1854 - Grey, George. Memorandum upon a Letter addressed by Lord Lyttelton... - MEMORANDUM, p 1-50

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1854 - Grey, George. Memorandum upon a Letter addressed by Lord Lyttelton... - MEMORANDUM, p 1-50
Previous section | Next section      


[Image of page 1]


I yesterday received a letter from Lord Lyttelton which contained the following paragraph.

"I also feel it my duty to inform you that I have felt hound to give notice of my intention to bring under the notice of the House of Lords on the 13th inst., the same points (generally) which Mr. Adderley recently brought before the House of Commons."

I beg to offer the following remarks upon this subject.

Mr. Adderley's complaints against me, as reported in the "Times" of the 27th of June, were--

Page 3.

1st. That I had called together the Provincial Councils.

Pages 9 & 19

2ndly. That I had delayed or not allowed the meeting of the General Assembly.

Page 4.
Page 21.

3rdly. That I had delayed proclaiming the receipt of the Act, for the full six weeks allowed by law after I had received it; and that I had delayed the issue of the writs for the elections till the 17th of July 1853, that being actually six months after the proclamation of the Constitutional Act, so that I took advantage of the utmost limit of delay allowed.

Page 19.

4thly. That I left the Colony early in January,

[Image of page 2]

Page 19.

1854, the Writs having been returned, but no General Assembly called.

Page 4.

5thly. That I had not made a solitary nomination to the nominee part of the General Legislature, at the end of the thirteen months after I had been directed by Sir J. Pakington to use all expedition in making such nominations.

Page 21.

6thly. That I had dealt illegally with the Revenues of the them over to the Provincial Assemblies.

Page 25.

7thly. That I had shewn an avidity in appropriating to myself, or rather to my office, the popularity of certain acts of grace which ought properly to be considered as belonging especially to Her Majesty, such as with respect to the Crown Lands, in dealing with which, notwithstanding the terms of the Act which were stringent enough, I took upon myself to revolutionize, as it were, the whole powers which were deputed to my trust.

Page 28.
Page 39.

8thly. That in consequence of my illegal acts with regard to the Crown Lands, an application was made to the Supreme Court of the Colony, that the Supreme Court decided against the legality of my acts, to restrain which an injunction was granted, and that it would he found that the only reason why the injunction was not enforced, and the proceedings carried further, was simply, because the Governor had the power vested in him of displacing the judge.

9thly. That the Secretary of State had virtually reproved me for having refused to act according to

[Image of page 3]

Page 43

the directions sent to me by the superior Government at home, by doing which I had set an example which others might too readily form into a precedent in similar cases to act upon: therefore Mr. Adderley argued I was not a fit and proper person to retain in my office, or to receive any promotion in the public service.

Page 47.

10thly. Sir John Pakington, in addition to the above remarks, brought against me another accusation, viz. --That when the Constitution Act was sent out by the Government then in power, as the usual period of colonial service had almost expired in my case, it was arranged to meet my wishes, that leave of absence should be given to me as soon as I had put the New Constitution into action; and that I, consequently, was not justified in returning to this country when I did.

Before entering into any explanation regarding the above allegations, I will first clear away those portions of them which being wholly incorrect, have no shadow of foundation, and therefore admit of no explanation.

Mr. Adderley, to make good his case, asserted that I had called together the Provincial Councils. Now this is quite incorrect; they were called together by the Superintendents; and although this act on their part necessarily greatly influenced my proceedings, I had no power either to call the Provincial Councils together, or to prevent them from being called together. --See Clause 15 of the Act.

[Image of page 4]

Mr. Adderley further states, as he says to shew the animus with which I dealt with the Constitution Act, that I delayed proclaiming the receipt of it for the full six weeks allowed me by law after I received it. Although I should have been quite justified in following this course, had I thought it for the good of her Majesty's service to do so, Mr. Adderley's statement is in this instance as absolutely erroneous and injurious to me, as in the others to which I have alluded; and it is less excusable, because he could have seen from the Parliamentary papers, relating to New Zealand, which have been recently published, that I had not received the Act upon the 22nd of December, 1 whilst I had proclaimed the receipt of it upon the 17th of January, so that I proclaimed the receipt of it in about three weeks from the time I received it, instead of delaying my proclamation for six weeks, as stated by Mr. Adderley.

