori was a fit subject for the attempt. Missionaries had been very successful in Christianizing the race, and a readiness to adopt the habits of civilization had long been perceived among them. The work of preserving and elevating a savage race demanded the resources of a powerful nation and the careful observance of a plan. Haphazard intercourse with white men would spoil the race rather than improve it. A small body of colonists might succeed in gradually killing off the aborigines, as had often been done before, but not in administering a
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Willingness of colonists to work out policy.
Offer to transfer powers.
strong government among them. Such was the accepted doctrine at the foundation of New Zealand as a colony. Influenced by these views, the British nation, through its government, deliberately accepted the protectorship of the Maori people, confirmed them by treaty in the enjoyment of their existing rights, and undertook so to govern the colony that the two races should grow up together for the benefit of each other. This noble policy has always enlisted the intelligent approval of the colonists, though at times the wisdom of the methods adopted for carrying the intention into effect has been doubted by them. They would have been willing at one time to take upon themselves, without any hesitation, the duty of governing the native tribes, in the hope of carrying out the same policy with closer attention and greater success. Though they never in terms offered to do so, the Imperial Government having always treated the surrender of its protectorate as an impossibility, yet the impatience of the settlers under the system of double government which has been described would doubtless have led them to accept the duty, had it been tendered to them while its performance seemed within their power. But the protectorate was jealously maintained, and no offer to abandon it was even hinted till last year, two years after the outbreak of war. The transfer of power was then tendered in a despatch from the Secretary of State, dated May 26, 1862, [Parl. Papers, N. Z., August, 1862,
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p. 79,] in a way which was not deemed satisfactory by the colony. The Duke of Newcastle said to the Governor in this despatch (p. 80), "I am ready to sanction the important step you have taken in placing the management of the natives under the control of the Assembly." He did so, both because he thought the Governor's views correct; and because "the endeavour to keep the management of the natives under the control of the Home Government has failed."
Misapprehension by colonial office.
If the Secretary of State supposed; as he appears to have done; that his readiness to sanction this important step settled the matter he was mistaken. It is clear that such a step; intended as it was to shift the responsibility of native government from the Home Government to the Colonial Assembly; required the acquiescence of the latter body to render it complete. It is not possible; even in the small matters of private life, for one man to ease himself of a duty by transferring it to another without the latter's consent. No doubt his Grace misapprehended the meaning of the Governor's despatch to which he was replying [ib. p. 27]; and finding that the separate native Department in the colony had been done away with; and the agency of the Colonial Ministry employed in its place; assumed that the colony had already acquiesced in an entire change of plan. But this was not the case. The Crown was of course at liberty to perform its own work through and by whom it might choose; but
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Complete change of plan not possible.
all its servants are not necessarily 'Responsible Ministers.' Sir George Grey found it better to transact native affairs through the ordinary heads of departments than through a separate staff. He did this because he agreed with his colonial advisers, who, acting upon a resolution of the Legislature, pointed out the difficulties of a double government in the colony [ib. p, 3.] But it did not follow that the two sets of affairs were to be conducted on the same terms. It would have been idle, indeed, to think of such a thing. To have brought Sir George Grey from the Cape of Good Hope to an inferior Government, because he was the most able Governor of aborigines the British Empire could produce, and then to make him merely a constitutional ruler, leaving the colonial representatives to direct and be responsible for all native as they were for all colonial affairs, would have been an extravagant mockery. It is only necessary to suppose the case of a difference on an important question between the Governor and advisers having the support of a strong party in Parliament; or that of a hostile vote in the Assembly against a Ministry supported by the Governor. If the Assembly was to be responsible for the consequences, the Governor must give way. Nobody except Sir George Grey himself would have ventured to recommend a plan treating so lightly the Governor selected for a special emergency. The suggestion of a responsible government in native affairs was at the time not feasible. His
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Excellency's colonial advisers could not undertake their part in such a scheme; and even had they done so temporarily, the Assembly when it met could not and would not have sanctioned the arrangement. The plan will be possible when the Governor can consent to follow whatever policy in native affairs may be approved of by any set of advisers in whom the Legislature of the time may have confidence. This has been the bugbear in the way of Responsible Government in native affairs hitherto. It will be well for the Imperial Government to assure itself that in this way only will complete responsibility for the management of the New Zealand aborigines be fixed upon the colony.
Probable mistake of H. M. Government.
