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urged to allay it, by declaring, publicly and officially, that no land whatever should be seized. This he refused to do, on the ground that such an assurance would be an admission, and be a reflection on Lord Grey. The Secretary of State was to be tenderly used, but the Colony forgotten.
Much angry correspondence ensued; the Governor firing despatches against everybody, the Bishop and the Chief Justice included, in defence of the Secretary of State, even going so far as to deny the existence of turmoil among the natives; an assertion which was rebutted by the Bishop in words that would have been designated by Touchstone as the "reproof valiant:"--"If, then," says the Bishop, "on that particular 7th July, on which your Excellency's two despatches and my protest were forwarded, there was no existing ground for apprehension, that day can only be looked upon as a happy interval of repose, preceded and followed by fears on the same subject, and in the same quarters;"--as ingenious a mode of offering a flat contradiction, without transgressing the bounds of courtesy, as could be well imagined. Lord Grey indited a waspish despatch against the Bishop, presently followed by an apology, in which, however, the main question was still avoided.
The Chief Justice did not come off scatheless; though not, as was predicted, removed from office. But the requisite impression had been made at the Colonial Office. They shrank from enforcing their own commands.
The general result was this: that a native outbreak against what Lord Grey was pleased to term "the mere expression of an opinion," was averted, though at one time imminent, by the joint efforts of the Bishop and the Missionaries, and their assurance that the Royal Instructions would not be acted on. The Governor, notwithstanding his declaration of their harmlessness, never attempted to bring them into force; they lay dormant, though still a disgrace to the New Zealand Statute Book, 1 until superseded by the Constitution
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Act of 1852. But the Governor had relieved the Secretary of State from the mortification of having to confess a wrong-headed and improvident mistake.
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As usual, when trouble was impending, Archdeacon Henry's aid was sought. On receipt of the Instructions, Bishop Selwyn looked to the Archdeacon as his right hand man; and though he evidently felt that he was getting himself, together with all who might follow him, into political difficulty, he writes as a man who was satisfied that his coadjutor would not flinch.
Bishop Selwyn to Archdeacon Henry Williams.
St. John's College, June 30, 1847.
My dear Archdeacon,--A letter from Lord Grey to his Excellency Captain Grey, which has lately arrived, and which you have probably seen in the public newspapers, distinctly denies the right of the New Zealanders to their unoccupied lands,--in entire violation, as I conceive, of the Treaty of Waitangi.
As you were commissioned by Captain Hobson to interpret and explain the treaty to the natives, both in the North and the South, and were expressly directed by him in his official letter, not to allow any one to sign till he fully understood it, I hereby request you to inform me in writing what you explained to the natives, and how they understood it.
I cannot let the matter rest here; and that I am resolved to act with you and the other members of the Mission in defence of the treaty, you may gather from the following Petition which I have prepared, and shall place in the hands of a confidential friend in England, to be used whenever he shall find that I have been forced by my duty to the natives' interest into a position incompatible
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with my tenure of salary from Government. Of course, you will consider the document private, and intended only to give you some encouragement in a matter which must distress you even more than me.
"To the Honourable the Commons House of Parliament.
"The Honourable Petition of George Augustus, by Divine Permission Bishop of New Zealand,
"That (reciting the date and terms of the treaty).
"That (reciting the repeated approbation of it by her Majesty's Government).
"That the following clergymen in this diocese, members of the Church Mission, the Revs. H. Williams, W. Williams, A. N. Brown, R. Maunsell, R. Taylor, were actively employed by Captain Hobson in interpreting and explaining to the native chiefs the principle and object of the treaty, which (in Captain Hobson's words to the Rev. H. Williams) 'they must clearly understand before you permit them to sign.'
"That, upon the literal construction of the words of the treaty above quoted, and the repeated declarations of her Majesty's Government at home and in New Zealand, and upon the uniform assurance of the clergymen employed as interpreters, I have felt it my duty to deny most positively and emphatically the accusations brought against the English Government in my nearing in all parts of New Zealand,----of a concealed intention to appropriate to itself, without satisfaction or payment, the whole of the unoccupied lands of the native people.
"That, having thus united myself with the clergy of the Church Mission in one distinct declaration, upon the truth or falsehood of which our credit and influence with the native people must stand or fall, and being unable to see any other just or intelligible construction of the Treaty of Waitangi than that which we have uniformly maintained; and being resolved, so help me God, to use all legal and constitutional measures, befitting my station, to uphold every right and privilege guaranteed to the natives of New Zealand by the Treaty of Waitangi, and belonging to them as British subjects.
"I hereby humbly request your Honourable House that if it shall be the pleasure of the Imperial Parliament to set aside the Treaty of Waitangi, or to carry into execution any other construction of it than that which we have uniformly explained to the native people, your Honourable House will be pleased to release me from my position as an Officer of the Colonial Government, by discontinuing the annual vote for the payment of my salary as Bishop of New Zealand."
You will conclude that I mean to act, and I have no doubt of the
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co-operation of you and all the other members of the Mission. With kind remembrances to Mrs. Williams and all yours,
Your affectionate Friend and Brother,
G. A. NEW ZEALAND.
By the Archdeacon's reply, it will be seen that he was not blind to the risk incurred by taking a prominent part in the matter. He knew well that the Mission was followed by the deep enmity of the New Zealand Company; that Lord Grey was engaged in carrying out the Company's doctrines; and that the disfavour of a Secretary of State is likely to be productive of ill result; but he did not then know, what he subsequently learned to his cost, that Governor Grey would consider it his duty to stand up for his official chief. The Archdeacon's own duty was manifest,--to stand up for the treaty--that is to say, for the Colony, and he did so. It will presently be seen that when, in after times, he appealed to Lord Grey's sense of justice for an open enquiry into charges that had been brought against the Mission, he was refused, not in the language of official courtesy, but with pointed and sarcastic affront.
Archdeacon Henry Williams to the Bishop.
Paihia, July 12, 1847.
Your letter of the 30th June I have just received, and hasten to reply by the return of the "Albert." ,
Earl Grey's despatch to his Excellency the Governor I have seen, and am truly grieved to find that the Queen of Great Britain can be thus dishonoured. I have always maintained to the aborigines that her Majesty's word was sacred and inviolable. This treaty between her Majesty the Queen and the chiefs of this country was made in the presence of the whole world, and now, by the flourish of the pen of her Majesty's Minister, seems to be revoked and scattered to the winds. In like manner as Tahiti, so is New Zealand to fall a sacrifice to the avaricious designs of a company, whose views are said to be confirmed by royal mandate after a public and unexpected indignity towards her Majesty the Queen. I cannot be surprised at the very light estimate in which the Missionaries are held who took so prominent a part in the explanations of this treaty between her Majesty and the chiefs of New Zealand. That we should fall a sacrifice, may be desired, but there are further points for consideration: the extermination of the native race, with proportional numbers of British subjects, who must fall with the aborigines in their struggle for freedom. As I was satisfied
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that I was discharging my duty as a loyal subject of her Majesty, and as a faithful Pastor of the aborigines, I executed the duty requested of me by her Majesty's representative. Captain Hobson, and am now prepared for consequences. As I did explain the nature of the treaty in 1840, I must continue to explain, in self-defence; for I must not be accessory to such deception, but continue to stand upon the treaty alone.
By what we have seen, we may infer what will be the extent of indignation of the most faithful of native allies, when they find they have been thus deluded, and made the dupes of such duplicity, after such repeated assurance made to them, in her Majesty's name, of her Majesty's determination to preserve faithfully the treaty entered into with those at Waitangi in 1840, strengthened by that shew of friendship towards some of the chiefs, which now they must read with a clearer understanding.
I feel thankful that your Lordship has noticed this most painful and humiliating subject. Of our support your Lordship may be fully assured.
My view of the Treaty of Waitangi is, as it ever was, that it was the Magna Charta of the aborigines of New Zealand.
Your Lordship has requested information in writing of what I explained to the natives, and how they understood it. I confined myself solely to the tenor of the treaty.
That the Queen had kind wishes towards the chiefs and people of New Zealand,
And was desirous to protect them in their rights as chiefs, and rights of property,
And that the Queen was desirous that a lasting peace and good understanding should be preserved with them.
That the Queen had thought it desirable to send a Chief as a regulator of affairs with the natives of New Zealand.
That the native chiefs should admit the Government of the Queen throughout the country, from the circumstance that numbers of her subjects are residing in the country, and are coming hither from Europe and New South Wales.
That the Queen is desirous to establish a settled government, to prevent evil occurring to the natives and Europeans who are now residing in New Zealand without law.
That the Queen therefore proposes to the chiefs these following articles:
Firstly,--The chiefs shall surrender to the Queen for ever the Government of the country, for the preservation of order and peace.