To make the case still stronger, he again asserts that I had not made a solitary nomination to the nominee part of the General Legislature, at the end of thirteen months after I had been directed by Sir J. Pakington to use all expedition in making such nominations. This again is quite incorrect; at least five of these nominations were made, and the letters patent issued, by the month of May, that is, in less than five months after I had received the Constitution

[Image of page 5]

Act. The others were made as speedily as possible, but this was a delicate and difficult duty, which took much correspondence and time to perform. Mr. Adderley has probably been led into this error by thinking that no appointments were made to the Upper Chamber previously to the issue of the final notice containing the names of all the gentlemen so appointed.

Again, Sir John Pakington in his additional complaint against me, states that when the New Constitution Act was passed, the usual period of Colonial Service had in my case almost expired, now reckoning from the time of my leaving England, my period of Colonial Service had then amounted to twelve years, or more than double the usual period, and even reckoning from the time of my leaving South Australia for New Zealand, I had then exceeded the usual period of Colonial service.

I should notice another statement which has been made, viz. "That when the Constitution was sent out, the Governor himself stated, that in calling together the New Provincial Assemblies, he had to arrange electoral districts; assign polling places; issue writs; so that all those things were already done, the doing of which had been pleaded as an excuse for delay in the present instance."

Now the fact is, that what had been done in this respect, previous to the receipt of the New Constitution, although of great subsequent use, related only to two Provinces--New Ulster and New Munster,--

[Image of page 6]

and only incompletely, and imperfectly to the latter of these; and did not embrace any provisions whatever for the General Assembly, or for elected Superintendents. In the statement I above quoted, it is altogether left out of sight, that under the New Constitution, I had to make arrangements for six Provinces instead of two; for a General Assembly of two Chambers; for the election of Superintendents; for the Executive details necessary to detach six Provincial Governments under elected Chief Officers, from the Central Government, and to put these in full operation; to make as plain as I could to the Native population, the meaning of the new state of things, and to ascertain that they were reconciled to it; besides making many other preparations, which it would be tedious to state in detail.

I see, also, that Sir John Pakington made this charge against me, that "certain rumours had reached him of the conduct of Governor Grey in relation to the elections in New Zealand;-- conduct, if those rumours were true, not at all creditable to the Governor, and certainly not in accordance with the intentions of the Government by whom the Constitution Act was passed."

What these rumours, not creditable to my conduct were, I am unable to state. It would have been, I submit, right of Sir John Pakington to have stated plainly, what they were, and not to have made so vague a charge. I can only say, that if it is meant that I directly or indirectly interfered with

[Image of page 7]

the elections, or ever even asked how any one voted, whether in the Government service or not, I positively deny the charge; on the contrary, when persons were elected and became members of the Provincial Governments, who for years had been opposed to my Government, I gave them the most friendly and cordial advice and assistance, and they rewarded me by frequently thanking me for this, and by gladly availing themselves of the assistance which I gave them. My object was to see the country prosperous and contented, and no personal feelings could have led me to lose sight of that end.

[Image of page 8]

Manner of introducing the Constitution, and alleged delay in bringing it into operation.

As to the manner in which the framers of the Act intended that it should be brought into operation, I certainly ought to be the best judge. The Act contains 82 clauses; 5 of those may be termed mere formal clauses, 60 clauses were sent home by myself, either actually drawn by the Attorney-General of New Zealand acting under my directions, or so fully sketched out that little remained to be done, although some of them were in some respects altered; only seventeen new clauses were added to the Bill, several of which relate to the debts of the New Zealand Company, and to the affairs of the several Land-selling Associations. I do not mean that the sixty clauses which I sent home were all originally framed by myself, for the outline was principally derived from that originally drawn by Earl Grey, and other persons aided me in this duty in the most able and generous manner, so that I can hardly tell which suggestions were mine, and which were theirs; the whole plan as it originally stood for the election of the Upper House by the Provincial Councils was undoubtedly Earl Grey's. But this I am sure will be admitted by all--that the fitting the frame-work together in the manner it was sent home was entirely my work, and that I alone had worked out the whole plan of the concurrent operation of the Executive

[Image of page 9]

and Legislative powers of the Central and several Provincial Governments.

I should point out that it was always intended by the framers of both the measures for conferring a constitution upon New Zealand that the Provincial Councils should meet before the General Assembly.

The Constitutions of 1846 and of 1852 were identical in the main outline of a General Assembly, and of Provincial Councils--in that of 1846, in the 8th clause of the 8th chapter of the Royal Instructions, it was enacted that the Provincial Councils should meet first, and elect the members for the Lower House of the General Assembly; so that from the isolated nature of the Provinces, and the little communication between them, the General Assembly could not under the Constitution of 1846, have met until nearly twelve months after the meeting of the Provincial Councils.

