THE MAORI WAR.
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THE MAORI WAR.
The story of the Maori war is not soon told. "The generation following" will hear the tales of suffering which their fathers endured; deeds of rapine which the Maoris perpetrated; and acts of daring which could be performed only by brave warriors. The incidents of war are as thrilling as they are sad. When the details of this war shall be known, many a heart-sickening scene will be revealed. But neither chivalry, valour, nor cruelty can be limited to one side. From the Maori stand-point, as well as from our own, there have been deeds that must command respect, if not admiration, as well as such as will excite horror. But it is not of such things that I intend to speak. The romance of war I must leave to others. Nor am I competent to treat this subject in several other aspects.
There is the military aspect. Professional men must deal with this. In their eyes good military reasons may, for aught I know, justify every step that has teen taken, although common sense cannot I perceive them. Who, but professionals, can explain why so large a force should have been so long in the country and do so little? Who can say why that, when there were opportunities for striking a telling blow, not a shot should be fired? And, without staying to notice many other inexplicable movements, who can tell why our colonial forces should be transferred, at great cost, from one coast to another, in each case leaving an audacious enemy behind them? To the uninitiated it seems a mockery to say the campaign is ended when Titokowaru can roam at will over the deserted farms of our ill-fated settlers, while our men are in pursuit of Te Kooti, who was reported to be killed but is alive again. For these, and other things equally mysterious to ordinary minds, there may, perhaps, be excellent military reasons. But I cannot discuss this question.
I confess myself equally unable to understand what may be called the political aspect of the Maori war.
I am not a statesman, and therefore know nothing of state craft. It would be seeming arrogance for me to question the wisdom of certain lines of action, however puzzling to my uninformed judgment. As for instance, why Maoris should be permitted to kill one another without any interference on our part; and then, when a quarrel arose respecting the title to an insignificant piece of land, we should rush into a costly and bloody war, instead of submitting the dispute to a patient judicial investigation. Or why, in the conduct of this unhappy war, having taken many active spirits and made them prisoners, instead of keeping them as hostages until a permanent peace should be established, they were allowed to escape to reinforce the enemy, reduce our prestige, and intensify their hostility. And also, when certain blocks of land were confiscated, they should be left comparatively undefended against the incursions of the ejected but unsubdued tribes; or when a military advantage has been gained, it has so rarely, if ever, been followed up, but accepted as an end of the war; or while the murderers of men, women, and children find a refuge in the bosom of their people, no attempt should be made to vindicate the law. I say for these and other things a statesman may have good reasons; and I therefore will not incur the charge of presumption by calling them in question. If I allude to these things it will not be as a politician.
I shall confine myself to what I may term the moral aspect of the war, and from this view I shall find enough to say to tax your patience, Should I be tedious I hope the importance of the subject will be admitted as an excuse. I ask for a patient hearing, and if I advance anything which may be opposed to the convictions of any one present, I shall be happy at the close of the lecture, and by the permission of the Chairman, to reply to any questions that may be pertinent to the occasion. From the position I occupy, I feel no diffidence in speaking plainly. If a residence of more than 33 years in New Zealand, a knowledge of the Maori language and character, and an attentive study of every stage in our colonial history, are sufficient to enable any one to arrive at a conclusion, then I may be permitted to do so. I was well acquainted with the state of the Maori people when, in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was accepted by them. From that time I have watched with interest the course of events, and I claim nothing more than the power of a common mind, and the consciousness of an honest purpose, when I venture to discuss the moral aspects of what is known as the "Maori war."
The first question that comes up is this--who is responsible for the war? What were its antecedent causes--the remote as well as the direct? How is it that, after twenty years of colonisation, the war, now nine years old, came to pass? The question, in one of these forms, is asked by many.
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Different answers are given. Some will tell you, "It is all owing to the missionaries." The poor missionaries--messengers of peace--are charged by many as the instigators of war! I am not ashamed to own that I belong to this class, and plead "not guilty." I have the honour to be an old missionary, and the pleasure of being acquainted with nearly every Protestant missionary in the land; and, on behalf of all, I am prepared to meet the charge with an indignant denial. I will not say that no missionary has been indiscreet--that none have erred in judgment--nor do I profess to endorse every opinion, or approve of every act of every missionary. Let each be judged on the merits of his own case. But this I say, that so far from missionaries being accountable for the war, it can be proved that they have been the friends of the colony, as well as the benefactors of the Maoris. Is it said that the Maoris themselves blame the missionaries, repudiate their teaching, and even murder them? I admit all this; while it proves nothing against them, unless it be that they are the supporters of British sovereignty. No Maori will say that missionaries counselled war, or in any way encouraged it. It is true that many tribes have renounced Christianity, and abandoned their former relation to their missionary pastors; but on what ground? Simply because it was by the advice of the missionaries that they consented to receive the representative of the British crown. But for the influence of the missionaries, Captain Hobson could hardly have succeeded in obtaining this fine country as a dependency of the Imperial Government. The Maoris know this, and it is made the fulcrum on which the lever of disaffection towards the Government uplifts them from their former position towards their missionaries. Will you permit me to look into the charges which are commonly preferred against us. We do not enter the arena with our accusers in the public journals, for we cannot use the weapons of scurrility which they so dexterously handle. From the flippant scoffer we appeal to the sober-minded. The popular prejudices which have been excited against the missionaries may, I believe, be reduced to three:--