Secondly,--The Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and tribes, and to each individual native, their full rights as chiefs, their rights of possession of their lands, and all their other property of every kind and degree.
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The chiefs wishing to sell any portion of their lands shall give to the Queen the right of pre-emption of their lands.
Thirdly,--That the Queen, in consideration of the above, will protect the natives of New Zealand, and will impart to them all the rights and privileges of British subjects.
The Instruction of Captain Hobson was, "not to allow any one to sign the treaty till he fully understood it;" to which instruction I did most strictly attend. I explained the treaty clause by clause at the signing of the same, and again to all the natives in this part of the Island previously to the destruction of Kororareka, on March 11, 1845; I maintained the faith of the treaty and the integrity of the British Government, and that the word of her Majesty was sacred, and could not be violated.
That the natives to whom I explained the treaty understood the nature of the same, there can be no doubt; for by this explanation alone I was enabled to give considerable check to the proceedings of the natives in arms, and to suppress the irritation excited by unprincipled Europeans as to the intention of her Majesty's Government, who had spread the report that the country was seized in her Majesty's name. By this explanation many tribes remained neutral, and others acted with the troops as allies of the British military force. I do further state that, until the very minute explanation given by me at a large meeting of the Ngapuhi chiefs in Paroa, in January, 1845, Waka and other friendly chiefs were perfectly confounded as to the intention of the Government. My explanation relieved their mind, and preserved order.
I feel at a perfect loss how to act, having repeatedly promised to the chiefs that, should there be danger of their fears being realised, I would state the same to them. I have boldly and fearlessly pleaded the honour and integrity of her Majesty's Government; when that has evaporated, what is to be done? To allow the natives to continue in ignorance, appears to me he tino mea kohuru.
The active part taken in this matter by the Mission did not tend to diminish the dislike towards them which Lord Grey shared with the New Zealand Company. His opportunity came at last; and, as will presently be seen, he was not slow to seize it.
Sensitive to the extreme on questions affecting personal honour, Henry Williams was unable to rest under the imputations that were being heaped upon him. But here he was in difficulty. At this time his desire was to give way to the Bishop's opinion;
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and the Bishop had an aversion to any appeal to the public press. But something had to be done. In conjunction with his brother, Archdeacon William Williams, he drew up a concise statement of the main points at issue, entituled "Plain Facts." The statement was printed, but not published. Half measures are always a mistake. The Archdeacon had better have followed his own judgment, which was unerring. Even the compiler of this Memoir, though a very mole for unearthing hidden facts from under ground, was surprised, years after, by parts of the statement, when allowed to peruse it. Though no longer required for the vindication of character, it is now published for the first time, at the end of this volume, as a contribution to the early history of the Colony. 2 The mildness of expression by which the statement is distinguished is attributable to the coadjutor in the work. But every line may defy dispute.
Archdeacon William Williams to Henry Williams.
Turanga, June 26, 1847.
I have been very busy of late writing out your papers, and now, I am thankful to say, I have come to an end. A duplicate copy is made out, which I send by Mr. Baker to Auckland, who is obliged to go there to take his sick wife for medical advice. You will perceive that I have availed myself of the licence you gave me to cut off and add on as I might think proper. I have therefore omitted certain smaller matters, which would rather hinder the general effect. You would not fire leaden bullets against a stone wall. In looking over the various documents which I brought with me, I have selected a few of importance, which you had not noticed; there is nothing in the production, as it now stands, of an offensive nature; it is purely defensive, but I think may perhaps vastly annoy those who find they have committed themselves. The three principal points are, I think, well supported, and if other people are of the same mind with myself, they will be convinced that the Missionaries have been grievously dealt with, but most particularly yourself. Your letter to Major Bridge is most strong upon the point of giving information to the Government; it is not inserted, but you can have it, if thought proper. I hope that you and Mr. Busby will well consider every point, and note anything that occurs in the way of improvement. Was not Huarahi killed? and was he pikopo or heathen? Also Tihurangi, what was he? Look
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over the thick book of Parliamentary Papers for the schedule of land claimed by Missionaries. We have nothing to do, of course, with persons not now in the Mission. I think the London merchants in their petition, when they talked of 193,000 acres, must have taken names at random; certainly they have very much more than we know anything about. The Governor may talk of taking away the land, but I imagine he will have some difficulty to recover the award of the Commissioners, confirmed by the late Governor, the grants withal having been given into the hands of the claimants.
Now for the matter of publication. You say in a letter to Dr. Davies that these documents are to be sent home for publication by the Church Mission Society. This I must object to after such statements as the Governor is fond of making; we must have the matter met upon the spot. Besides which, the Society might act as they did with my letters, and who would be the wiser? How can a person lift up his head in Auckland, if he is to be pointed at as one of the authors of all the troubles which have befallen the country for the last three years? Our case is a good one, and let the world be made acquainted with it. You too have done the state some service, and I would let them know it.
Perhaps ------ may not choose to print it; but there are more printers than one. I think it likely the Bishop may propose some negotiation between himself and the Governor. I object to it. Will the Governor, though convinced, make any open retractation which you can use? Not he, indeed. He is not made of such material. If the Bishop makes any objection, I shall tell him (coolly though) that it is the only condition on which I will remain in the country, that we be allowed freely to meet the charges made. The only point on which I consent to receive his opinion is with reference to any thing which might be considered harsh, which I am sure there is not. Some of our own people will, perhaps, recommend a less public course, but we shall not ask their opinion.
I should like to be behind the scenes when the Governor gets hold of the document. He will be, I think, very whakatakariri [vexed].
THE ALLIANCE OF BISHOP AND GOVERNOR.
We have now to put forth upon troubled waters,--to narrate those proceedings which culminated in the dismissal of Henry Williams from the service of the Church Mission Society. Hitherto, his career had been one of unbroken prosperity; that is to say, of continuous success among perils and troubles that
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weighed as nothing in the other scale, and were powerless to disturb the happiness of a life that courted them in the discharge of duty. Now, he had to contend with imputations the most galling that could be brought against an honourable man, of abusing his clerical influence with interested motives, of "extreme untruth," of covetousness and evil-speaking, of treachery to the "suffering and complaining natives," 3 and of treason to the Crown.
Not but that loose invective had been directed against him before, often enough and loudly enough; but never, till now, by any whose position commanded attention, compelling notice and reply. 4 Reply, not necessarily from himself; for the Bishop was the natural champion of the Mission, and was implicitly trusted. Behind his broad shield the Archdeacon could have rested, leaving the Governor to exhaust himself in fruitless attack. But suddenly, a new state of things arose. The Bishop, without warning, suddenly wheeled round upon the Mission, and assailed them himself. The effect upon the mind was, to borrow a comparison from Hallam, "that of coming on deck at sea, and finding that, the ship having put about, the whole line of coast is reversed to the eye."
Thoroughly to rip up the whole question, taking every point in detail, would be an easy task. But to say so much as is absolutely required, and no more, implies an exercise of judgment that the writer may be unable to attain. On the one side, there is a reluctance (felt not only by the author, but by those around him) to revive old griefs,--to give any annoyance that can be spared, even to wrong-doers; on the other side, the duty of making plain at least so much as will prove that Archdeacon Williams took the only course that lay open to him, consistently with rectitude and with honour. As it happens, however, the necessity of proving again what has been proved already, is not urgent. During the heat of the conflict, when less delicacy was observed,--for no reparation
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had then been made, each several point at issue was examined with extreme severity, every machination brought to light. 5 I shall therefore not much encumber a settled question with repetition of argument, but merely notice the main counts of the indictment, stating the general results.
The plain fact is, that Henry Williams was sacrificed to a political combination, which included the New Zealand Company; Lord Grey, their patron; 6 Governor Grey, Bishop Selwyn, and the Church Mission Society. Against these odds, in a struggle for the character of the Mission, and for nothing else, he fought, and ultimately won. Put in this plain form, the proposition is startling; but every word shall be made good.
The fons et origo malorum was, the Company's profit upon land sales. These depended upon their being able to sell at £1 an acre in the South; and they feared being undersold by Government grantees, of whose acquisitions they had formed exaggerated ideas in the North. The question was, how to destroy the grants.
It must be admitted that, to a young man seeking advancement, the winning the support of so powerful a body was a temptation. And this much is certain, that Governor Grey did not display open hostility to the Mission until after receiving the deputation from the South. Moreover, at that early period of his New Zealand career, his knowledge of the colony was very imperfect. It suffices to say, that he was absorbed into the league.
How Bishop Selwyn, in the face of his repeated declaration that, as Bishop, he had no right to interfere with private property, came to join the league, must remain an open question, though little doubt need be entertained. It is understood by those best qualified to judge, that his desire was to get the young men of the mission families into his power, by hindering them from acquiring independence. For they were the cultivators, and the real
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possessors of the land. As independent proprietors, they might-please themselves; having nothing, they would be compelled to enter the Church for a living. "Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priest's offices, that I may eat a piece of bread." In hope of attaining his own object, collaterally, he lent his powerful aid to others in the more general attainment of a political object,--the sacrifice of the whole body of grantees, lay and clerical together.