Again, the framers of the Constitution of 1852 proposed that the Upper House of the General Assembly should be elected by the Provincial Councils, in which case also the General Assembly could not have met until long after the Provincial Councils; the whole Constitution of 1852 was drawn upon this supposition, and although the mode of nominating the Upper House was altered, no corresponding alterations were made throughout the measure to shew that it Was the intention of Parliament, that the General Assembly should meet before the Provincial Councils.

[Image of page 10]

On the contrary, Parliament required that the Provincial Councils should be elected at the same time as the General Assembly, and then left the power of assembling the Provincial Councils, whenever they pleased, with the elected Superintendents, giving the Governor no control whatever over this subject; whilst as the Provincial Councils were merely local bodies, the members of which had no great distance to come to their place of meeting, they could be assembled by the respective Superintendents without much delay, and generally were so.

Such being the case, as the Superintendents of Provinces and the members of Provincial Councils were frequently members of the General Assembly, it would, if the General Assembly could have been immediately convened, (which it could not), have been improper and impolitic to have so convened it whilst the Provincial Councils were sitting.

Moreover, I think it was reasonable that the Provincial Councils should have met first. The General Assembly could only meet rarely, after considerable intervals of time, and with great inconvenience to the members. A great part of their duties at their first meeting would consist in conferring powers; upon the Superintendents and Provincial Councils, and in passing laws upon general subjects in conformity with the wishes of the inhabitants of the Provinces; now, until the Provincial Councils had met, and discussed these subjects, none of these points could be ascertained, and the General Assem-

[Image of page 11]

bly, even if it had immediately met, could not have performed its proper functions.

I now turn to the subject of my alleged delay, in introducing the New Constitution.

About the middle of the year 1851, I sent home the draft of the Constitution at present enjoyed by New Zealand; being unaware whether it would or would not be adopted by Her Majesty's Government, I could in no way make my recommendations public, for had I done so, and they had been disapproved of, great discontent would have followed; at the very time therefore that I had made those recommendations, and for long afterwards, I was sedulously represented by one party in the Colony and in England as doing everything in my power to prevent the introduction of representative institutions, and the unpopularity which I thus acquired, by faithfully discharging that which was my evident duty to the Home Government, rendered it a matter of greater difficulty for me to introduce the New Constitution when it arrived in the country.

About the month of June, 1852, I received a letter from Earl Grey, informing me that Her Majesty's Government adopted and approved generally of the measure in the form in which it was sent home, and I without notifying to the public the receipt of this letter began to make preparations for the immediate introduction of the Constitution, when in a few days I received a letter from Sir John Pakington informing me of the change of

[Image of page 12]

ministry, acquainting me that it was doubtful if Her Majesty's advisers would now go on with the measure, and directing me, as prejudicial results might follow if the Colonists were disappointed in their expectations, to take care not to make public the intentions regarding the New Zealand Constitution which had been notified to me by Earl Grey. (I quote from memory as I have in my possession no copy of this letter.)

In compliance with these directions, which appeared under existing circumstances reasonable and proper, I still kept secret the recommendations which I had made, and which had been approved of by Lord John Russell's administration, and stopped every proceeding and preparation in reference to the Constitution which could have made its existence known to the public, and continued cheerfully to endure the misrepresentations and attacks to which I was subjected, in consequence of my giving to Sir John Pakington the assistance which I should have afforded him, even if he had not instructed me to do so.

At length I heard that the measure had been laid before Parliament by Sir John Pakington, and had passed, and on or about the 25th of December, 1852, I received his despatch dated the 16th of July in the same year, transmitting me a copy of the Constitution Act in the form in which it received the Royal assent.

Here the question arises for discussion--Did I, upon the receipt of this Act, issue the several Pro-

[Image of page 13]

clamations and perform the several acts necessary to bring the Constitution into operation, as speedily as I ought to have done?

To this I answer that I issued all the necessary Proclamations, and performed all the duties imposed upon me in reference to the introduction of the Constitution within the respective periods of time allowed by Parliament; and this is I think a sufficient answer to the question; for clearly Parliament intended, provided I did this, to leave to my own discretion the precise date at which each act was to be performed. No person but myself can be a judge of the motives of policy, or of the stern necessities which compelled me to weigh with care and caution every step that I took in introducing a new form of government amongst a jealous and excitable race. I did this successfully and peacefully within the time in which Parliament had directed me to do it. Had I attempted to do it hastily or unadvisedly I might not have done it at all, and have changed a friendly nation into an inveterate foe, and yet I am now put upon my trial for a crime unknown to the law, --for Parliament only made it an offence not to have performed certain duties within certain specified dates, and I am not accused of breaking that law, but of having fulfilled it.