1. That they were jealous of colonisation, lest their own influence should be lost.
This charge may be dismissed as not proven. I have never heard a tittle of evidence in support of it. Whatever influence missionaries had was purely moral, and nothing could deprive them of this but the demoralisation of the natives. No doubt their influence for good was powerful at the time when Governor Hobson arrived; and, I repeat, it was owing thereunto, very much at least, that his political mission was successful. That influence was directed to moral ends, as it had been obtained by moral means. Had the new element--the political--always acted on the same principles which were so triumphant in missionary conduct, we should have reason to rejoice, not that their influence is weakened, but that it was strengthened by the policy of the strong arm of law whenever occasion required its exercise. What were those principles of conduct I will presently explain. It is fashionable to speak of the missionary enterprise as a failure--to deride what is called the sham Christianity of the Maoris; to sneer at the Exeter Hall sentiments! I shall not enlarge upon these things, but must enter my protest against the use of such terms. Notwithstanding the present unhappy state of things I can cite ample evidence to the effect that up to a certain point, at least, the mission was no failure, but a success. The viciousness of many of the natives is in spite of better knowledge. If this proves the failure of the mission in New Zealand, then the vices of London life will equally prove the failure of Christianity there. I submit that the rational way of looking at this question is, first, to inquire what was the character of the Maoris when missionaries came among them; then to ascertain their condition when, after they had laboured for a quarter of a century, a new state of things arose through colonisation in 1840. It is well known that at the first date they were a nation of ferocious cannibals, among whom no one could venture to live but at the peril of his life. At the date of the second period, we have the testimony of intelligent travellers, of the first Governors of the colony, and of the natives themselves, that they had become comparatively a peaceable, an educated, and a civilised people. Life and property were sacred, hospitality was universal, Christian ordinances were common, and the love of war had given place to a desire for commerce. This change--to say nothing of the higher forms of Christian character--had been wrought exclusively by missionary agency. For many years after the birth of the colony, as all the old settlers know, a large and lucrative trade was supported, not only in Auckland but on both coasts, which was the foundation of ample fortunes to not a few of our enterprising countrymen. The imputation of jealousy to the missionaries is absurd. Colonisation of some kind and by some foreign Power was inevitable. It was not a matter of mere choice, now that the natives had become humanised by Christianity. The missionaries, had they wished, could not prevent it. But as Englishmen, as well as Christian men, they decidedly preferred British rule and protection to an alien supremacy or a lawless occupancy; and accordingly, as a matter of fact, they did throw all their influence in the scale of colonisation under the shadow of our Queen Victoria.
2. Instead of using the English language, the missionary perpetuates the miserable jargon of the Maori tongue.
The very able lecture on missions that was given here last week contains the echo of this prejudice. In theory it is convincing, in practice impossible. The missionaries would have been fools had they attempted it. It would be easy to show the rank
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absurdity of pretending to force upon a people, until their commerce with the English proved to them the importance of it, a language so exceedingly difficult to acquire, in the place of their own, which, allow me to say, is not after all such a useless dialect as some imagine. I could show you that it possesses a force, a poetry, and a nicety by no means despicable. But whatever its demerits, it was the only medium by which instruction could be conveyed to their minds; and to the philologist, as well as to the Christian, the Maori version of the Holy Bible is an object of the deepest interest. All intelligent men, whether missionaries or others, must be equally alive to the great advantage of the English language, not only as a means of intercourse, but as a field for research. The natives themselves now begin to understand its value, and whatever they know of it they have acquired in the schools which have been under the direction of missionaries and no others. I could take you on any day to a Maori settlement on the bank of the Waipa, where you may see a superior Maori woman teaching a small Maori boarding school in English, and which teacher can write you a letter in English which would be no discredit to one of our fair countrywomen. And Martha Barton has a brother who talks English, and fulfils the duties of clerk in the Resident Magistrate's Court in the Waikato. These, as well as others, learnt all that they know in one of our mission schools. I quote this to show that it was not indifference on the part of missionaries that withheld the English tongue from the Maori people. It was only the utter uselessness of attempting to teach them what they could not acquire without severe application, while they could perceive no motive for such application.