The Secretary of State, then, seems to have forgotten that the acquiescence of the colony in a transfer of duties and responsibilities was necessary, and that it had not been obtained. It seems, indeed, very like the truth that the Colonial Office had come in the course of years to forget that the Governor was the representative of the Crown, and to look upon him only as the chief and mouthpiece of the colonists. In New Zealand native affairs, as has been shewn, the Governor was only the former, and not the latter at all. This supposed erroneous view would account for the absence which has been noticed of any instructions to the Governor on matters of policy; for the belief which has grown up in colonial responsibility for the war; and for the assumption just now mentioned of an acquies-
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cence on the part of the colony in the Governor's proposals. And though the words of the Secretary of State acknowledging failure, quoted above, seem to oppose this view, they may bear a different meaning.
Despatch from Secretary of State.
In the same despatch, the Duke of Newcastle claims prompt payment of colonial contributions to military expenditure arising out of the war; throws all past and future expense for militia and volunteers upon the colony; condemns the New Zealand Government for "ignorance of the obligation under which the colonists themselves lie to exert themselves in their own defence, and to submit to those sacrifices which are necessary from persons whose lives and property are in danger;" calls for the imposition of additional taxes: announces, "though not an immediate, yet a speedy and considerable diminution of the force now employed;" and consents finally, as a concession, "in consideration of the present difficulties of the colony," to remit from the colonial contribution to the forces, for three years and no more, about one-half the cost of restoring the machinery of Government among the natives by pacific measures,--to an amount not exceeding £25,000 a year.
Previous despatch of same kind.
The colonists had been somewhat prepared for language such as this. About fifteen months before, in the session of 1861, when the Governor had determined that the proper course to restore order and assert the Queen's sovereignty was to attack the head quarters of the King movement in Waikato, he was
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compelled to tell the Assembly that unless the colony would undertake some additional liability, demanded by the Imperial Government, he could not employ the forces in the manner proposed. [Journals of House of Rep. N.Z. 1861, p. 37.] A despatch from Sir G. C. Lewis, of 26th July, 1860, seems to have been the first and chief instruction to the Governor to take a step such as this. [Appendix to Journals, House of Rep. N.Z. E. No. 3 b., 1861, pp. 6, 7.] The occasion was too serious to hesitate; refusal would have thrown the blame of inaction on the colony; and the Assembly then undertook to furnish men and means, to the extent of the resources of the colony. [Journals, &c., 1861, p. 47.] The fulfilment of this pledge was never exacted, for the threatened invasion of the Waikato country was suspended from other causes; but the colonists had felt for the first time the horns of the dilemma--to submit to a hard bargain, or to be condemned as indifferent to the welfare of their country.
Colonists' opinions on despatch.
Nevertheless the terms of the Duke's despatch of May 26, 1862, grated harshly on the ears of the Colonial representatives, who at the time of its arrival were assembled in session. On further consideration the propositions contained in it were universally condemned. If the acknowledgment of failure in the words already quoted really meant that the Imperial policy had broken down, and that the attempts to govern the natives
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had failed; 2 if it was admitted that the misgovernment of the aborigines had resulted in war, or if it was maintained that the government had been rightly conducted up to the outbreak, but that the war was a mistake; in either case the Duke ought at least to have acknowledged the large assistance already given by the colony both in men and means, and to have admitted the sacrifices which the settlers had undergone. Had the colonists been met in this spirit, they might have been content not to urge their opinion that their revenues and their property and the lives of many of their number had been sacrificed to Imperial mistakes. They would have been satisfied as citizens of the Empire to take a share of that liability which they contended was one resting on the Empire at large; and, remembering their approval of the war from its beginning, they would not have disputed the amount to be contributed by them, as that share, up to the limit of their estimated resources. But to be told that all that had been done was in their defence, when their protection alone had never brought a single soldier into action; that they did not exert themselves for their own protection, when they had not only been ready to do this if necessary, but had actually fought from loyal sentiment as though they had been paid soldiers of the Crown; that they ought to make sacrifices to save their property, when the act of the Government alone had swept away much of that property, and
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might at any time cause the destruction of all that remained in the North Island; to be told these things was to be grossly insulted. I regret that I have not at my command a milder expression to describe the fact. That these insults should be the introduction to a plan to leave on the colony the task of governing the native population who were still for the most part in a state of determined rebellion--a task involving, as a recent resolution of the House of Commons told them, the cost of repressing all disturbance--and that the whole should be accompanied by an intimation that the troops would shortly be withdrawn while the prospects of further war were still imminent, left the colonists in such a such a state of blank amazement, as might have been that of the Israelites when ordered to make bricks without straw. The subject occupied many long days of debate, and called forth every variety of opinion. It seemed at last hopeless to leave the answer to a despatch so full of misconceptions to be conveyed in a mere formal reply; and it was resolved accordingly to embody a statement of the case in the form of an address to the Queen. This remonstrance, as it may properly be called, has been recently published. I quote it at length in an appendix to this letter.