I am, however, quite willing that the question should be opened upon this basis, because I am satisfied that a full consideration of the nature of the many and difficult duties entrusted to me by the

[Image of page 14]

New Zealand Constitution Act, will satisfy any impartial person that I could not have executed them in a shorter space of time than I accomplished them in.

I was required by that Act, to fix the boundaries of each of six Provinces, in such a manner that the extent of each might have a just proportion to the Customs' duties, that could be levied at its port or ports, so that its Government might have a sufficient revenue to defray the necessary expenses of each part of the Province; and in such a manner that the native tribes included within each Province might properly fall under its control, so that little chance might arise of collision between them and the Provincial Governments, regarding their territorial limits; or other similar questions.

I was further required to assign the number of members for each of the six Provincial Councils, and for each of the Houses of the General Assembly; to determine the limits of each separate electoral district in every one of the six Provinces; to fix every polling place; to determine the number of members that each Province should return to the Lower House of the General Assembly, and that, each Electoral District should return to their respective Provincial Councils.

To the above-named duties, I may add the following important ones, which I was also required to execute, viz. to decide the manner in which the elections and mode of voting were to be conducted; to

[Image of page 15]

arrange all the duties by which the administrative functions of the General Government, and of the six Provincial Governments administered by elected Superintendents, might be so conducted in their military, judicial, financial, land, and other departments, that they might work together harmoniously, and yet that a strong and efficient Government might exist in every part of the islands.

To select from each settlement those fittest to be called to the Upper House, and who would consent to perform duties, which after the disappointment of the Colonists, in not obtaining an elected Upper House, had become very invidious ones; and to explain to jealous Chiefs and easily alarmed tribes, what were to be their duties under this new state of things, and how their rights would be protected where so much power was to be given over into the hands of the European population, which contained many persons, whose cupidity, or supposed hostility, they dreaded. It should further be remembered that those duties had to be performed in relation to a vast extent of little known territory, all the settlements in which were extremely isolated and remote from each other, which latter cause rendered it necessary for me, in order properly to perform them, to undertake journeys on foot of more than one thousand miles, in the aggregate, besides long journeys on horseback, and voyages to some of the settlements.

Duties of the nature above detailed are generally

[Image of page 16]

entrusted to a Legislative body composed of members collectively possessing local knowledge regarding every portion of the country for which they are to legislate, although the peculiar circumstances of New Zealand required that the almost unprecedented course should be taken, of entrusting all these powers to a single person, I think that in estimating the time in which such varied difficult and delicate duties were performed by him, great allowances should be made.

I may state that from the able and zealous assistance I received from the various public functionaries, I was enabled to discharge these numerous and delicate duties in such a manner that no complaint of partiality, or unfairness, upon my part, has yet reached me, whilst the Colonists as a mass, both European and native, have on various occasions expressed themselves towards me in the language of warm gratitude and affection. All this was accomplished in addition to the manifold and pressing ordinary duties of a very difficult and extensive Government, within less than twelve months from the date of my first Proclamation acknowledging the receipt of the Constitution Act, and within the same time most of the Provincial Legislatures had been assembled, and had arranged the affairs of their respective Provinces, the Constitution was in full operation, the country tranquil and prosperous in every part, although such great political changes

[Image of page 17]

had taken place, and the time had arrived at which the General Assembly could be legally and conveniently convened.

To go more into details as to the time in which I performed the various acts which, by the new Constitution, I was required to execute, I beg to point out that I received the Act after the 24th of December, and that, instead of availing myself of the six weeks allowed by law before I issued the first Proclamation, that document appeared in about three weeks--that is, upon the 17 th of January.

On the 28th of February the Proclamation appeared which assigned the limits of the six Provinces into which New Zealand was divided; and I had, during the interval between the 25th of December and the 28th of February, so far completed my work, that upon the 5th of March the Proclamation appeared which completed all my ministerial acts with regard to introducing the Constitution; that is, all my own work was done in little more than two months--the delay which followed arose from geographical causes, from the necessity of forming electoral rolls, and explaining various points to the native population, &c. &c.