3. The missionaries traded in native lands.
I am aware that this has now become a trite saying even among some of the natives themselves--"You missionaries were teaching us to look up to heaven, but your own eyes were all the time directed to the earth." It is only of late that such a thing was heard among them, and there is good reason to believe it did not originate with them. But the question remains, is it true? And, if true, was it wrong? Well, I am ready to meet this. I admit at once that some missionaries did buy Maori lands, and a few of them, large tracts of land; but I ask did they inflict any injustice on anyone by so doing? I have never heard of a case in which they took any unfair advantage, or in which the owners were not fully satisfied with the bargain. The land, indeed, in those days had no marketable value at all. It was worth absolutely nothing until made so; but, as far as I know, the missionaries gave as much in payment as did anyone else, and far more than most others. That some of those lands have since acquired a value, is the accident of colonisation. If anyone will say that they desired colonisation for this purpose, it must be admitted that they could not in that case have been enemies to colonisation, I wish, however, to be clearly understood. I never bought land from the Maoris, nor did any one of the agents of the Society I represent, unless it were for the bona fide purpose of a mission station. Therefore I feel the more free to express myself on a matter which has been made the unjust occasion of throwing odium on the proceedings of many excellent men. I offer no opinion on the expediency of missionaries purchasing land from natives. But I contend that no one has a right to complain of those good men that did so. They acted under the sanction of their Directors in London. They bought, not with a view to commercial speculation, but for the purpose of making future provision for their numerous children, and sometimes in the interest of peace, by satisfying the claims of contending rivals, thereby preventing bloodshed. And I ask, whether their families and descendants are not as valuable a class of settlers as any others, and even as important a contribution to the wellbeing of the country--the land of their birth. If anyone can show that any missionary obtained land unrighteously--that he did so as a matter of mere financial gain, or that he did not fully satisfy every claimant--then I have not a word to say in his defence. I never heard of such a case; and I repeat that, whatever may be thought of it as a question of Christian expediency, on abstract principles I have yet to learn what is to he said against it.
Have I made out a case in favour of the misrepresented missionaries? I will not pretend to say how much the colony owes to them, only that, but for them, there would have been no colony here at all! I will not inquire whether the Christianity of the Maoris was a "sham;" but, at all events, it had softened their manners, reformed their customs, and made them peaceable and honest; so that foreigners could live among them with safety and profit. But I cannot let the slang term of "Exeter Hall" pass without a caveat. It has obtained currency from the unfortunate phrase of the late Lord Macaulay, who once referred to what he called "the bray of Exeter Hall," and, as the eloquent Punshon said in his lecture on that eminent man, "Its last bray was in his own praise." What then is meant by the vague term "Exeter Hall"? Why do not writers and speakers call things by their right names--"I spade--a spade"? To vilify Exeter Hall is to abuse all the Christianity of England. Will it be said that also is a "sham"? Some years ago there emanated from the Aborigines Protection Society an unfortunate document, which, circulating among the Maoris, was no doubt mischievous in its effects. That I believe is the foundation of the Exeter Hall phrase, as now used. I have nothing to say of the said address to the Maoris, excepting that it was a grave mistake on the part of well-meaning but misguided men.