The Church Mission Society behaved well at first. 7 They had already defended the land purchases, ably and unanswerably. It had been not only their interest, but their duty, to relieve their funds from the expense of maintaining the mission families. So soon as an outcry was raised, they passed resolutions, concerning the disposition of these lands, which were thankfully agreed to by the Mission. But the outcry continued still, and the Church Mission Society lost heart. With full and ample knowledge of facts, lacking nothing but courage to make good what they had hitherto maintained, they sacrificed the Mission to the prejudices of a Secretary of State; and through him, to the political and material interests of the New Zealand Company. They passed a second set of resolutions, in direct contradiction to the first, requiring compliance with the Governor's behest, under penalty of dismissal.
Such were the forces arrayed. But why, it may be fairly asked, seeing that the Company's animosity had been to the whole body of grantees, was the attack so closely concentrated upon the Mission? The reason is simple:--because their calling made them specially assailable. Accusations which would have been laughed at by ordinary settlers could not be so treated by these. The Mission might therefore be terrified, by rancour of accusation, into unconditional surrender of the grants. After that, a breach
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having been once made, the rest of the grantees might be dealt with at advantage.
In this, the assailants over-reached themselves. An overdose of poison may fail in effect, through causing immediate rejection.
It suffices for the present to state the fact, that heavy charges, involving not only derelictions of duty, but even loss of personal honour were raised against the Mission. But the very weight of those charges upset the scheme. The Mission were compelled to change front. Henceforward the question became, no longer of land, but of character. Archdeacon Williams undertook to abandon the land to the Government, on the one condition, that Governor Grey should either substantiate, or fully and honourably retract his charges against the Mission. From this position he never moved one inch.
To return to the opening of the attack. The first move in active operations was taken by the Governor. In an unlucky hour for himself, he indited a "secret and confidential" despatch 8 to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Gladstone, in which he attributed the war in the North to Governor FitzRoy's grants, and charged the Mission with being accessory to the shedding of human blood for the possession of land.
When Lord Grey came into office, he made the despatch public, 9 transmitting it to the Church Mission Society, who sent it on to New Zealand, where it found its way into the public press. There it was subjected to extreme severity of comment.
The despatch was challenged forthwith by Archdeacon Henry Williams, as leader of the Mission. He addressed seven questions to the Governor, raising the several points at issue. These were treated with prudent disdain; not even acknowledgment of receipt was made.
The despatch was harmless in New Zealand, where the causes of the war were known; but its effect was, to unsettle the minds of
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the Society. They passed what are commonly known as the "Conciliatory Resolutions," directing their Missionaries to accept the joint decision of the Bishop and the Governor, as to the amount of land to be retained for their own use and benefit, and leaving them at liberty to dispose of the remaining portion, if not disputed by the natives, at pleasure.
The grantees accepted cordially; they went further than was required, being willing to retain none "for their own use and benefit;" thus leaving no question for the arbitration of the Bishop and Governor. Even had they done otherwise, no award could have been made, for the Governor declined 10 to act as arbitrator with the Bishop.
The Society's resolutions did not suit either the Governor, or the Bishop. The one wanted the land; the other, to deprive the families. It now became evident that the abstract objection to the personal occupation of land by Missionaries was only a colourable plea for attack; otherwise the attack must have ceased with the cause of complaint.
The Mission had looked up to the Bishop as their champion; but they found him a willing ally to the Governor. They had placed too wide a meaning upon his abnegation of all right, "as Bishop," to interfere with private property; 11 not perceiving that the words left room for an important reservation; that they did not exclude his right to interfere as a citizen,--a [Greek]POLITIS; that is to say, politically. It must be admitted that the Mission were careless in this, though not culpably so; believing in the Bishop as they did, they cared not overnicely to scrutinise his words.
The Bishop and the Governor now took the matter into their own hands, superseding the Society's Resolutions. Archdeacon
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Williams took his stand upon those resolutions. The Governor applied, formally, 12 to the Bishop for aid; the Bishop responded to the call. Taking the Mission by surprise, he also brought up grave charges, which he undertook to prove; "but earnestly desired to be spared the painful duty by their quiet acquiescence in the Governor's proposal."
Archdeacon Williams 13 was thus required to comply, under threat of exposure. The Bishop himself had thus rendered compliance impossible. But when the Archdeacon, taking the Bishop at his word, required him to prove, the Bishop refused to prove. Failing to intimidate, he became of opinion that the proper time for proof had not yet come. And, to this day, it never has come.
The grantees had taken their stand upon the Society's resolutions. The Bishop met them by suggesting another "reading" of the resolutions. He argued that the Society expected a "sacrifice to be made," and that the transfer to sons and daughters 14 was no sacrifice; assuming their material interests to be identical with those of the father, notwithstanding Mr. Williams' declaration that, "from the farm, he had never received one shilling." 15 The Bishop's change of tactics was on the hasty assumption that if the grantees could be driven from one standpoint, namely, the arrangement enjoined by
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the Society and accepted by the grantees, there would be none other to retreat upon. It was forgotten that the question of "character" remained behind; that the surrender of a foot of land, unconditionally, was a surrender of honour.
Archdeacon Williams, bent upon his own condition,--"substantiation or retractation of the Governor's charges," treated the Bishop's "reading" as of little moment. He was willing to accept it, "however opposed to his own judgment," so soon as his own condition should be complied with. Urged to invert the terms, to suit convenience of the Bishop's engagements, and partly by the Bishop's pledge to institute the fullest enquiry, he consented to do so; accepting the Bishop's "reading," then and there, but expressly refusing to accept the Governor's terms until the Governor should have complied with the condition. 16 There are some who have unblushingly construed this into an "unconditional surrender;" and have thereupon accused the Archdeacon of violating a solemn pledge. No comment is required upon the fact that the Archdeacon's acceptance was presently quoted, without the condition attached to it.
The "new reading" had failed. The Bishop then sought to effect a compromise between the Archdeacon and the Governor. Here he was at a disadvantage. Having himself brought charges against the Mission, he could not press the Governor in earnest. He obtained from the Archdeacon four specific queries, for the Governor's answers, aye or no. These hit the points at issue, and therefore did not suit the Governor. The Bishop returned them, suggesting four pointless queries, plausibly drawn, but which the Governor could have signed. For neither did they substantiate or retract.
Upon the substitution of the pointless queries, the question may be said to turn. It became manifest that the Bishop's first object was, not to vindicate the Mission, but to shield the Governor. Trust had been destroyed, and all fell in.
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The Bishop, not knowing his man, had made a false move. The Archdeacon considered himself betrayed, and retired; but was presently summoned by the Bishop, who, with much severity of language, insisted upon an unconditional surrender of the deeds. This demand, being a breach of all terms and engagements, put an end to mediation. From that time forward, the Bishop's interference was rejected. The Archdeacon met the demand by a point-blank refusal, and returned to his schooner, then at anchor in Auckland harbour.
But he did more than refuse to surrender the deeds. A statement having come down from the Bay that the Governor had been speaking with native converts, telling them that the Missionaries had tahae-d [stolen] their lands, with more to the same effect, he wrote from on board to the Bishop, requesting that the subject might never be mentioned to him again. His sentiments were changed; he would no longer even make a condition. He had no land; if the Bishop desired further negotiation, he must refer to the sons, who were of age, and could speak for themselves.
Baulked in negotiation by the question of "character," which barred the road across, the Governor resorted to the Courts of law, proceeding by writ of scire facias against Mr. Clarke. The defendant remained passive, instructing his solicitor merely to enter an appearance, out of respect for the Court, but on no account to urge the case. In fact, he declined litigation with the Government. The Court went into the question on its merits, and by judgment, given June 24, 1848, Mr. Clarke's title was declared valid. 17
The Governor had been beaten off; but the Bishop persevered, and the Church Mission Society, beguiled from the straight course, passed resolutions contradictory to those of 1847, requiring Archdeacon Williams' consent to the Bishop's proposal, 18 under pain of
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dismissal. They manifestly had no power to depart from terms once offered and accepted; and, even setting that aside, they had no right to stand between any man and the vindication of his character. But they did; the Archdeacon refused to sacrifice that character, and was accordingly dismissed.
The question was not suffered thus to end. Certain of the laity took it up, in the public press, arguing the matter so long and so exhaustively,--making it so hot for all who had been concerned in the dismissal, that the Society, indisposed to retract, were at last driven to an attempt at substantiation. They composed a pamphlet, for private circulation; 19 as strange a mass of error as ever was penned. The descent from generalities to particulars was fatal to their case. Every charge was forthwith scattered to the winds; and tardy justice had at last to be done. The dismissal was revoked.