Here I beg to point out, that by the 5th clause of the Act of Parliament it was enacted, that in fixing the number of members for each electoral district, I should have regard to the number of electors within the same. Perhaps, therefore, in strict law,

[Image of page 18]

(although the question is a doubtful one,) I ought not to have issued the proclamation fixing the number of members for each district until the electoral rolls had been formed, and I had thus ascertained the number of electors in each district. From the great extent of territory for which I was legislating, and the little communication between its several parts, had I adopted this course, the introduction of the Constitution must have been delayed for a considerable period of time. Therefore, knowing from personal knowledge very nearly the number of electors, in each district which I defined, I ventured, acting solely for the public good, at once to assign by Proclamation, the number of members to each electoral district, without waiting for the formation of the electoral rolls, thereby giving the fullest proof of every desire to introduce the Constitution with the least possible delay. I regret to add that I was informed, from sources which entirely satisfied me of the truth of the fact, that the very persons in the Colony--who are now promoting the attacks to which I am subjected in England for an alleged delay in the introduction of the Constitution, were taking measures in the Colony to overthrow the whole Constitution, upon the ground that I had committed an illegal act in not waiting for the formation of the electoral rolls before I fixed the number of members for each district. Finding, therefore, the danger to which the Constitution was exposed by the proceedings of such persons, I felt it to be

[Image of page 19]

necessary, in reference to all my future acts--such as issuing Writs, convening the General Assembly, &c. &c. --to take care on no account in any way to depart from the strict letter of the law.

Acting upon this principle, I could not have issued the necessary Proclamation for calling the General Assembly together until about seven or eight days before I left New Zealand, because it was only then that I received from Otago the returned writs required by the 44th clause of the Constitution Act 5 nor is the delay to be wondered at, when it is remembered that Otago is distant about eight hundred miles from Auckland, that there is no communication between the two places but by sea, and that only very rarely.

When the returned writs from Otago reached me, a motive of delicacy prevented me from immediately issuing a Proclamation notifying the day upon which the General Assembly was to meet, which must necessarily from geographical causes have been at a distant date, because I was so shortly to quit the colony, and to leave the whole responsibility of its future welfare and safety in the hands of another officer; I did not, therefore, feel justified in fully committing him to so important a measure as summoning the General Assembly, and I thought as he was about to enter on such difficult duties, that his hands would be strengthened by so popular and gracious an act as summoning the Assembly eman-

[Image of page 20]

ating from himself. I therefore merely acquainted him verbally and in writing with my intention of having immediately issued a notice for the meeting of the General Assembly had I remained in New Zealand, and recommended him to pursue the same line of policy, which he did by summoning the General Assembly for the 24th of May.

I further recommended the officer temporarily administering the Government, to convene the General Assembly at Auckland, telling him I should have done so had I remained in the country. I did this because Her Majesty's Government had formerly directed that Auckland should be constituted the capital of the New Zealand Islands, and because, when I found it necessary for the public convenience occasionally to assemble the General Legislature at Wellington, I gave a public and distinct pledge that it should, in as far as possible, assemble alternately at Wellington and Auckland; notwithstanding this, circumstances had compelled me to assemble it twice in succession at Wellington, to the prejudice of Auckland. I therefore thought that in order to fulfil the promises made in regard to the latter place, the next meeting of the General Legislature ought to take place at Auckland, and that any change in the capital of the Islands should be made by the inhabitants of the country themselves, through their representatives, and not by the Governor or by the Secretary of State, and that no apparent convenience ought to lead me to commit a direct breach of public faith.

[Image of page 21]

I beg further to remark, on this part of the subject, that the statement reported to have been made in the House by Mr. Adderley, "that the writs for the election of members were not issued until the l2th of July, 1853, that being actually six months after the proclamation of the Act," is not correct. Although I have no means here of ascertaining the precise dates, I believe that in the Province of Auckland, the writs were not only issued, but the elections were concluded at the end of the month of June or early in July, and the others were issued when the necessary arrangements could be made, when I thought the minds of the natives in the particular districts to be in such a state, and so far prepared for the important changes about to take place, that the election of the Superintendent who was to exercise so great an influence over their future, might not alarm or irritate them, and when the requisite preparations had been made for handing over the details of the Executive Government of the new Province to the Superintendent.

Having thus replied to the first five complaints, I now come to the sixth, the

Alleged Illegal Appropriation of Revenues.