I have occupied your time, I fear, too long on the alleged mischief caused by missionaries. I now turn to another answer to the question,--To whom is the
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war owing? It is evident from the tone of the English press, and even from the papers in some parts of New Zealand, an impression extensively prevails that the colonists are chargeable with the consequences of the Maori war; that lust of gain and greed of land induced the settlers of the Northern Island to force hostilities, and then perpetuate them. While by many of the settlers the missionaries are blamed, they, in their turn, are also unjustly condemned. No doubt there are bad men in the colony. I know that some malicious spirits have done their best to foster groundless suspicions in the Maori mind. They are as much the enemies of the colony as they are the destroyers of the natives. But, taken as a community, the New Zealand colonists compare favourably with those of any country for: intelligence, respectability, and character. To charge them with desiring war is ridiculous. What could they gain by it? Till very lately it was not in their power to obtain land but from the Crown, Set aside a few fortunate contractors and some needy place-hunters, and all the rest have been great sufferers by the war. They are entitled to the sympathy, and do not merit the censure, of England. Against the gains of the few place the losses of the many, and then strike the balance in the form of a huge, a terrible disaster. The burden of excessive taxation is as nothing compared with the devastation of happy homes, the utter ruin of fair prospects, and the bitter loss of beloved sons. At this moment there are many solitary families continually exposed to spoliation and death. What had they to gain by war? Gain! No, the settlers have everything to risk, and not a few have lost their all, and many have lost their lives. To charge our settlers with the greed of land is idle. They desired land: to be sure they did. What else did they come here for? Did they leave their country only for their country's good? Did they not expatriate themselves from the dear old home that they might extend the glory of the British empire, by adding another gem to our monarch's crown, in building up a nation on the virgin soil of this beautiful country? Is it supposed they could do this without acquiring land? But, I ask, did the settlers get land--did they wish to get land--in any other way than by fair and honourable purchase? I challenge anyone to say so. Nor could they have done so if they would. Whatever they gave for it was its full value. They inflicted no wrong upon the natives by buying from them what they could not use. Not a foot of soil was fraudulently obtained. This is our vantage ground in argument with the natives themselves. They cannot put their finger upon the map of New Zealand and point to a single acre which has been wrested from them, unless it be as the penalty of rebellion. And I go further than this. I ask if it was not in the order of God's providence that a colonising people, like the Anglo-Saxons, should relieve the overcrowded population of the mother country by emigrating to this "Britain of the South," and utilising the fertile wastes which the savage inhabitants could not appropriate?
Millions of acres of well-watered plains and luxuriant forests invited their enterprise. When would the natives have built bridges, made roads, planted towns? Was this fine portion of the Lord's earth to be a perpetual preserve for wild pigs? I do not think so. Again, by what title did the native tribes claim all the unoccupied territory? That they did so we know; and to attempt to dispossess them in any other way than by treaty would have been neither right nor politic. But after all, could they by themselves ever have fulfilled the conditions of their title to "multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it?" They could not. And for these reasons I always thought that a superior race would help them to accomplish the divine purpose. I knew the country in all its native wildness. In 1839 I travelled from Hokianga in the North to Port Nicholson in the South. At that time the spots of European civilisation were very few beyond the lone mission settlement, and this was as the oasis in the desert. I never pass over the same ground now, on which has waved the hand of civilising power--where the sturdy arms of our Saxon race have felled gigantic forests, and where skilled energy has made the desert to "rejoice and blossom as the rose." I never, I say, now pass over these scenes and compare the present with the past, but I see abundant evidence of a providential vocation. I read it in the light of facts as clearly as in the revelation of God's Word I read the mission of the Israelites to people the land of Canaan--not, as in their case, with a command to extirpate the original inhabitants, neither in any way to oppress or injure them; but to place the means of domestic comfort, of social elevation, of political freedom within their reach. I know it is asserted, as a law of Providence, that the coloured race must disappear in the presence of the whites. But where is the authority for that assertion? Unhappily it has too often been the case. May it not be repeated here! But whatever be the ultimate issue of the present unhappy state of things--should even the lay of the last Maori be sung--there is still comfort in the thought that it was not by the desire, neither was it through the conduct of the settlers that the Maori perished.
It is time to give my answer to the question as to the responsibility of the war, and I will do so by an appeal to facts. I say then that the Imperial Government sustain this responsibility. I accuse not the Government of any intention of this kind. I am persuaded that they took possession of these islands in good faith and sincerely wished to preserve the aborigines. In doing so, they petted and spoiled them. They were more than humane--they were even partial; of no act of oppression can the natives justly complain. Hostilities have been the fruit of mismanagement alone. From the beginning it has been a blunder, and that blunder is not yet corrected even by experience very dearly bought. Under good government--government conducted on sound principles--there would have been little, if any, danger of a war. If it he asked what is meant by I sound principles, I reply, just those which in the
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olden days secured for the missionaries their great influence over the Maori mind--an influence by which they often went between contending armies, and effected reconciliation before a blow was struck. We need not the talents of a statesman to find out the true principles of successful government. The humblest cottager, who will have his "children in subjection with all gravity," must have practical acquaintance with those principles, as well as the ruler of an empire. These underlie all administration, whether domestic, corporate, or national. The relation of the British Government to the Maori people was a paternal one, and the duties arising out of that relation were those of a father to his dependent family. On his management will depend the future character of his children, and their carriage towards himself. Like a wise good father let him "command his household," so as to win their confidence, gain their respect, and prepare them for manhood, and they will "rise up and call him blessed." Such were the principles which guided the conduct of intelligent missionaries. But let a weak, though fond, father pander to the waywardness of his children, wheedle and coax them to duty with sugar-plums, and withhold all the restraints of early discipline--what is the natural result? Domestic anarchy. Too late the feeblehanded parent wakes up to the consequences of his own neglect, and in utter powerlessness exclaims, "Alas, my sins." His grey hairs impose no restraint on their unbridled passions. They "glory in their shame." To account for this we have no recondite causes to seek, It is human nature, and not the peculiarity of race, for God "hath made of one blood all nations of men." The illustration I have given describes the conduct of the Government towards the natives, and accounts for the hostile attitude of defiant tribes. I will proceed to establish my position. A successful Government must have the confidence of the governed. This is especially necessary with such an unenlightened, suspicious, and warlike people as the Maoris. When missionaries came among them they had much personal annoyance and no little danger to endure. Their lives were often in jeopardy. But in course of time they were understood. The natives found them truthful as well as kind. They believed the word of a missionary because he never deceived them. When some one attempted to throw doubt on a missionary's statement, the Maori said, "See the sun yonder; as sure as it will rise to-morrow morning so sure will the missionary's word be true." It would have been well had our Government always followed this example. But promises have been often made which have never been fulfilled.
