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SINCE the preceding pages were sent to the press, the December mail, and a telegram forestalling the January mail, have arrived. The former reports the continued successes of the Colonial forces and friendly natives at Poverty Bay on the east coast. After several days' fighting, a large body of the fanatics (180 fighting men, besides women and children,) surrendered. The fighting pah in which they were entrenched is described as being in all respects equal in strength to those which General Cameron found so troublesome; and "the fact that a few hundred militia and natives readily do what General Cameron with his large force of men and appliances was so often urged in vain to do, requires to be stated, if only in its nakedness, as an act of justice to the gallant men of whom the Colonial forces and native contingent are alike composed." --See London Times, February 15, 1866.
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The later telegram reports that General Chute has taken a pah on the west coast; that the war is now practically at an end, and that the troops are returning home. The fact that the war is practically at an end, may well be doubted. The same thing has been stated a dozen times in telegrams, and in Sir George Grey's despatches during the last two years; but hostilities have continued notwithstanding.
"Further papers on the affairs of New Zealand" have recently been laid on the tables of the Houses of Parliament. They contain the correspondence between Governor Grey and General Cameron, which had reached me in the papers of the Colonial Parliament, and several despatches from Mr. Cardwell to Sir George Grey, and other documents later than those I had seen when these pages went to press. There is nothing, however, in them to alter anything which I have written. Mr. Cardwell still continues to regard the "bitter personal controversy" between the "two able and distinguished men" from the same point of view-- that is, simply in reference to its bearings on the "public service," and the great official scandal which it involves. The idea has not yet presented itself to his mind that the colony of New Zealand has been nearly ruined by it; that the vast expenditure going on while
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these gentlemen were quarrelling, has been utterly thrown away; and that in consequence the colony has as strong a claim as ever was raised to consideration, not to say actual compensation, at the hands of the Home Government, for the injury inflicted on it by the acts of the Governor and General. Mr. Cardwell thinks that the "time has arrived for putting an end to this painful chapter" and to the "painful disputes" between Sir George Grey and the General; but I cannot believe that the colony will submit, at least without remonstrance, to have the subject disposed of in this summary manner, without the smallest regard being paid to its interests in the question.
In reference to the financial question, Mr. Cardwell gives prominence in one of his despatches, to the fact that the colony refused the guarantee offered by him for a million of the loan which the Colonial Parliament authorized in 1863. It is necessary to offer a word in explanation. The colony having estimated its probable requirements at 3,000,000l., to enable it to co-operate with her Majesty's Government in suppressing the rebellion, asked the Home Government to guarantee a loan to that amount; without which it was certain it could not be raised, or at all events only on ruinous terms. Mr. Cardwell agreed to guarantee 1,000,000l., "on conditions," the first of which was, that upwards of 560,000l of it should be immediately paid over to the Home Government, in satisfaction of an existing, and in part disputed, debt to the Imperial Government. The result would have been, that the colony would have received the guarantee to a little over 400,000l., or about
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one-seventh part of what it required towards suppressing the rebellion! To have accepted such an offer would have been as derogatory to the colony as it was to the Home Government to make it. And setting aside any idea of that sort, it would have been practically of no perceptible value. That is simply why it was refused; but we do feel that it was an act of extreme hardness to attempt to screw this 560,000l. out of the colony at such a crisis in its fate, and such a day of its necessities. The colony, however, though declining the guarantee on those terms, has sent to the Home Government 500,000l of debentures, expressing a hope that they would be accepted at par; a value which could at any time be given them in the market by the guarantee of the Imperial Government. That Government, however, refuses to receive them, except at their value depreciated by existing circumstances, and as a collateral security, which they hold with power to sacrifice at any discount, at their pleasure. This explanation will, I think, make it apparent that the offer of a guarantee of one million was not capriciously refused; and that such refusal ought not to be any bar to the favourable consideration of the colony's claims to such reasonable aid as may enable it to carry into effect its bona fide intention of relieving the Home Government from contributing any further military assistance towards the termination of the present struggle, so long protracted in consequence of the inefficiency and the quarrels of officers of the Imperial Government.
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There is one more point in the recently published papers, which requires a word of comment. I refer to two documents relating to the Waitotara purchase, which, as we have seen, General Cameron denounced as "an iniquitous job." It now appears from his own statement, that he made this charge on no other authority than that of a casual conversation with a perfect stranger, who accidentally picked him up while riding into Wanganui; and he appears to have had no other authority for it while he remained in New Zealand. Since he left New Zealand, a Mr. Field, who I presume is the stranger referred to, writes a long letter, dated September 7, 1865, in which he gives his version of the circumstances attending this purchase. The value of the statement may be judged of from the fact that though the purchase was effected some three years ago, Mr. Field appears never to have communicated his facts to the Governor or his ministers, even when in consequence of General Cameron's charges, they endeavoured to discover any foundation for them, but could meet with no one who had any complaint to make. It does seem a very unfair thing that the Colonial Office should have laid this document before Parliament and allowed it to be published in a Blue Book, without first communicating its contents to the Superintendent of Wellington, whose conduct is seriously impugned by it, and who has had no opportunity allowed him of refuting the statements made by Mr. Field and General Cameron,
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which, I have no doubt, when referred to the Colonial Government, will prove to be what Mr. Carlyle calls, "A story of a frog and a roasted apple." When a charge is made against a Governor, it is an invariable rule with the Colonial Office not to receive it unless forwarded through him; and in this case where it is made against a high colonial official, the Superintendent of a Province, acting as Land Purchase Commissioner, under the Governor's authority, it does seem ungenerous that the spirit of a rule so fair in itself should not have been adhered to.
London: Printed by SMITH, ELDER and Co., Old Bailey, E.C.