This outline statement, anticipating several years, is to be taken only as a clue to correspondence which will be given at greater length. Every point in it has been made good, long since, elsewhere. Those who still take personal interest in the question know where to look for details, lavishly supplied, 20 But vindication, point by point, is no longer a necessity.
We return to the Archdeacon's journal, for the purpose of connecting leading events by date.
July 16, 1847. The party from Hokianga arrived to go to Whanganui. Long conversation with one of the leading men as to Rauparaha's imprisonment. He could not give me the reason; 21 he did not know, neither did any of the Maories.
August 1. Heard from Auckland. Kawiti had been down there to learn whether there was any truth in what the pakeha had said of Lord Grey's letters.
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August 3. The anniversary of our arrival in New Zealand, twenty-five years since; a period of many mercies, of many trials and perplexities, from our own countrymen, and some from the natives.
August 7. Lord Grey's letter generally known among the natives; many reports.
August 13. On my return home, received the public letter 22 from the Church Mission Society, exposing the conduct of his Excellency the Governor. Took the letter to Mr. Busby. Mr. Clarke from the Waimate; much conversation on the letter.
August 16. The Bishop had arrived from New Plymouth, and called upon us to accompany him to Auckland. Much conversation. 23
August 17. Mr. Clendon called; shewed the Blood and Treasure despatch to him: much startled.
August 18. Sailed with light wind.
August 19. Near the Poor Knights. After breakfast had long conversation with the Bishop on matters to bring before the Committee.
August 21. Landed at Taurarua [Sir William Martin's place].
It now becomes time to speak more particularly of the ill-fated alliance between the Bishop and the Governor. Up to this time, implicit reliance had been placed on the Bishop, as the natural champion of the Mission. Not a word had escaped him to shew what thoughts were maturing in his mind. To the astonishment of the Archdeacon, he shewed forth as an opponent. During the voyage he had been, if possible, more bland than ever; but was observed to be busily engaged in writing. Archdeacon Williams' admiration was, if possible, enhanced; not a moment of time lost from duty, even by a landsman subject to the disturbing influence of a rolling sea. Little was it dreamed what sort of writing he was busied about; but in due time--
-- verbosa et grandis epistola venit
At the College, an elaborate letter was put into the Archdeacon's
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hand, of extreme severity, with demand for an immediate reply, 24 by which it appeared that the Bishop was about to support the Governor, in his charges against the Mission. It now appeared, that he had held opinions 25 throughout, concerning land, of which the Mission were altogether unaware. They had been hoarded up; it may be said of the Bishop, as of the jealousy of Virgil's Juno--
-- manet alia mente refiostum
Till now, the Bishop had kept his grief to himself; but confidence might have been retained, had he at an earlier period informed the Mission of his views. Whatever may have been the object of reticence, a grave mistake was made. It was the pouncing upon the Mission with the spring of the wild cat, that destroyed trust for evermore. Of course, the effect of a blow is doubled by surprise: his Lordship may have thought to astonish into submission; but he knew not yet with what stubborn John Bullism he had to deal.
The Bishop's interference was consequent,--formally at least, upon a letter 26 from the Governor, inviting it. Governor Grey took upon himself to affirm that the grants were illegal; and, to the best of his deliberately formed judgment, opposed to the rights of the natives. That he felt it his duty to take immediate measures for having these grants set aside by the Civil Courts;
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but that by so doing, the cause of religion might be deeply injured. 27 He therefore sought the Bishop's aid towards inducing the grantees to return the surplus land to the original native owners. 28
The request was couched in the following words.
Your Lordship has often aided me in my difficult duties in this country, would you do so once more to this extent; that is, if you think the offer of the Government sufficiently liberal, and you see in the same light that I do the dangers which are likely to ensue to Christianity from the measures I must pursue if the Missionaries refuse to accept this offer. Would your Lordship interfere so far as to communicate the contents of this letter to them, and then recommend them to adopt the course I have pointed out, or some similar one.
The official "communication" of the Governor's letter will be noted, as bearing upon one of the reckless charges which were brought against the Archdeacon. His Excellency wound up with the following extraordinary words:--
They will all, I hope, bear in mind that I am not responsible for any remark which may result from the publication of my private despatch of 25th June, 1846. 29
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This "private despatch," was the well-known "blood and treasure," made public by Lord Grey. The "remarks" were those
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directed by the public press, with unsparing severity, against the Governor himself; not against the Missionaries, as His Excellency, by disclaiming the responsibility, would intimate.
It has been seriously denied that the Governor's letter was a request for clerical influence towards the accomplishment of a political purpose. If there be any meaning in this, it means, that the Bishop's influence was not necessarily "clerical;" an argument which I leave to the neglect which it deserves.
But there are certain collateral matters connected with this letter, which cannot be passed without remark. The Governor's letter to the Bishop found its way into a newspaper. The Archdeacon's extreme sensitiveness as to personal honour was known, and here was a second chance for a hit that would be felt. An attempt, as will be shewn in due course, was made to designate him as the agent.
Now, in the first place, neither the Archdeacon, nor any other of the Mission, had anything whatever to do with that publication; in the second place, a more arrant piece of nonsence than the building up a charge upon the fact, was never conceived. The letter, concerning a political question, was on public service. And there is an end of the matter. But, were the assailants really unable to perceive that, even on the assumption of privacy, the stamp of privacy had been taken off? In the very letter itself, the Governor, unconditionally, without reserve, requests the Bishop to "communicate" its contents to the Missionaries. From the moment of such communication--which the Bishop had no choice but to make, or else return the letter to the writer with a request that he would communicate the same himself--it became their property; as fully as if addressed by the Colonial Secretary to the Missionaries themselves. It became "a broad letter," an open document; and to expect them to make any mystery about the matter was ridiculous. Published, said the Governor, "without the consent of either the Bishop or myself!" The Bishop had no right to make objections; and the Governor had already waived them.
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The fact is, however, that a copy of the letter was supplied in consequence of the Governor, in Council, having refused to admit the existence of the letter. The particulars of this strange occurrence are given in a note, from which the reader is at liberty to form his own opinion. 30
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Attention has been drawn,--i., to the Governor's secret and confidential despatch of June 25, 1846; ii., to the Governor's letter to the Bishop, inviting the Bishop's co-operation; and iii., to the Bishop's letter to the Missionary grantees, supporting the Governor, and virtually countersigning his charges. 31 Of this letter
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further mention will be made. But notice must first be taken of the proceedings in New Zealand, also of the Church Mission Society, consequent upon Lord Grey's publication of the secret despatch. Archdeacon Williams immediately challenged the Governor to the proof of his allegations.
Considering that his Excellency's despatch does convey a charge of a very grave and serious nature against the Missionaries in "the North" of having been accessory to the shedding of human blood for the possession of land claimed by them and their children, so as to involve the propriety of their possessing even a single acre in this country, I am authorised to say that the Missionaries shrink with horror from such a charge, and are prepared to relinquish their claims altogether, 32 upon it being shewn that their claims would render the possibility of such an awful circumstance as the shedding of one drop of human blood.
To this seven stringent questions, arising out of the despatch, were appended, so framed as to preclude the possibility of evasion. The Governor did not refuse to answer, but took no notice of the questions, not even acknowledging receipt.
The Church Mission Society, staggered by the despatch, defended their Missionaries, but, on account of the political consequences alleged to be involved, directed the Missionary grantees to give way to the Government,--under certain conditions, clearly and explicitly laid down. These conditions were at once accepted by the grantees.
The following is an extract from the minute of the proceedings in Salisbury Square.
The attention of the Committee is now, however, called to a new aspect of the case, and to consider the prospective measures which it may be right to take, in consequence of apprehensions entertained by Governor Grey which have never been before brought under the notice of the Committee. These apprehensions are of a most painful kind, being no less than the apprehension of a large expenditure of British wealth and blood, if the land awarded to the Missionaries and various other parties is to be taken possession of; and an apprehension also lest British troops
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should prove unwilling to serve in such a cause. In the despatch, June 25, 1846, the following statement occurs:--
"Her Majesty's Government may rest satisfied that these individuals cannot be put in possession of these tracts of land without large expenditure of British blood and money."
"It is my duty to warn Her Majesty's Government that if British troops are long exposed to the unexamplified fatigues and privations of a service which has already entailed so large a loss of life on our small force, disastrous consequences must be anticipated."
And in the conclusion of the despatch Governor Grey warns the Government, that if these land claims of the Missionaries and other parties be not satisfied, the Government must anticipate a violent and stormy opposition.
By way of taking decisive measures for cutting off all suspicion and reproach, the Society declared that--
No Missionary or Catechist of the Society can be allowed to continue his connexion with the Society, who shall retain for his own use and benefit large tracts of unoccupied land.