There is one thing on which, above all others, the natives were always sensitive, and that is--their land. This was a subject of great delicacy. No doubt it would have been the best as well as the most simple way, to take possession of the whole country and allocate to the native tribes such portions as were sufficient and best suited to their use--as it was put by the lecturer last week. But this could not be done. Every acre of land had its owner; their own titles were often complicated; and intertribal wars were not uncommon because of disputed rights. Keenly watched by the sagacious eye of a jealous people, the most careful action was required in order to secure their confidence. Unfortunately the policy adopted by the Government place them in a false position at once. At that time there was a general desire to sell land to European residents; in all directions native chiefs were offering territory in exchange for foreign wares. Traders were rapidly increasing, because the country was safe. Thousands of acres had been bought, and a large extent was under negotiation, when Captain Hobson's proclamation made it an illegal act for any one to traffic with the natives in the matter of land. At the same time Commissioners were appointed, who held courts of inquiry into the merits of the purchases already contracted. This was a right step so far as it went. The results of that inquiry reflected great credit on the honour of the natives of those days. One of the Commissioners told me that the decision of the Court always turned on the testimony of the natives alone. But, although they had the matter in their own hands, I heard not of a case wherein they repudiated a bargain that had once been fairly ratified by them. It would not be safe now to trust them so far. The technicalities of law would be put in the place of right dealing. There was one great defect in the design of that Court. Instead of awarding to the claimant all the land he had honourably bought, his grant was limited to a given quantity, and the balance regarded as waste lands of the Crown. This served to irritate the buyer, and to perplex the Maori. The former felt himself wronged; the latter silently questioned the right of the Government to take what private individuals had purchased. They said, "If the Governor serves his own people in this way, what then may we not expect?" Thus a suspicion of the ulterior design of the Government was, at a very early period, awakened in the Maori mind. The proclamation also strengthened this feeling. It deprived the natives of the acquisition of merchandise; and they were led to ask on what ground the Government prevented them from doing what they liked with their own. This again was aggravated by the refusal of the Government to buy certain blocks of land when they were anxious to sell. Much vexation arose out of this, and it was fostered by angry traders who, pointing to the flagstaff at the Bay of Islands as the symbol of British power, led Hone Heke to cut it down. Thus began the war in the North in 1845.
It may he said that it was necessary to prevent the landsharks--as speculators were called--from buying up the country wholesale; and also, in order to avoid quarrels, to ascertain the real owners of land sold. The action of the agents of the New Zealand Company might be adduced in proof
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of this. But it was possible by legislation to have guarded against all such evils, and yet to have left the natives free. Had the Government done so in a way to secure revenue on the one hand, and the ready extinction of native title by fair purchase on the other, they would have assumed the dignified position of protecting native rights, and the arbiter of all disputes, instead of descending to the lower status of land-jobbing. In this way settlers would have filled the country without the intervention of a Land-purchase Department. But the course taken--no doubt with the best intentions--proved disastrous, and lies at the foundation of all our troubles. Suspicion gradually acquired strength, until it became a profound conviction in the native mind that in time their lands would be all wrested from them. Then they formed a stern resolve to stem the progress of colonisation by selling no more land. Hence the famous Land League in 1854, the murder of Rawiri and others in 1855, and the present war beginning with the Waitara question in 1860. It would have been as much for the interests of the Maoris as for the colony if, to a very large extent, their waste lands had been sold by them while they possessed but a nominal value. Large payments are a questionable gain. They lead to idleness, improvidence, and vice. By refusing to buy, or to let others buy--the old fable of the dog and the manger--the Government let the opportunity slip, and, when, by the increase of population, land was in requisition, they were unable to meet the demand. Thus difficulties arose, which were detrimental to the public welfare, and were equally injurious to the natives. For instance, when a company of Nova Scotians desired to form a settlement--that successful body of settlers now at the Waipu--and the Government had no disposable land for their purpose, application was made to native chiefs to sell that which had already been bought from them by Mr. Busby. Never was a land-purchase effected in a more open, straightforward, or honourable way than that of Mr. Busby's, although his title was not legalised. An officer was sent to Te Tirarau, a fine old chief, with some sense of honour--to re-buy this laud. He indignantly repelled the offer. "Do you think," he said, "I will sell land twice over? It is no longer mine--go to Busby, to whom it belongs." It is easy to see the effect of such repeated attempts upon the native mind. While the Government falls into contempt, they are demoralised, till their cupidity overrides their honesty. The "land question," more than anything else, forfeited the confidence of the natives.