Address to the Queen.
The main points in the reply of the colonists are--a disclaimer of responsibility for the past; a statement of the reasons which render it impossible for the colony alone to take up the government of the
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natives at the present crisis; a remonstrance against the seeming intention on the part of Her Majesty's Government to withdraw from engagements to which they are honourably bound; a recapitulation of the losses and sufferings which have been entailed upon the colonists by no misconduct or imprudence of their own; an undertaking to carry on the government of the natives, if it be offered to them under possible conditions; and a consent to bear the burden of expense under any circumstances, to the extent of their means.
Its true meaning.
This remonstrance has been read as if it were a mere evasion of responsibility. It would undoubtedly appear to be mainly so to any one possessed with the belief that the colonists have been the authors of all Maori troubles. But whoever is willing to listen to and examine into the real facts must acknowledge that the New Zealand settlers, who had innocently suffered as individuals, and were willing to drain their public resources to pay a debt which they had no share in incurring, were fully justified in drawing the line there, and refusing to acknowledge a liability of indefinite amount in the future.
Circumstances of the colony.
The following circumstances--that the colonists already pay taxes, in the shape of Customs duties alone, to the amount of about £4 per head, being double the rate of contribution from all sources to
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the revenue by the population of the United Kingdom; that a comparison of probable cost with produce puts the idea of the direct taxation of 100,000 people scattered over a large territory quite out of the question, even if their actual taxation through the Customs were not already heavy enough; that a few thousand adult males in detached settlements round a coast more extensive than that of England cannot provide a combined force to move on the offensive against a central enemy; that the Maori people are intelligent active and courageous in war, and their country peculiarly impenetrable; that the interests of a colony are urgently opposed to unremunerative war, from the mere fact that its prosperity depends upon its power not only to retain a population not yet firmly rooted in its territory but to attract others from abroad--these circumstances are worth stating, though they may not bear directly upon the present argument. The question is not so much what the colony can do, as what it ought to do. Yet two considerations are suggested by these facts which it is important to notice.
Probable policy of Colonial Government.
First, what would the colony do if left without assistance in the management of native affairs? I am sure that the colonists of New Zealand would not swerve from the doctrine which teaches humanity to the inferior race and a recognition of the rights of aborigines. They would endeavour to the best of their ability to civilize elevate and preserve the
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race by judicious measures of government. They would restrain and punish members of their own body who should attempt to injure their Maori neighbours. In short, all that intelligence and philanthropy might prompt they would try to do. Many indications already suffice to prove that this is not an empty boast. But they could not exhibit to the natives the other equally necessary side of government, the strong arm of the law, the power to restrain as well as to encourage, to punish as well as to reward. For a generation yet to come there will be no means in the colony adequate to such a purpose. A policy upheld by no force, and a force which upholds no true policy, are equally impotent for the redemption of the savage. Justice there, as elsewhere, needs the sword as well as the balance. Against turbulence, anarchy, or overt rebellion within the Maori border, the Government would be helpless. A timid, temporizing, cajoling and procrastinating policy must be employed in any such crisis. Could it succeed in preserving, elevating and civilizing the race? Certainly not. On the other hand it is evident that an attempt to maintain such a system of government among the white population must fail. The policy, though begun in the best spirit, would in the very probable event supposed break down utterly. No body of settlers would endure long the pains and penalties of a partial law, not receiving any advantages from it in the shape of protection; which if the law failed for many years
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to give them would be sought in some other way. Against the urgency of this feeling no Government could continue to carry on a confessedly futile policy. In short, Government without force to back it would he thoroughly unreal; and the attempt which would doubtless be made to establish it on the basis of an enlightened policy would result in the subversion of government and policy together. And the case supposed is already in existence. Anarchy and lawlessness prevail among the interior tribes. The consequences which might follow the unaided efforts of the colonists under favourable circumstances must follow any such efforts if now begun.
Possible plan for managing natives.