But they were most careful to declare what was meant by the words "own use and benefit," upon which so much turned in after times.
The Committee cannot go beyond this resolution, as they, have no power or desire to interfere with the private property of their Missionaries. They must leave to their own decision the mode of disposing of land, which those who continue in connexion with the Society may, under the operation of the foregoing resolution, be compelled to part with.
The question turned upon the alleged danger and difficulty of "putting into possession" men who had never been out of possession, and who are in undisturbed possession still. By formal resolution, of February 22, 1847, the Society declared, that no Missionary should retain, for his own use and benefit, a greater amount of land than should be determined upon as suitable by the Governor and the Bishop, jointly. But these two were not empowered to act severally, on behalf of the Society.
This resolution was covered by a letter, which is more explicit still. The letter stated--
1. That the Missionaries were to accept the joint decision of the
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Bishop and the Governor, as to the amount of land to be retained for their own use and benefit.
2. That they were to abandon altogether such portions of their grants as might lead to disputes with the natives. 33
3. That they might dispose of such other portions as had already been virtually occupied or could peaceably be obtained possession of--
i. By sale; or
ii. By making over to their children; or
iii. By putting in trust for the benefit of the aborigines.
The Society's proposal was quite satisfactory to the grantees, 34 who went even further than was required of them. They determined to retain no land at all for their own use and benefit. No question was therefore left for the determination of the Bishop and Governor.
Archdeacon Henry Williams' reply shall be given in his own words.
I shall first express my grateful acknowledgment to the Committee for their very kind attention given to the subject of the communication made to them by Lord Grey. We sympathise very sincerely with the Committee in having their minds disturbed afresh by this repeated and vexatious question which we did consider had been set at rest, but again met by the Committee with an honourable, clear, and Christian feeling, both to the Committee and also to the Missionaries in New Zealand.
I see no difficulty in complying with the resolutions of the Committee, by conveying to the various members of my family that which I did purchase for their support, 35 and I shall also attend to the same, as soon as I can obtain legal advice upon this subject. My own views upon this subject appear to me similar to those of the Committee.
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It is not my wish or intention to refer any question to the Governor or the Bishop, as to any portion of land for my "own use and benefit," never having entertained any desire for such possession.
August 13, 1847.
Thus did the question seem to be finally disposed of. But the Governor wanted to get hold of the land itself, for Government purposes. He went back from his original proposition,-- 36 namely, that the surplus land, i.e., the quantity in excess of two thousand five hundred and sixty acres in each grant, should be returned to the original native owners, and submitted fresh propositions; so worded as to imply an acknowledgement, if accepted by the grantees, that a portion at least of the land had been unjustly acquired. These were of course rejected; the grantees adhering to the course of action recommended by the Church Mission Society. The question now remained, for the Bishop and the Governor, how to supersede the Society's recommendation.
How the terms of the alliance were arranged, there are no means of learning. The first formal document relating to it, is the Governor's letter, 37 already mentioned, inviting the Bishop's co-operation. This was immediately followed by the Bishop's elaborate letter 38 to the grantees, the accumulation of charges in which caused such bewilderment among them. A strange composition; one upon which much labour had been evidently bestowed, yet replete in matters of detail with error that mere carelessness is insufficient to account for. Setting aside for the present its general tenor, damaging to Missionary influence as it could well be made, it contains statements which I must treat as blunders, to avoid the use of a harsher term. Venturing into law, he confuses the Land Sales Act with the Land Claims Ordinance; he finds himself in direct opposition, and wrongly so, to Governor FitzRoy upon a simple matter of fact, charging the grantees with
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having applied to the Government for an extension of their grants; he speaks of "augmented grants," which had no existence; 39 he confuses the Governor's separate and inconsistent proposals; and speaks of grants "issued by Governor FitzRoy," which in reality were issued by Governor Grey himself: 40 he perverts the Society's resolution, granting £50 to each son and £40 to each daughter from the Society's funds for the purchase of land, into an expression of opinion that a Missionary ought not to purchase more than two hundred acres with his own private funds.
But these may be deemed comparatively trifling errors--
quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura:
the most serious part is, the acknowledgement that he, the Bishop, had been in secret communication with the Society upon the subject of land as far back as 1843; his defence of the "Blood and Treasure" despatch, not committing himself to particulars, but labouring to shew that the Society deemed it neither "unjust or harsh;" winding up with direct charges brought by himself.
"All this," writes the Bishop, "I will undertake to prove if it should ever be necessary, but I earnestly desire to be spared the painful duty by your quiet acquiescence in the Governor's proposal."
The Bishop was accordingly challenged to prove: he permitted himself to make reply that,--"in undertaking to prove certain assertions in his letter, he reserved to himself the full right of
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determining when that necessity might be considered to have arisen." How much might have been spared him, had he simply admitted error. But he followed the Governor throughout. 41
The Archdeacon took his stand. From the writer of the despatch, he demanded "substantiation or retractation." This was with him a fixed idea; the pole-star which guided through the maze, through the snares with which he was beset. In order to stamp the matter as "a question of character, and not of land," he offered to abandon the deeds of grant if either one or the other of the two several demands were complied with. It is important to observe that the Governor could have had the land for the taking.
To the Bishop, the Archdeacon declared his intention of abiding strictly by the Society's resolution, covered by their letter of March i, 1847.
Henry Williams to the Bishop.
September 7, 1847.
Having seen a communication from Archdeacon William Williams respecting his interview with your Lordship this morning, I beg to state, upon the subject of the lands purchased on account of my children, that it is my intention strictly to abide by the Society's resolution of February 22, 1847, covered by their letter of March 1, 1847, and that I did never purpose to retain any portion of the said purchases for my own private "use and benefit," of which your Lordship is fully aware.
In a communication with the Church Mission Society, several months since, I wrote the following words:--
"The first fruits of Pakaraka, the farm where my sons are at work, was my second son connecting himself with the Bishop, and in September last was admitted to Holy Orders, paying his own expenses. The same is open to the rest of my sons. The proceeds of the farm have all been returned upon the farm in improvements; and for myself, I have not received one shilling."
Before I close my present communication, I beg to remind your Lordship of an observation made to me by your Lordship within the first week of your landing at Paihia:--that previously to leaving England, your Lordship conferred with the Committee of
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the Church Mission Society, and that you observed to them that you did not feel that you were at liberty to interfere in the land question, as Bishop, any more than a Bishop in England could interfere with any clergyman who might wish to purchase an estate within his diocese.
The Bishop admitted the correctness of the recollection; 42 but the Archdeacon had failed to observe that the Bishop's words, though precluding him from episcopal, did not preclude him from political interference.
It is only fair to state, that the Bishop himself strenuously denies "political" interference. But what other action was open to him, episcopal action precluded? Between the grantees and the Government to whom the grants were said to give embarrassment, the question was exclusively political. And the Bishop assisted the Government, not in his episcopal capacity, but as a citizen. Nor is it easy to see why he should not, unless it be maintained that Holy Orders debar the rights of citizenship. It is he himself who considers that his action needs defence. And the defence is, that he acted only as arbitrator on behalf of the Church Mission Society.
By this, he cuts the ground from under his own feet. Granting, for the sake of argument, that he did so act, still, if the Society thought fit to entangle themselves in a political question, and the Bishop acted under them, he acted politically, himself. But, indeed, the Bishop never did act as arbitrator. All that he did, was in excess of his commission. That commission was, to settle, jointly with the Governor, how much land the grantees were to retain "for their own use and benefit." The Governor refused to act, and the commission therefore lapsed. But more than this:
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the grantees declared their willingness to retain none; therefore nothing was left to arbitrate upon.
Of the political interference, which indeed would be scarcely worth mention, were it not so angrily denied, more will presently appear.
Let us now return to the Archdeacon's reply, which seems conclusive.
But matters were not to end so simply. The Bishop disputed the resolutions themselves, by putting a new meaning on them. To persons of ordinary capacity, they seemed plain enough. But the Bishop had discovered an esoteric meaning, concealed within. The grantees had received express permission to transfer the land to their children; it was now argued that the Society had not intended to give permission. The argument, when developed by the Bishop, became a curious and instructive example of perverted ingenuity.
It is said that the celebrated phrase attributed to Francis the first, after the battle of Pavia--"tout est perdu, fors l'honneur" was never so used by him at all; but that the several words composing that phrase can be gathered from various parts of his letter announcing the disaster. So did the Bishop, by piecing together odds and ends of the Society's letter, by omitting inconvenient words, and by generalising where the Society had particularised, bring the Society's letter into apparent contrariety with the Society's resolutions. He argued that a sacrifice was required by the Society; that the transfer of the land to the children was no sacrifice; and thus obtained "a new reading" of the resolutions. The grantees referred the resolutions to two of the leading counsel in Auckland, who without hesitation, taking words as they were laid down, confirmed the original reading; but the Bishop was not to be convinced of the fallacy of his own argument. The difference of "reading" then became the pivot on which this, the second stage of the proceedings was to turn.