Good government must command respect. This is to be done by the supremacy of law. Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation principle of public peace, safety, and order. But how signal our failure in this respect in the management of the natives! They have not been governed at all. A firm-handed and upright Government would have been respected by them. Their own rude law had been one of brute force. This was giving way to that of public opinion.
At the date of the colony a simple code of laws faithfully administered would have taken with them. To show weakness was folly. At that time the person of a pakeha was sacred. We had a moral prestige which is now gone. They have a keen sense of justice and will respect it. Had law been impartially enforced, by this time it would be everywhere acknowledged. No fear of consequences should have averted execution on the guilty after trial and conviction. I appeal to everyone who has lived among the natives, whether the bold man, if true, is not a power among them. If your case is a just one, maintain it at all hazards, and you will succeed. It is timidity, truckling, lying, that they despise. Be manly and you live in their esteem; yield to threat and you become their lacquey. My advice to settlers is, never let a Maori take advantage of you. Allow no liberties. Not long ago I entered the home of a trader in the interior. Presently a native came into the sitting room. He was clothed in a filthy ngeri, and had a greasy cap upon his head. He took his seat before the fire place ami, having lighted his pipe, began to smoke with all possible self-complacency. I found no difficulty in shaming this man out of his rudeness, he needed only a proper rule to be kept within the limits of right conduct. From personal recollections I could supply instances of violence threatened to exact unjust demands, which having been calmly but firmly resisted, the enraged chief, ashamed of his folly, has afterwards brought an offering of reconciliation. It is a great mistake--bad in principle and worse in policy--to let the Maoris know that you are afraid of them. Thy respect courage. It is notorious that, while the natives can always obtain redress against the pakeha, the latter has seldom any chance against the former. Thus law is treated with derision. The authority of the ancient chiefs was passing away, and a state of anarchy was succeeding it. The more thoughtful and intelligent saw and lamented this. Our laws were powerless with them. This, together with the land question, led to the King movement, which now threatens to give great trouble. To enact laws and not enforce them will demoralise any people. "Without law there is no transgression" If the law says, "Thou shalt not buy strong drink," and then, under the very eye of the Magistrate, allows it with impunity, it weakens its own sanctity when it says, "Thou shalt not kill." The violation of one law prepares for disobedience to all laws. Had law been always upheld, a police row might sometimes have happened; but nothing like a war would have been the consequence. Nor shall we ever have peace and safety until the reign of law be established. The risk of danger is no apology for compromising justice. A parent may have trouble in subduing the will of a headstrong child, but, if he do not, the task may be impossible hereafter. Better in the first place to overcome resistance, at any cost. The interests of humanity are served thereby. But even such apology
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is not always available. A case occurred not long ago, nor far away. A Maori girl committed a theft, and afterwards attempted the life of her victim. A runanga was held. The father of the girl opposed the surrender of his daughter to the action of our law. His opposition was overruled, and the English Magistrate had the case before him. There was here no difficulty. But I regret to say the question was after all referred to Maori usage. How is it possible in this way for the Maori to have any conception of the majesty of law? We may cease to wonder at their lawlessness.