The Constitution Act, by the 66th clause, directs that all the revenues arising from taxes, &c. "levied in virtue of any Act of the General Assembly, shall be subject to be appropriated to such specific

[Image of page 22]

purposes as by any act of the General Assembly shall be prescribed in that behalf, and the surplus of such revenues which shall not be appropriated, shall be divided among the several Provinces, in the like proportion as the gross proceeds of the said revenue shall have arisen therein respectively, and shall be paid over to the Treasuries of such Provinces for the public uses thereof, and shall be subject to the appropriation of the respective Provincial Councils of such Provinces"

Before the passing of the Constitution Act, I pointed out to the Secretary of State, (Despatch, No. 106, October 8th, 1847), that this language, which had been used in the previous Constitution Act was ambiguous, as it gave no power either to the General Assembly, or to the Provincial Councils to deal with the existing revenue raised under the laws of the previous Legislature; but I was informed (March 7, 1848) that this was a matter of no practical importance; for, that if I should constitute separate Provincial Legislatures, I should be able, if I thought fit, to adopt the regulations laid down in chapter 12 of the Royal Instructions, and to leave the appropriation of the surplus revenue to the Provincial Legislatures, after making the deductions specified.

When the New Constitution Act was drawn, the framers of it still left the same framework of Government, namely, a General Assembly, and Provincial Councils; and Parliament, notwithstanding

[Image of page 23]

my having pointed out the objections which existed, adopted exactly the same language as regarded the appropriation of the revenue; and as no other course was left open to me, I followed the instructions I had received, and directed that the law in as far as was practicable should be complied with, that is that the revenue raised under the laws of the previous General Legislature, should be first applied to the specific purposes to which they had appropriated it, that the Civil List and other charges directed by Parliament, should then be deducted, and that after these deductions had been made, the surplus should be paid over to the Treasuries, in the manner, and in the proportions, directed by law.

I see that the question of the legality of this proceeding was recently raised in the Provincial Council at Wellington, and that the Law Officer of that Province, who has nearly always been in direct opposition to the former General Government, gave it as his opinion that the acts of the General Government in this respect were perfectly legal, and although I have heard it stated in general terms that they were illegal, I have never heard any reason advanced in support of that opinion; nor can I in any way understand it. The former General Legislature had raised the revenue, and had subjected it to such general charges as they thought proper, leaving the residue to be appropriated by the Provincial Councils--Parliament from that residue had appropriated such portion as they thought proper for the Civil List and other analogous purposes--why therefore was not the

[Image of page 24]

balance, that is about two-thirds of the whole income, to go to the Provincial Treasuries.

Moreover it was clearly reportable that the balance should be paid to the Provincial Treasuries for as I have before shewn, the Provincial Governments and Legislatures were called by Parliament into immediate existence, whilst the General Assembly could not under any circumstances have, assembled for a considerable period of time; had therefore no revenue been at the disposal of the Provincial Legislatures when first the Provincial Governments came into existence, the country must have been left without any efficient Government, property would have been depreciated in value, life would have been insecure, great disasters would have ensued, if indeed the whole Constitution had not fallen to pieces.

It will be seen from this explanation that the whole revenue of New Zealand was appropriated under the authority of Parliament, of the previous General Legislature (whose laws are still in force), or under the authority of the Provincial Councils; and how Members can be induced to stand up in the House and repeat, again and again, that "I had committed the illegality of appropriating the revenue under my own authority," I am quite at a loss to understand. I feel certain that had I acted in any other manner than I did, the very persons who by misrepresenting my acts have led Members to adopt this course, would have seen with delight the disasters which would have sprung from

[Image of page 25]

my proceedings; and would then with good reason, and with a certainty of success, have moved Parliament to censure my conduct.

Alleged avidity in appropriating to myself, or rather to my office, the popularity of certain acts of grace which ought properly to be considered as belonging especially to Her Majesty.

Mr. Adderley says, "that this is another accusation, and no slight one, which he brings against me;" but I am not quite sure what he means.

If he means that I always earnestly strive to seize with avidity and gratitude every opportunity of doing good which my country affords me, I suppose that in common with every other British officer I should plead guilty. But if Mr. Adderley means that I have ever used such powers to diminish the loyalty and affection of Her Majesty's subjects for their Queen, or to increase my own popularity without any regard, for the consequences that mv proceedings may produce to the State, that, I am fortunately in a condition absolutely to disprove.

With regard to the first point, the attachment of Her Majesty's subjects to their Sovereign, it is notorious that when I assumed the government of New Zealand the natives were in a state of rebellion, and that a very disaffected feeling prevailed amongst large numbers of them, and that when I left the country, in no part of Her Majesty's dominions

[Image of page 26]

could subjects be found, who regarded their Queen with greater love, reverence and attachment than the inhabitants of New Zealand.