The argument was weak enough; but other pressure was brought to bear. In the words of Archdeacon William Williams,--"The
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Bishop made use of a most powerful lever in order to accomplish his object. The members of the Central Committee had assembled from a great distance in order to attend the meeting, but the Bishop refused either to meet the members in Committee, unless they complied with his award, or to allow the whole body of members to meet for the transaction of business without him as President." In fact he had power to bring all to a standstill, and he used that power.
Some of Archdeacon Henry's brethren were overborne, and did their utmost to induce him to yield. But he was not to be lured away from his condition. The Governor must substantiate, or honourably retract. He would then be willing to accept the Bishop's new "reading." His own words must be quoted:--
Should these painful difficulties be removed, I shall then be ready to accede to any proposition, however opposed to my own judgment, as to the reading of the Societies' letter to the Missionaries of March, 1847.
The Bishop seemed to have gained a move, but was in reality no further advanced than before. The Archdeacon had never made any difficulty about the land, provided that he obtained satisfaction from the Governor; and, in the face of this, the Bishop's "reading" became immaterial. There lay the land, to be had for the taking, on fulfilment of an honourable condition; consequently it no longer mattered what the Society had, or had not intended to say.
It looked very like check-mate to the Bishop, but he displayed his usual fertility of resource in getting out of trouble. He could see clearly enough that the Archdeacon's supposed concession was no concession; for the Archdeacon had refused to hold any communication with the Governor until the one condition should have been complied with. Then, the Archdeacon would accept the Bishop's new reading; but "then" would never arrive, for the Governor would not comply.
The Bishop had engaged, in terms which at the time were satisfactory to the grantees, but which ought to have been more closely scrutinized, to obtain the required satisfaction from the
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Governor. 43 He pleaded inability to comply just then. He had ordinations and other matters to attend to; he could not press the Governor till he had leisure. Would the Archdeacon consent to waive the order of events? The Archdeacon had required that the Governor's substantiation or retractation should precede any communication concerning the grants; but if he would accept the Bishop's "reading" at once, satisfaction should be obtained from the Governor, at leisure.
Archdeacon Williams, the clearer-headed man of the two, made no difficulty: he did invert the order of events. He agreed to accept the Bishop's "reading" at once, "however opposed to his own judgment," but declared his intention of holding on to the deeds until the required satisfaction should have been obtained. For the retention of the deeds was his only hold upon the Governor. The deeds once surrendered, he would have been as the fabled lion, who had submitted to having his claws pared, and his teeth drawn.
The Bishop thought, when he had secured the immediate acceptance of his "reading," that he had won the game. Never was general more mistaken in his strategy. The grantees had taken their first stand upon the plain meaning of the Society's resolutions; the Bishop had succeeded in substituting his own meaning, by way of concession to himself, and supposed that he had cut the ground from beneath their feet. He took for granted that they would obey the Society, having once acknowledged his own interpretation of the Society's orders. But, with strange imperception of the nature of the man he had to deal with, he failed to perceive that the question of character remained behind, and that the Archdeacon was absolutely debarred from yielding,
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even to the behests of his own Society, until all imputations upon character should have been cleared away. And here do I take my own stand, in regard to the differences between Archdeacon Henry Williams and the Church Mission Society. The one grand point of all, from which there is no escape, is this:--what right had the Society to interfere between Henry Williams and the vindication of his character? All authority, real or assumed, vanishes into nothingness alongside of such a question as this. Duty to the English Society was manifestly superseded by duty to the aspersed and down-trodden Mission in New Zealand. And what other means had he, save in the retention of the much coveted deeds, of compelling the Governor to make good his words, or to retract them? The Bishop's error was in supposing that the grantees, if forced from one position, had none other to retreat upon; and the Society's error, presently to be developed, was in assuming that they could command that blind obedience which is exacted from the disciples of Loyola.
Such was the Archdeacon's pledge, which, after having been in its turn subjected to a "new reading,"--interpreted as an "unconditional surrender," he has been unblushingly accused of violating. And more than this,--the pledge was sent home to England in a mutilated form; the engagement, shorn of the condition attached. It is not safe to trust oneself with comment.
It may here be asked,--what right had the Archdeacon to enter into any engagement whatever, concerning that which had long since passed out of his own hands? He had no right; but this he knew, that his least word was law to his family; that his sons would make good their father's word, to the last acre of their property.
The Bishop had given a collateral pledge,--namely, to institute the fullest inquiry into the charges against the Mission. Was this pledge kept; or was it broken.
It will be remembered that the transposition of terms had been made to suit the Bishop's leisure and convenience. Accordingly, after having completed his own business, he did wait upon the
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Governor in company with Archdeacons Brown and William Williams, in order to come to an understanding about the Mission. This was on the 27th of September. On the 28th the Bishop requested Archdeacon William Williams to obtain specific queries from his brother, so as at once to bring the whole question to issue. These were supplied, so framed that they could not be evaded. But the Governor had never intended to "substantiate or retract," and found the queries embarrassing. The Bishop had appeared, according to promise, in behalf of the Mission; but, having already committed himself, was unable to press the Governor home. This ought to have been foreseen; but it could not have been foreseen that he would go so far on the other side as to seek to shield the Governor at the expense of his own clients. After further conference with his Excellency, the Bishop proposed to substitute another set of queries, vague and pointless, which the Governor could have assented to without retracting anything, and which would have left the Mission under the same weight of imputation as before.
By whom were the pointless queries drawn? by the Bishop, or by the Governor himself? I cannot say; the knowledge is confined to themselves; but their exceeding subtlety betrays the master's hand. So framed as to seem to exculpate the Mission, within their Missionary sphere of action, though in reality every charge remained untouched; so guarded that there was every likelihood of their being unsuspiciously accepted, on the spur of the moment, without having been subjected to that close scrutiny through which alone their actual tenor could be revealed. They are a turning point in the controversy; a crucial test of the Bishop's real feelings in regard to the Mission, whose cause he had undertaken to uphold.
It happens that Henry Williams was not blinded; but the Bishop played the part, with less success, of Juno's owl, sent to flap about the face of Turnus, that he should not see to fight.
Hanc versa in faciem, Tumi se pest is ad ora
Fertque refertque sonans, clypeumque everberat alis.
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I am quite aware of the extreme gravity of what I have said, though in terms that ought not to be construed to offence. But the two sets of queries placed in juxtaposition tell the whole tale.
Those framed by Archdeacon Henry Williams, for the Governor's signature, are as follow:--
Firstly--Does his Excellency disclaim having intentionally cast any reflection, which may appear to have been expressed or implied "upon the past conduct of some of the Missionaries," during his Excellency's administration as Governor of New Zealand, save only in the question of these purchases of land; and will his Excellency admit that this is an open question, and one upon which there is a variety of opinions as to the propriety of the Missionaries making provision for their families.
Secondly--Does his Excellency admit that these lands, purchased by the Missionaries, were so purchased in strict integrity and honesty towards the aborigines, as reported upon by Her Majesty's Land Commissioners appointed for the examination of the same.
Thirdly --Does his Excellency admit that he is of opinion that the late military movements in the North were not in any respect connected with the Missionaries.
Fourthly--Will his Excellency further admit that he is not aware that the Missionaries, or their sons, were put out of possession of their lands by the aborigines, but that he believes they remained in quiet possession of their lands during the late wars in the North.
From these there was no escape: for that very reason, they were evaded. Even the rat, when driven into a corner, will fly at the aggressor; but the Governor would not. And the Bishop opened the broad gate--"the primrose way" to him who was resolute not to go in at the strait gate.
Now for the substitutes constructed by the Bishop, or by the Governor, as the case may be; probably, a joint composition.
Firstly--Whether his Excellency will have any objection to state, that he is not aware of any treasonable or disloyal practices, in which any Missionary, or child of a Missionary, has been engaged during his Excellency's administration as Governor of New Zealand.
Secondly--Whether the chief matters in which his Excellency may have expressed an opinion adverse to the Missionaries may not be connected with the political objections to the acts and counsels of the late Protector of Aborigines, and not to the Missionary body in general.
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Thirdly--Whether his Excellency would feel at liberty to state that neither the report of Her Majesty's Land Commissioners, nor any other public enquiry, justifies the belief that the original purchases of the Missionaries were fraudulent or dishonest.
Fourthly--Whether his Excellency will state that no Missionary, or child of a Missionary, has ever applied for military protection, but that to the extent of his observation, they have remained in quiet possession of the land.