Another function of the Government is education. Much credit is due for what has been done in this direction, although with partial success. This might have been greater had not too much been attempted with the means available. No investment of public money would have proved more profitable than in a liberal education, which would qualify the natives to appreciate our institutions, and take a part in our legislation. This supposes a complete curriculum, including a knowledge of English. If, for example, 40 or 50 bright lads--sons of chiefs--had been placed in schools with young English gentlemen until thoroughly educated, it is not too much to suppose that many, if not all, of them would, by their superior knowledge and refined taste, be as closely bound to us by sympathy as to their own people by blood. What a power might they have been for civilisation! They would make efficient Government officers, and some of them be worthy of seats in our Colonial Parliament--a reality, instead of the miserable sham of the Maori members now exalted to that dignity. Such an educated class of Maoris of rank would greatly facilitate all efforts of philanthropy, provided at the same time every encouragement was given to the education of the whole people in the cardinal duties of manliness, industry, and obedience. Thirty years ago the Maoris were but emerging from barbarism, but they were sober, honest, and hospitable. What are they now? Intemperance, profligacy, and impudence are their general character. Their education is a bad one. "A tree is known by its fruits."
It would be easy to cite instances and multiply proofs in support of the position that our native difficulty is not owing to positive injustice, but a failure in management. Whatever have been the mistakes of the colonial authorities they are not responsible for the war, which had begun before they had any power to prevent it, and was the effect of causes in operation for a long time antecedently. Never was the case more desperate than it is now. For nine years we have had warfare, and we are likely to have it nine years more, unless effective measures be at once taken for its suppression. It is not my place to criticise the doings of our men ia office. My belief is that they do not lack talent so much as virtue, and that no men are fit to be trusted with such power if the vigilant eye of well-formed public opinion be not upon them. But this I say, no mere compromise will secure peace. The safety of settlers can never be guaranteed until law is impartially administered among all classes, Maori and pakeha alike, and magistrates become "a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well." This must be done. How it is to be done, is another question. If I felt competent to solve it, I should be stepping out of my province to do so. I may be thought to have ventured too far already. Some may question whether, as a Christian minister, I ought to deal with such things at all. On the other hand, as a Christian minister, I think I occupy a vantage ground, for I subscribe to no political creed, and have no personal or party object to serve. But in a great public question, affecting as it does not only the whole community, including both races, but also the interests of posterity, and the religious character of the people, I say, on such a question every one has a right to speak, and especially every father of a family, whose children must, for weal or woe, inherit the legacy which we bequeath them in relation to this country. There are certain great principles of action which anyone may discern, but under present embarrassments to devise an effective native policy will tax the genius of the ablest statesmen. No policy can be effective until it establish the supremacy of law instead of the sword. I despair of a "consummation so devoutly to be wished" until the public mind wakes up to the naked reality of the case, and through its representatives, resolutely puts down revolt, and then adopts plans for the elevation of the people. Spasmodic fighting will not do this. It will perpetuate irritation, provoke reprisals, and keep the country in continual alarm. By the stern logic of facts the Maori must bow to our superiority. Until then we shall not have from them that respect without which it is a degradation to dwell among them. Settlers of former days will tell you in what terms of amity they lived with their Maori neighbours; but times have altered. At the risk of any odium I would stand forth in the defence of an oppressed Maori; on the same principle, I now sympathise with the down-trodden pakeha. I wonder not at the strong expressions we sometimes read in our public journals. There is danger of a popular indignation, too sweeping in its range. The sooner we can dismiss the idea of race from our minds the better. "One law for all." I believe, even now, such a proclamation would be gladly hailed by a large majority of the natives, if they could only be persuaded to believe it. "Honour all men" is a precept of the highest authority. The Maori, with all his faults, is our fellow-man; and our common manhood, whether in a white or brown skin, has its rights. Under better influences our Maori brother will prove himself equally worthy with ourselves. It will be a tremendous evil if a people of such capabilities be doomed to destruction. Let us hope not. On our young men a great task will devolve. This work will not be speedily done. The sine qua non to tranquillity and order is the suppression of anarchy. Money and men will be needed for this; and that to no little extent. My deep conviction goes with the great heart of public opinion that this ought, in