Secondly, on what terms could the colonists carry on an efficient Government? Very easily and very profitably for themselves, if they were careless of British engagements to the aborigines, or of any end but their own interests. To declare the wide and fertile lands of the natives the property of the State, to invite an army of determined men, to pay them in the soil they should conquer, and to reduce the surviving natives to the occupation of no more territory than they could use, would be a very cheap and most effectual plan for pacifying the country and opening it to the influences of civilization and good government. The end might even be achieved without much cruelty or bloodshed; though, from the character of the natives and their country, it is more probable that the loss of life would be great on both sides. New Zealand is not too
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large for such an experiment. There are plenty of men in Europe and elsewhere who would be glad enough to serve in the New Zealand army on such terms, even though the best settlers of to-day should quit the country in disgust. Nothing forbids the attempt but British honour, involved in the promise that has been pledged in solemn treaty by the superior to the inferior race.
Alternative for Home Government.
The alternatives of principle before the Imperial Government are perfectly plain. Either such a force as a great nation only can supply must be maintained to support a system of real government among the aborigines until it be fairly established; or, if that force is to be saved, treaty obligations must be cast off, and a less honorable if simpler process adopted.
Colony not to bear reproach of breach of faith.
If the latter alternative be preferred, the colony has a right to demand that the shame of repudiating obligations, breaking promises, and abandoning a philanthropic undertaking for the sake of economy shall be borne by the English nation itself through its Government; and that the disgraceful task shall not be left to be performed, unwillingly and under the pressure of adversity, by the colony.
First step in practical economy.
The first step maybe taken now most conveniently. England complains that the government of the New Zealand natives has cost such and such sums of money--"a very appreciable item," says the Duke of Newcastle, "among those which fix on the British tax-payer the burden of an income-tax."
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The burden is sought to be thrown upon the settlers in the colony. But they are not the body in whose government this money has been spent. The rule is that the subjects of a Government should pay its expenses. In this case those subjects are the Maori people. Let them be called on for the cost. If they have not money, as they have not, let their land, which is the only equivalent, be taken. And then it will be known for the future that consideration for aborigines is no longer to stand in the way of a proper adjustment of the burden of expenditure.
Bill against the colony.
Besides the very important question between the mother country and the colony of the future government of the natives, there is the question of payment for what has been and is being done in the colony in consequence of the outbreak of war.
What the colony has to set down as the cost of the war to itself may be stated in round numbers as follows:--
Destruction of property at Taranaki, to be made good by the whole colony, say.
Cost of militia and volunteers called out for active service
Cost of arms, stores, transport and works of defence
Contribution to pay and expenses of H. M.'s troops
Roads for military purposes
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Liberal offer to pay.
The total amount is that which the colony calls its war liability up to the middle of last year. If the settlers were altogether responsible for the war, the above account shows that they have already been severely punished. If they are, on the other hand, not at all responsible, their offer to take on themselves this liability is generous in the extreme. Perhaps it would have shewn more worldly wisdom to promise much and pay nothing than to pay and remonstrate as they have done. The former course could not have brought upon them greater discredit than the latter has by some perversion been made to bring.
Condition of payment.
The only condition which the colony attaches to its promise to pay what the Imperial Government demands, a sum of about £200,000 out of the amount above stated, is that it shall not be obliged to go into the money market to raise a loan in its own name. It is willing to offer its revenues as security, and to charge them with the payment of interest and principal. The Imperial Government may make use of this offer instead of adding to the burden of the British tax-payer. But if it does, it must relieve the colony of that difference of interest which exists between an Imperial and a Colonial debt.
In other words the colony requests that the Imperial Government will guarantee the requisite loan, and so save to the colony one-third of the amount of interest each year. It is but a little matter to ask assistance which can be so easily rendered when
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the colony is endeavouring on its own side to do all that it can do without considering whether it might not avoid the claim. As the settlers of New Zealand call the war an Imperial one, they, not forgetting that they are a part of the Empire, have shown their willingness to bear at least their share of the cost and loss; and in the same way they ask for their share of the benefit of common citizenship.
Three courses open.
The Imperial Government have now three courses practically open to them, one of which they must follow. They may retain the management of New Zealand native affairs in their own hands, supplying the force required to retrieve past failures and to give effect to their administration in future, and depending on the liberality of the colonists for the continuance of a contribution from them to the extent of their means. Or they may insist upon abandoning a work, which in their hands has got into a state of serious entanglement, to the colonists, adhering to the terms last propounded by the Secretary, of State, and so alienating the colonists and dooming the aborigines to anarchy and degradation. Or they may effect an honourable transfer of their troublesome duty, offering as the basis of an arrangement with the colonists efficient aid for a term of years in money if not in men.