Are they not admirably framed? How many, without guidance, could perceive the essential differences? To us old settlers, familiar with the true history of the Colony, they are plain enough; but we are dying out, and it is expedient that the record should be left. Let the substituted queries be examined, one by one. 44
By the first, the relief from the Governor's charges, which were general, is now limited to events taking place during the period of Governor Grey's own administration. But the treasonable proceedings imputed were before his arrival in the Colony. Therefore the Governor could give a favourable reply without committing himself, or absolving the Mission.
By the second, the Governor's especial enmity to Mr. Clarke, the ex-protector, was subserved. 45 It is no longer Mr. Clarke's missionary conduct, but his political action, as a servant of the Government, that is impugned. The Missionaries were invited to relieve themselves at Mr. Clarke's expense; to drive their friend and associate a scape-goat into the wilderness, with the sins of the congregation on his head. The Bishop is of gentle blood: how he could have acquiesced in such a clause--for nothing will persuade me that it originated with him--is hard to understand.
By the third the question is restricted to relief from accusations based on some supposed "public" enquiry,--that very public enquiry which the Mission had challenged in vain, and which
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the Governor was obstinate to refuse. No such accusation had been made. Moreover, the Governor was to acknowledge what could not be denied--that the report of Her Majesty's Hand Commissioners, long before made and published in the Blue Books, was favourable to the Mission; but the "secret and confidential" despatch was not to be brought into question.
By the fourth the Governor offered to defend the Mission from what they had never been accused of, by admitting that "no Missionary, or child of a Missionary, had ever applied for military protection." In point of fact, the obligation was on the other side. The young men did much for the troops that no other Europeans would have been permitted to do. He is also willing to certify that "to the extent of his observation"--no more, the sons of the Missionaries had "remained in quiet possession of the land;" omitting the Archdeacon's own words--"during the war in the North;" and, by this omission, suggesting that they had not been "put into possession" until after the defeat of the natives, by the expenditure of "British blood and money."
The intention of the alteration from the searching queries of Archdeacon Henry is plain enough, when once pointed out. So are the dark enigmas of Lycophron when solved by that most laborious of scholiasts, Johannes Tzetzes. But how many, without help, could decipher them.
The Bishop did not first submit the pointless queries to Archdeacon Henry, though he was close at hand, but took them to St. John's College, five miles away, for consideration by Archdeacon Brown and Archdeacon William Williams. The sacrifice of the ex-protector was objected to by the latter, and so the whole fell through. Into the other clauses he did not enquire too nicely; indeed we have his own subsequent admission to the Church Mission Society, that at the time he did not perceive the drift of them. Archdeacon Henry, when they were presented to him, at once rejected the whole.
It may be thought that over many words have been bestowed upon what might seem to be a mere controversial matter; but it
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has been found necessary to shew, for once, distinctly and categorically, with what subtlety Henry Williams was beset. A man given to drawing nice distinctions, or to taking up fine points of argument might have been easily entrapped; 46 but to him there was one plain guiding mark, from which he never swerved in his onward course--the right of claiming open enquiry.
It has been also found necessary to shew the cardinal error in the Bishop's strategy. Say what he will, and argue as he may, he can never get over this:--why were the original queries not accepted by him? Why, if not to get the Governor out of a scrape, as the Governor himself had got Lord Grey out of a scrape? Plain speaking becomes a duty: Archdeacon Henry's questions were rejected because they hit the nail upon the head.
The rest of the three days' conference with the Governor may be dismissed with fewer words. On the second day, Archdeacon William Williams, satisfied that the discussion would end as it had begun, withdrew. On the third day, the 29th, no better progress was made; substantiation or retractation was still refused, and the Archdeacon embarked for home. At sunset he received an invitation to wait upon the Bishop, and was astonished by a peremptory demand for unconditional surrender of the deeds. In what capacity, save as the Governor's agent, the Bishop felt himself entitled to assert authority, is undiscoverable. Action in virtue of his episcopal office, he had abnegated throughout. As a private citizen, he had undoubtedly a right, like any other private citizen, to mediate, ne quid detrimenti respublica capiat; but whence came the right to make an authoritative demand? I believe the truth to have been that, waxing hot in the fray, he forgot the position
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he had desired to assume. Determined not to be beaten, 47 though compelled to abandon successively every position he had taken up,--finding out too late that the Governor on whom he had relied for proof, was but a broken reed to run into his hand and pierce him,--driven into a corner himself, as a last resource he fell back upon intimidation to get himself out of it. An old man-of-war's man is not so easily scared; the Bishop was no judge of character, and subjected himself to a pointblank refusal. The Bishop had broken every condition, expressed or implied, and the rupture between himself and the staunchest of his allies was now complete.
The Archdeacon retired to take refuge on board ship. He never felt more secure than with a single plank between himself and the sea--
digitis a morte remotus
Quatuor, aut septem, si sit latissima taeda.
But he left not without perturbation of mind. To get on board at night, he made for a canoe, anchored a little way out at sea. The mooring was primitive; a stone, and a harakeke line. He used to tell the story himself, in his best style,--how he lifted the stone, took up a paddle, paddled his hardest for a while, and at last awoke to the conviction that he was making no way; how he perceived at last that a second stone and line were out, which had escaped his notice.
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We may now revert to his own journal of events. Meagre in the extreme, for he was impassible and ineffusive under circumstances of great excitement, it shews the restraint which he was in the habit of imposing upon himself. Yet he was wroth exceedingly,--galled to the quick by accusations that were dishonouring to a gentleman, but no less than infamy to a minister of the gospel; and disturbed by desertion of some on whom he had most relied for comfort and support. 48
From Archdeacon Henry Williams' journal.
August 13, 1847. On my return home received the public letter from the Church Mission Society, exposing the conduct of the Governor. Took these letters to Mr. Busby. Mr. Clarke from the Waimate.
August 16. Went to see Rewa: rough wind and sea. The Bishop had arrived from New Plymouth, and called for us to accompany him to Auckland. Much conversation.
August 17. Mr. Clendon called. Shewed the Blood and Treasure Despatch to him. Much startled.
August 18. Returned to the vessel, and sailed with light wind. Rounded Cape Brett at sunset.
August 19. The Bishop had long conversation upon matters to bring before the Committee.
August 21. Fine. After breakfast landed at Taurarua. The Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn here. Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Smith. All very kind.
August 22. Shifted our quarters to Samuel's house [at St. John's College].
August 26. The Bishop met us preparatory to the meeting. Fond of a long talk. Made good progress, and good hopes of great advantage.
August 28. Met in sub-committee; the Bishop long-winded on some points. Mr. Carleton at the College; he called my attention to the despatch which had made its appearance.
August 30. Took up my abode at Mr. Blackett's [St. George's Bay], Much talk of the despatch.
August 31. Walked out to see Rauparaha [a prisoner], with whom I had a long conversation. Poor old man. News that Captain Richards was drowned, while passing the bar at Whanganui.
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September 2. At 10, the Bishop at Committee. Afternoon, walked out to see the natives at Okahu. Much pleased.
These memoranda are not of much interest; but they serve to shew Archdeacon Henry's utter ignorance and unsuspicion of the attack that was being matured with such impenetrable secresy. Surprise was of course the object, and the chance of a false move in the first perturbation of surprise. Of the false move the assailants were disappointed.
Saturday, September 4. The Bishop had a long and secret communication with the two Archdeacons and Mr. Burrows, and afterwards brought a voluminous letter for the land owners, with a subtle and crafty letter from Captain Grey. Mr. Kissling came; had a long conversation with him on the subject; felt very indignant at the same, and a wish that I was again at home.
September 6. Writing to the Bishop; very low at the treatment shewn towards me. Bishop returned.
September 7. The Bishop in a fume. A Committee with the Archdeacons. A fling out. No business. Walked down to Kohimaramara. Wrote my letter.
September 8. No business. Messrs. Brown and Burrows to town, having given notice to quit. Mr. Maunsell arrived.
September 9. All talking: Archdeacon Brown, Messrs. Burrows and Maunsell arrived. Mr. Clendon arrived; all talking until late.
September 10. Much more talking; took leave for Kohimaramara and town; followed by a note to detain me. Tired and weary. In the evening Mr. Kissling returned and brought a letter from the Bishop to my brother, with a paper from Mr. Clarke on the land question. Mr. Ashwell returned from town.
In the paper referred to, Mr. Clarke, though against his own opinion, had accepted the Bishop's new "reading" of the Society's resolutions, and the proposition grounded thereon. His condition was, that the surplus land should be placed in trust for the natives; thus accepting the Governor's and the Bishop's original proposal. But the Governor had backed out of that proposal, and the Bishop followed him. The Bishop wrote to Archdeacon Henry, reciting Mr. Clarke's surrender of the land, but omitting the condition on which it was to be made; entreating the Archdeacon to give him a similar assurance to that contained in Mr. Clarke's paper, as quoted above 49i.e., as incompletely quoted by himself.