Upon the second point, I have to state that upon three occasions recently I have had, with no solicitation upon my own part, and at no suggestion of my own, extraordinary and unusual powers conferred upon me.

Firstly-- Lord Grey, with the most generous confidence in my discretion, induced Parliament in 1848 to pass an Act conferring upon me powers of a magnitude which had never I believe been before trusted to a British Governor, for they authorised me in point of fact to create temporarily in New Zealand, if I thought fit to do so, a representative system upon any basis that appeared to me suited to the circumstances of the country.

Secondly--The last Constitution Act for New Zealand conferred upon me most unusual powers with regard to fixing the number of members for the Upper and Lower Houses of the General Assembly, and for the Provincial Councils, as also the proportions in which they were to be returned by the different electoral districts, the boundaries of the Provinces, &c. &c.

Thirdly--I had recently conferred upon me extensive and unusual powers in relation to the Crown Lands in New Zealand.

Now it is quite true that in each of these two last cases I exercised to the fullest extent the powers

[Image of page 27]

with which I was entrusted. I did this because I believed my duty to my country required me to do so. It may be argued, as Mr. Adderley does, that it was not a sense of duty, but a love of popularity that led me to exercise the powers entrusted to me in the last instance. Of course I have no direct means of disproving an assertion which relates to mere alleged motives, but I can shew that there are at least some probabilities in my favour.

For in the case of the first instance I have alluded to, at the same time that Parliament entrusted me with such ample and unusual powers of legislation upon the subject of representative institutions in New Zealand, it was itself legislating upon the same subjects in reference to Colonies in the immediate vicinity of those islands, so that I could easily have set up my own judgment in opposition to that of Parliament, and have acquired very great popularity by establishing by my own authority a more liberal or popular system of representation in New Zealand than Parliament established in the neighbouring Colonies.

On the contrary however, although I incurred very great unpopularity and odium by the course I pursued, and had to withstand the most severe pressure from those who hoped to force me to concede demands, which they knew I had authority to grant, I steadily refused through a long interval of time, and to the last, to exercise the powers with which I was entrusted, in the manner which the popular voice demanded, in-

[Image of page 28]

forming the Secretary of State that I pursued this course because "I judged it was my duty as an officer of a great Empire, entrusted with high powers, not to attempt rashly to set up my judgment against the opinions of the majority of the Great Council of that Empire, and by legislating in a manner different from that which they thought proper to pursue in immediately neighbouring Colonies, create perhaps great embarrassment and much discontent." In this instance, clearly shewing that acting under a sense of duty I could brave any amount of attack and odium rather than gain popularity by performing acts within my powers, but which I believed to be adverse to the interests of the Empire.

That I dealt in an illegal and improper manner with the Crown Lands of the Colony.

On this point I have to state, that myself and my advisers appointed by the Crown believed that my acts in reference to the Crown Lands were legal, and I have never yet met any one who doubted this, after having read the despatches addressed to me by the Secretary of State upon the subject, especially that of the 15th of December, 1852, which contains this delegation of power: --

"Until therefore the General Assembly shall otherwise provide, it, will be lawful for Her Majesty to regulate the disposal of these, as well as the other Waste Lands of the Province, under the

[Image of page 29]

powers reserved to her by sec. 72 of the Constitution Act, which powers, under sec. 79, she delegates to yourself."

I shall therefore assume, as I am sure will be generally admitted, that the legality of my acts in this respect is really beyond question.

The powers with which I was thus entrusted in reference to the Waste Lands of the Crown were never sought for by me.

That I exercised them in conformity with the advice and earnest recommendations of the advisers chosen for me by the Crown, is clear from the proceedings of the Executive Councils.

It is not pretended that I exercised them for the advantage of any particular class or interest.

That by my measures I inflicted no injury upon the inhabitants of New Zealand, and in no way offended their prejudices or feelings, is clear from their numerous and warm addresses upon the subject.

That I would not have taken the steps I did, if I thought they would have been repugnant to the feelings of the Colonists, is clear, because in the case of the District of Canterbury where I had some doubts upon this point, I have always refused to extend the New Regulations to that District, until the wishes of its inhabitants on the subject were made known to me.

That the measures I adopted were entirely successful, and attained the ends contemplated, is clear

[Image of page 30]

from the present tranquillity and prosperity of the country.

I think that the above would be sufficient answers to the questions raised on this subject, but I am quite willing to defend the policy of the measure.