That I may not be misunderstood I distinctly
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Desire of the colonists.
assert that the colonists would now as ever undertake the labour and responsibility of native affairs, confident in being able to conduct them satisfactorily, if only the expense seemed to be within their means. But if the Imperial Government prefer to follow the first named course, the colonists will be content while an able Governor remains in the colony, if he be supported and not thwarted from home, that the execution of his plans may be rendered possible. The gist of their demand is reasonable: that the Imperial Government should see the colony through the great trouble which has been brought upon them, and should render the natives thoroughly subdued and obedient before handing over the liabilities of government to the colonists. And they declare that the policy of the Secretary of State if adhered to will force them into either a breach of faith to the natives or a military expenditure beyond their means.
General question of colonial relations not affected.
I have now endeavoured so to narrate the history of the relations between the mother country and its colony of New Zealand in native affairs as to render the case of the colonists intelligible; to prove the falsity of the charges commonly brought against them; and to indicate generally the course which events must take for the future. I need not say that the broad question of Imperial and Colonial relations, in reference to external defence and such other matters as concern the colony proper, has not been touched upon, and is not at all affected by the subject under notice. But I venture to observe
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that many considerations which I have pointed out in the case of New Zealand affect also the Cape of Good Hope and any other colonies of Great Britain where an aboriginal race exists in any strength, and where expense is involved by an enlightened regard for their interests. Excluding this class of cases, the British colonies as a whole hardly cost the mother country so much money in proportion to their value as to render necessary an entire change of plan for their management.
It may be proper to add that I was personally a close spectator and attentive observer of the events which I have tried to narrate, but a participator in them only to a very small extent. As a colonist of the Southern Island, I have been able to speak freely about native affairs without fearing to be accused of interested motives. And being permitted to be on terms of personal friendship with Colonel Gore Browne, for whom I have always entertained a sincere respect and esteem, there has been nothing further from my desire than to make him a scapegoat for the absolution of the colonists.
I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship's very faithful servant,
London, April, 1863.
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NOTE, page 63.
The Duke of Newcastle's words are: "I cannot disguise from myself that the endeavour to keep the management of the natives under the control of the Home Government has failed." [Parl. Papers, N.Z. Affairs, August 1862, p. 80.] The first and most obvious meaning of this sentence, when read along with the context, is a confession that the government of the natives by the Imperial authorities has been unsuccessful. But the words bear another construction, and may mean that the Home Government has been prevented from reserving to itself, as it desired, the exclusive control of the natives. If this be the meaning the words were intended to bear, allusion is probably made to the only circumstance which can be construed into an obstacle placed by the colonists in the way of the Crown's free action. In the session of the Imperial Parliament, held in 1860, a bill was brought in by the Government "For the better Government of the Native Inhabitants of New Zealand, and for facilitating the purchase of Native Lands." This bill passed through the House of Lords. But some colonists, who then happened to be in England, expressed great indignation at the suggestion of such a measure. The Constitution Act had established an independent Legislature for New Zealand, and it was not competent for the Imperial Parliament also to legislate. Nor was it necessary to do so. If the Colonial Legislature passed measures of which the Crown did not approve, it was within the power of the Crown to disallow them. And if measures which the Crown desired were not passed, the Crown was perfectly at liberty to act in native matters without them. The Constitution Act was widely constructed for the purpose. A despatch from the Colonial Office instructing the Governor, or at most an Order in Council, would have been quite as good as an Act of Parliament; but instruction to the Governor was the one thing which for some reason was never given. To pass an Act of Parliament where there was no jurisdiction, for the purpose of empowering the Crown to determine through what servants or in what way it should do its own work (which was the effect of the measure) was at once an error and an absurdity. The measure was withdrawn in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for the Colo-
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nies being absent from the country at the time. When the result was known in the colony the opposition given at home to the bill was approved of; but a measure of a similar character was brought into the General Assembly and passed, as was the legitimate course. This bill was however deemed to restrict as well as to define the power of the Crown, and was not assented to by her Majesty. There may be other instances in which the Imperial Government conceives itself to have been thwarted; but the only one of consequence is the opposition on constitutional grounds to the Native Government Bill of 1860; and this took place after the war began. The question of responsibility for the war is therefore not affected by it.