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But the Archdeacon could not be persuaded into conceding more than a transposition of the terms of his own proposition, already mentioned, to suit the Bishop's convenience; still holding on to his original condition,--substantiation or retractation by the Governor.
September 13. A letter from the Bishop; sent him a note.
September 15. Meeting at 11. Some tough questions. Symptoms of a flare. Returned home.
September 17. Meeting at 9. The Bishop afterwards spoke to me to present Mr. Hutton. I declined in consequence of the Governor's conduct and the general fermentation in Auckland. The Bishop observed,--he should institute an enquiry as to all the Governor had said, and require his observations in writing. I spoke freely: we shall see how he acts, but my fears of him are considerable; that a separation must inevitably take place between us. The Bishop and the Governor have been working together in secret.
September 20. Wrote to "The five brethren." The Bishop returned at a late hour, having been engaged with the Governor.
September 22. Gale through the night. A tough tohe [striving] with the Bishop. Letters from the Bay of the Governor's proceedings there.
September 25. Committee at 9. Much wandering in discussion. Near sunset when I wanted to return home. The Bishop introduced the subject of the Governor's charges, and treated the question in conjunction with Archdeacon Brown as advocates from the Governor. I left them at seven, taking leave of the College; not expecting to return there at any future period. To all appearance our connexion severed.
September 27. Took up abode with Mr. Blackett. Archdeacon Brown and the Bishop with the Governor.
September 28. The Bishop and the two Archdeacons with the Governor. Mr. Baker and Mr. Clarke called. The subject of terms under consideration. Framed some which were approved of.
September 29. The Bishop and Archdeacon Brown in town. Took breakfast at the Chief Justice's. Dined at Mr. Blacketts with Mr. Fitzgerald. After dinner went on board the "Undine" with my things. At sunset Mr. Cotton [bishop's chaplain] came
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to say that the Bishop wished to see me at the Judge's house. Went on shore with some misgiving; a long discussion; left abruptly. Got off to a canoe and went on board.
Archdeacon Henry scarcely trusts himself to write, even in his own journal-book. The negociation with the Governor had fallen through; and the Bishop, supported by Archdeacon Brown, had demanded the absolute surrender of the deeds,--that is to say, of the last remaining means of defence.
September 30. A sleepless night; heard that the Bishop had gone out to the College, to return this morning. When will this matter end! Appearance of a gale from the North-east. William Williams and George Clarke came on board; gave them my opinion to quit the country. No one else came, nor did I land. Drew out the draft of a letter to the Bishop.
October 1, 1847. Gale from E.N.E. Sent my letter on the return of the boat. Received a letter from the Bishop to demand my deeds. Don't he wish he may get them! My correspondence on these subjects closed.
The Bishop's letter has been scrutinized in the "Page from the History of New Zealand," not much to its advantage. A reference must suffice. But why was it written at all? What purpose was it intended to serve? All question as to deeds had been brought to an end on the evening of the 30th, by the Bishop's authoritative demand of unconditional surrender, and by the Archdeacon's point-blank refusal. Apparently the Bishop wanted a record, to be transmitted to the Church Mission Society. He had demanded the deeds, orally, with greater severity of expression than would well have borne recital; the letter is bland, but so worded as to be of as much injury as possible to the recipient. The Archdeacon was urged to resign the deeds into the hands of some neutral party, the implication being manifest that he could not be relied on to give them up should his "condition" be complied with; and his pledge was quoted in a mutilated form.
The Archdeacon returned no answer to this letter: he considered it extremely affronting,--a reflection on his honesty. But before receipt of it, his own letter, mentioned in the journal, had been despatched. In this letter he went further than he had gone the night before, when he had simply refused unconditional surrender
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of the deeds. He now prohibited all further mention of the subject to himself. His sons were of age, and could speak for themselves. "I am at a loss," he said, "to understand why this question should have been lately so severely cast upon me by your Lordship, as if it were a case of fraud or dishonest dealing. Nor can I admit of its repetition from any quarter." He will scarcely be blamed for refusing to subject himself to a repetition of indignity. But something else had taken place which he felt even more keenly than the affront to himself. He had been informed that, even while negociations with himself were going on, the Governor had been personally working upon the natives, destroying their confidence in the Mission, casting discredit upon the manner in which the lands had been acquired, 50 and promising to restore
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them to the sellers. This was the main cause, he said, of his "change of sentiments concerning the waste and worthless acres." Before he was willing to treat with the Governor; now, he would have nothing more to do with him. Fides et fiducia sunt relativa; he would no longer trust him. "The safety of my family," said he, "humanly speaking, depends alone upon the respect shewn to me by the chiefs of the various tribes. This Captain Grey has endeavoured to set aside. I am sorry your Lordship should have been so much hindered in waiting upon the Governor this week: I hope you will be spared further trouble, as I now feel perfectly indifferent as to what his Excellency may either think, say, or do."
Undoubtedly, the Archdeacon's letter is very plain-spoken: some have thought it overmuch so. It is given at length, with comments, in "The Page." The gain-sayers, unable to find fault with the matter, fell back upon the manner. The Society objected to the "style and tone." It must be admitted that the Archdeacon did not take pattern from themselves in the courtly deference they paid to an angry Secretary of State. He did not feign a respect he could not feel. He wrote under a deep sense of injury, under a feeling of just resentment; and every word he wrote was true. I, for one, cannot understand restriction to mele-mouthed utterances where character is at stake.
The Bishop, by demand of unconditional surrender, had broken up the conference; and all hope of further negotiation had been destroyed by the Governor's foray into the Archdeacon's country. In effect it was harmless, no impression whatever having been made on the native converts; but the attempt was justly resented. Indefensible under any circumstances, the worst feature of it was the acting by surprise, during truce, in the Archdeacon's absence, while engaged in doing what he could to make terms which should lead to a definite arrangement. The Governor excused himself to the Secretary of State by declaring that when he left Auckland in the "Inflexible" he had no intention of proceeding to the Bay of Islands; leaving it to be inferred that, therefore, he did not act as had been alleged when he got there. The Archdeacon was compelled to see
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that, in entertaining terms of adjustment, he was treading unsafe ground,
Suppositos cineri doloso,
and withdrew to his own stronghold. The Bishop and the Governor had not known their man. Easy, almost to a fault when his kindly feelings were appealed to, he was immoveable when assailed, careless of intimidation, and roused at once to anger by anything unfair or underhand. Through being too clever, they had mismanaged the whole affair.
Henry Williams returned to his work, leaving the Governor, without hindrance, to carry out his threat of an appeal to the Courts of Law. But the question was now exciting great interest, not among Europeans alone, but also among the natives. Shortly after his arrival at Paihia, he received a letter from Walker Nene, the original of which is given below. 51
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Kororareka, October 12, 1847.
Sir,--Mr. Williams: Salutations. Let not your heart be dark, as if it were a saying of mine "that it is through the Missionaries the land is gone." We ourselves sold the land; let it not be said it was taken without payment. Hikitene sold his place Waikare. Tohitapu sold his place Whangai. Heke sold his place Puketona. Kaiteke sold his place Pouerua. Manu and Wharerahi sold Waimate. I also sold my place Otutae. There has been no place taken unpaid for, and so also there has been no chief of Ngapuhi who has not sold. Afterwards they exclaim, the land is gone, they having received the payment. Hautungia also sold Titirangi. Tamati sold Paihia and the Haumi. Kawiti and Pomare sold Okiato. There was no man who did not pay. Afterwards they exclaim, our land is gone, let us up and fight for our land is gone. They broke the flag-staff of the pakeha, they fight, and then say it is for the land; but it was not so, it was for Kotiro, because the payment was not given, the cask of tobacco, and the bag of shot. If they had fought for their lands I would not have fought against them, but their fighting was wrong. It was the saying of the pakeha, "slave [taurekareka], your right [mana] over the land is gone," and they said the sayings of the pakeha are true. Now I have heard the word of the Queen. "Those bad people fight them, but let not their lands be taken, because I have a love for those whom my fathers have left." Now, Sir, for whom was that word. Am I a man who goes to England that it should be said the saying was mine? The saying is Ngapuhi's own. In vain I asked what land is it which it is said must be fought for, seeing it was paid for by the Missionaries. Now there has been no land taken unpaid for either by Missionaries or settlers. No, the fault and folly was with the chiefs, themselves, of New Zealand. There was no fraud on the part of the pakeha, it was the ignorance of the Maori. If I had not seen the payment, I would have said it had been taken unpaid for by the pakeha, but it has been paid for; but how am I to know whether the payment was right or wrong. In my opinion it was a just payment. This is all I have to say.
TAMATI WAKA NENE.
To Mr. Williams.
When the natives complained that the "whenua" was gone, the grievance, real or supposed, was that the country was taken from them, by passing under the Queen's sovereignty; not that certain portions of land had been sold to Europeans. The Governor was