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common justice, to be supplied by the Imperial Government, from whose action the necessity has arisen, but I am also convinced that it will have to be done by the colony itself. The work will tax its resources, its patriotism, and its patience. By the natives generally we are regarded as a people physically, if not mentally, inferior to themselves. Numerous tribes assume a threatening position of armed neutrality, while furious bands are in open rupture and give no quarter to age or sex; and, more dangerous still, there are many who accept our pay, but work for our enemies. We have lost our prestige everywhere, so that our interference is not desired even in districts which are at peace. We may complacently call them our allies, but if our authority were required, against them they would set it at a haughty defiance. A section of the Maori youth have developed into reckless desperadoes, under the training they have received from early boyhood in combat with our own troops, they will now shoot pakehas with the same zest with which they formerly hunted pigs. They will never yield. Their blood is up. Moulded by savage warfare they have become, according to St. Peter, "as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed." Sharp, precocious children are springing up who with their mother's milk imbibe the spirit of hatred and contempt for the alien race, and may be expected, under the present state of things, to acquire a settled enmity towards the whites. These evils are germinative. They will grow with their growth. If we look beneath the surface, we see the seed of future troubles. To our young men, then, and most of all to our Christian young men, I would say: "Think on these things." No temporising--no vindictiveness--no rashness. Let the errors of the past be the beacons for the future. "Quit you like men: be strong." Prepare yourselves for emergencies, and you will overcome them. Be not lulled into a false security by specious appearances. In town and country every young man should be self-reliant. I am not recommending a war-spirit, but that decision which is necessary to peace. If the Maoris believed that every pakeha was well armed, had strong nerves, and was a dead shot, it would fill them with unbounded respect for him. The superstructure of this colony will have to be built up, as were the walls of Jerusalem in troublous times, when "every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon." Our great want is that of a leader possessing the courage, the wisdom, and piety of Nehemiah. Then, without the aid of foreign troops, the work would be done, and we might say again that "when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eves, for they perceived that the work was wrought of our God." Nehemiah drew his inspiration from a higher source than that of worldly policy; and so must we. Prayer was a powerful element in his success; and it must be so in ours. Like Nehemiah, every one of us should "pray before the God of heaven," but never on this account relax effort. He did not expect God in answer to prayer to interpose a miracle. He relied under His blessing on the valour of the strong arm, "for this people had a mind to work." A spirit of true patriotism is required. Party squabbles must give way to united action. Let Nelson's famous motto be our watchword--New Zealand "expects every man to do his duty." Then there will be hope. But let the warning be taken in time. The worst of the war is not over. The conquest of the disaffected has become a stern necessity, and this, as Colonel Browne said, cannot be done with rosewater. A military gentleman said to me not long ago, "The war will subside in a year or two from exhaustion." Subside! yes; if you restore Waikato and all other confiscated lands; pardon murderers, as well as all other outrages; and for all the future let independent chiefs establish aukatis, and levy black mail on defenceless travellers and peaceful settlers at their pleasure! If this is to be the price of something called peace, will Englishmen submit to a humiliation so degrading? Then I would desire to renounce the name. For twenty years I lived among the Maoris, and found no difficulty in maintaining my selfrespect. Were that my lot again I would do the same, or "shake off the dust of my feet against them," though with the sacrifice of all I had. I can admit Maoris to be my friends, but not to be my masters. I feel profoundly for those who now live among them in isolated homes. I am no alarmist. But I cannot hide from myself the certainty of further depredations. Nothing is worse than panic, and nothing so productive of panic as surprise. While such a combination as that called "kingism" exists, the colony is on the edge of a volcano; and whenever fit occasion offers they will strike a blow which will create dismay. Woe to our settlers if they be unprepared! A policy, wise, bold, and patient, is urgently demanded. I commend the subject to our young men--to our Christian young men! The principles of good government, I repeat, are not recondite--they are immutable. What applies to a similar state of things elsewhere will be equally sound here. The other day I met with some pertinent remarks in the Quarterly in a review of a recent and interesting work by Trench, on "The Realities of Irish Life." Allow me to produce an extract:-- "Kindly and considerate personal treatment; the patient consideration and the prompt removal, not of every pleaded grievance, but of every distinct injustice and every irritating wrong; and, when this is done, the inflexible administration of established law, the vigilant and unremitting prosecution of established law, the vigilant and unremitting prosecution of every man who violates or defies it, the peremptory suppression of the first symptoms of armed or organised resistance, and a course of language and action by both Government and Legislature which shall convince all malcontents that nothing can be gained by rebellion, or will ever be yielded to menace;--this is the true way to
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deal with Ireland, and the only way which either deserves or will obtain success." These sentiments are worthy of our regard. Let them influence our future relations to the Maoris, and sooner or later this Jerusalem will be a "quiet habitation." I confess it seems to me a poor, heartless thing for the Home Government to leave the infant colony to struggle unaided against tremendous difficulties, in quelling an insurrection they had no hand in fomenting. The task is an arduous one. Eventually it will come into the hands of the present generation of young men. But your very difficulties, if manfully overcome, will exalt you. Cherish not the fierceness of excited passions, for "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." You must be men--every whit of you manly: and true manliness strikes its roots deep down into the truth of God. Hereafter the din of war shall cease--the yell of the bloodthirsty and cruel man shall be silenced; then "violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders." I pray God to hasten it! With respect to the means that are to be adopted, let it be engraven on your minds, your hearts, and your lives, that "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."
Printed by CHARLES WILLIAMSON, O'Connell Street, Auckland.
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