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ADDRESS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
August, 1862. (See Page 64.)
TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,--
We, your Majesty's loyal subjects, the House of Representatives of New Zealand in Parliament assembled, in all faithfulness and zeal to your Majesty's service, desire humbly to lay before your Majesty the difficulties under which this colony is labouring, and the dangers with which it is threatened.
From despatches recently received from your Majesty's Secretary of State, especially from a despatch dated the 26th of May, 1862, and laid before us by his Excellency Governor Sir George Grey, we have learnt that your Majesty's Government, recognising "that the endeavour to keep the management of the natives under the control of the Home Government has failed," has resolved to sanction the important step taken by his Excellency "in placing the management of the natives under the control of the General Assembly of the Colony," subject to several conditions which are fully stated in the despatch referred to.
We desire humbly to represent to your Majesty that the proposal of his Excellency was made without obtaining the assent of the General Assembly to accept the responsibility thereby imposed upon it; and although the Legislature might, under other circumstances, be willing to accept that responsibility, the present condition of the colony forbids such a course. Our duty to the inhabitants of both races within these islands, a due regard for the honour of your Majesty's throne and for the interests of humanity, alike compel us, with the deepest respect, to decline to undertake the task imposed upon us, under conditions which were never contemplated by your Majesty's representative, and which render it impossible for us honourably or successfully to fulfil that task.
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We recognize the difficulty of the attempt to govern two races within the same territory by means of separate Governments responsible to different authorities, between whose respective jurisdictions no definite line can be drawn, and whose administration must often conflict. But we deem it necessary humbly to represent to your Majesty that the duty of educating, civilising, and governing the aboriginal inhabitants of these islands is one which does not, and has never hitherto been supposed solely to belong to, and therefore ought not to be wholly charged upon the European inhabitants of the colony. And we would further humbly submit that the task is one which it is impossible the colony can, by its unaided efforts, rightly perform. At the same time no efforts will be spared on our part, by cordial co-operation with your Majesty's Government, to put an end to the prejudicial effects which have hitherto attended a divided Administration.
We are compelled humbly to represent to your Majesty that the liability which attaches to the Home Government in respect to the native race is greatly increased by the fact that from the first settlement of the colony the government of the natives has been in the hands of your Majesty's representatives, under the orders of successive Secretaries of State. An absolute control over all legislation affecting the natives, and over the administration of laws relating to them, has been strictly observed by your Majesty's Government; and the settlers, as a body, seemed to have been viewed as objects of suspicion and distrust, to preserve the natives from whom it was necessary to pass peculiar enactments and to establish especial protectorates.
In respectfully declining, therefore, to accept the proposal of your Majesty's Government, we do so, not as shrinking from labours or burdens which we ought rightly to undertake, but because, along with a desire on the part of your Majesty's Government to confer an apparent political boon on the colony, we seem to discover, in the despatches to which we have referred, the intention to withdraw from engagements to which the British nation is honourably bound, and to transfer to the colony liabilities and burdens which belong properly to the empire.
Had the natives been in real allegiance to your Majesty,
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or in a state of peace and prosperity, the transfer of authority to govern them, together with all the liabilities attending such a transfer, might have been accepted by us with thankfulness for the confidence reposed in us, and with a reasonable anticipation of good results. But the allegiance of the natives as a body has never been more than nominal; and it is proposed to make the transfer at a time when a large section of the race have endeavoured to establish a separate nationality and to set up a king, and have raised bands of armed men to maintain his authority. It is to be made when many other tribes are alienated and disaffected, and at the close of a war which has failed to convince the natives of the superiority of your Majesty's arms, but which has reduced to a mere garrison one British settlement, where the insurgent natives at this moment hold possession, avowedly by right of conquest, of one of the principal agricultural districts, which had been occupied under grants from your Majesty, and cultivated for years, by peaceful and industrious settlers. It is to be made, in short, at a time when its duties must entail upon the colony expenses which it is not in a condition to bear, and dangers it cannot successfully contend against without the aid of a considerable military force; for we humbly submit to your Majesty's consideration that it is hardly to be expected that the colonists, if left at an early date to their own resources, without powerful military aid, would, in the event of future collisions with the natives, be able to exercise that self-restraint which is the privilege of the strong; and that any war which might arise would degenerate into a guerilla warfare, and become a life and death struggle of races; and if peace should happily be preserved, it might not be prudent or humane for the colony to attempt by its own limited means to establish and maintain your Majesty's authority in the whole of those districts where the native race predominates. It might be driven in its weakness to abandon the show, where it could not possess the reality, of control, and to leave the bulk of the Maori race to virtual and even avowed independence.
We have read with great concern the opinion expressed by your Majesty's Secretary of State, that his Grace can see "no adequate apprehension on the part of the New Zealand Government of the obligation under which the
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colonists themselves lie to exert themselves in their own defence, and to submit to those sacrifices which are necessary from persons whose lives and properties are in danger." Had the dangers, losses, and sacrifices of the colonists arisen from their own misconduct or imprudence, the imputation thus cast upon them would have been less intolerable; but when the fact is admitted that the settlers have not been the authors of the wars in New Zealand, although immeasurably the severest sufferers by them, we humbly submit that such a charge ought not to have come from the authority under which those sufferings have arisen.
But we are further bound to state, with deep respect, to your Majesty, that the imputation thus cast on the colony by his Grace the Duke of Newcastle is undeserved. The taxation imposed upon the colonists by the recent war alone amounts to more than half a million sterling--a charge exceeding £5 per head upon the whole European population of both islands; and very nearly the whole male inhabitants of Taranaki from 16 years of age and upwards have been engaged for two years and a half in full military service. We humbly submit to your Majesty that it would have been ruinous and impracticable to exact any large amount of compulsory service and raise a considerable moveable army from among the settlers scattered over the whole colony. The neighbourhood of the plains of Australia, and of the rich gold fields of Victoria and New Zealand, would have effectually prevented such a scheme, which would have resulted simply in depopulating the northern island of this colony. It would, moreover, have been impossible that any large part of this, as of any civilized community, should have remained long under arms without public bankruptcy, unless stayed by pecuniary assistance from without. But the population of the colony were at all times ready if called upon by the military commanders for active support in their own districts; and the conduct of the Volunteers and Militia of Taranaki will, on inquiry, prove to your Majesty that the settlers, though untrained, were as able to serve as they were willing to risk themselves in support of your Majesty's sovereignty. The two corps, whose services have not been fortunate enough to meet with recognition, took an active part in the most successful operations of the late war, and never shrank from the post of honour and danger.
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We deem it our duty to your Majesty humbly to record the conviction, which has been forced upon us by experience, that it will ever be found impossible to sustain, or even to elicit, the full military ardour of a community under a system which places your Majesty's local forces in a position of marked inferiority to the regular army, not only in the performance of military duties, but also in the distribution of honours and rewards due to meritorious service.
And we would humbly express this further conviction, that in a country in which the maintenance of your Majesty's Government and the enforcement of its policy requires the presence, and may require the active help of the military power, it is essential that the Government directing that policy should be armed with the entire control of that military. Great calamities have already fallen upon this colony; wars have been needlessly prolonged, lives lost, and treasure squandered, solely from that want of some local authority having power to remove inefficient and incompetent commanders, and to intrust the execution of military operations to men capable of conducting them to a successful issue. We cannot but feel, therefore, that any proposal to get rid of the divided responsibility hitherto existing in the colony, and to unite the Government under a single administration, is a proposal in name rather than in fact, unless the control of the military force be intrusted to your Majesty's representative in the colony.
We humbly trust that, upon a consideration of the above views and statements, it may appear to your Majesty that a complete examination ought to be made into the respective obligations of the mother country and the colony with reference to the native race, in order to an equitable apportionment of those obligations; and that your Majesty will be pleased to direct a full inquiry into the condition and prospects of the colony, and a reconsideration of the announced intentions of your Majesty's Government.
A sense of the gravity of the duty which it is proposed to transfer wholly to us, without material aid, has induced us thus earnestly, but with deep respect, to appeal to your Majesty. We have always been and ever shall remain ready to take as large a share as our means will allow of
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the burden of that duty; and we will gladly aid your Majesty's Government by relieving them from the anxious task of guiding the affairs of this your Majesty's remotest dependency, if the power is given and the help continued to us that will make our efforts hopeful; and we humbly pray that the youngest of your Majesty's colonies may not be left to struggle unaided amid political and financial difficulties too great for its strength; but that your Majesty may be pleased to deal with us as an integral part of the empire to which we are proud to belong, and as one where peculiar troubles and dangers demand peculiarly liberal consideration.