To do this, I should first remark that upon the subject of the questions between the different races in New Zealand, in relation to their conflicting claims to land, the local Government owed a duty to Great Britain, as well as to the Colony. Upon the satisfactory settlement of these questions, it altogether depended, in the event of a war breaking out between Great Britain and Foreign Powers, whether New Zealand was to be a cause of weakness and anxiety to the mother country, or a source of strength. Whether at the moment we were making great efforts elsewhere, large demands were to be made upon our financial and military resources, to subdue a revolted population in New Zealand, or whether, that population being loyal and contented, would not only aid in the defence of their own country against a foreign enemy, but would cheerfully furnish men to aid in the defence of our other Colonial possessions.

It was the consideration of the subject under this point of view, that made myself and my advisers think, that Sir John Pakington had acted with much wisdom, in instructing me, that in his opinion a great boon would be conferred upon the Colony, if I could make such arrangements that its future

[Image of page 31]

Legislature could take the land question into its own hands, comparatively free from the many difficulties which had unavoidably beset them during my administration.

For it was known to everybody, who knew anything of the Colony, that the great difficulty in the introduction of the New Constitution, was this: that although the Queen and Parliament had conferred upon the General Assembly of New Zealand the power of regulating the sale and occupation of the Waste Lands of the Crown, wherein the title of natives had been extinguished by purchase by the Crown, it really had given the General Assembly very little, because, except in some parts of the Islands, the Crown had little or no Waste Lands of any value, or which was immediately required by the settlers. Hence there were two parties in the Colony; one, in favour of acquiring the land from the natives by fair purchase from the owners; the other, in favour of assuming all lands which they regarded as unoccupied by the natives, as waste lands of the Crown, by prerogative. The natives dreaded this latter party obtaining power, which they knew they would do under the New Constitution, and they would certainly have resisted by force of arms any attempt to take their lands. There was therefore great fear that disturbances might take place upon this subject, and any successful steps which were taken for the settlement of so difficult a question, would clearly be most advantageous to the mother

[Image of page 32]

country and to the Colony. Whilst if they were of such a nature that in handing over to the General Assembly the Waste Lands of the Crown, the gift was changed from a mere nominal one, into a noble endowment of immense tracts of territory, that body would be clearly benefited by the transaction.

The Native Chiefs were, at frequent interviews which I had with them, made so perfectly aware that the Europeans were really pressed for fresh lands, and of the advantages which would result from the settlement of such difficult question, that they at last became very anxious to have them adjusted before I left the country; and I found that if I proposed to issue land regulations, under which they saw they could easily acquire lands from the Crown under a crown title, that they would he disposed at once to concede large tracts of land to me for a very moderate price; and that if those regulations were of such a nature that Europeans could readily purchase land under them, they would make immediately considerable purchases from the Crown, and thus afford the Government the means, with the funds so obtained, and which could be obtained in no other way, of making other large additional purchases of lands from the natives, and of thus still more completely settling the outstanding difficult questions connected with native lands. I should mention that under the price fixed upon land by the New Zealand Company, all land sales had in their district for years almost ceased, so that there

[Image of page 33]

was no land fund; and even in the Auckland district no lands were sold, except those in the neighbourhood of the town. But I will revert to this subject again.

The question of the acquisition of the tracts of land which the natives desired to part with, was one which admitted of no delay. They are a versatile and changeable people; they were willing to sell their lands, then, to myself, and to the Commissioner upon certain terms. Long before the General Assembly could have met, they would probably have changed their minds, or something that was maintained by one party in the Assembly might have irritated their pride, and have altogether prevented them from disposing of their lands.

The discovery of gold in Australia was also leading the colonists in New Zealand to abandon it in great numbers: they had but trifling inducements to remain there. The Government had little choice of land to offer them, and that only at a price at which they could not profitably purchase it. If the Government at once threw immense fertile districts open to them, at a reasonable price, it might not only induce many to remain, but might lead large numbers of persons who had realized money in Australia to come at once to settle in New Zealand: and this end was obtained by the New Regulations to an extent which quite surpassed my expectations. This also was a matter which admitted of no delay. Before the General Assembly could have met, large numbers of persons would have gone, and none

[Image of page 34]

would have come, and all the wealth which was realized to the country by those who remained, and by those who arrived purchasing- land, and raising on it exports, which produced high prices in the gold districts, would have been lost to New Zealand; and the General Assembly, instead of meeting to legislate for a wealthy, prosperous, and rapidly increasing population, would have had to devise measures to try to save a number of impoverished settlements.

Another subject which required to be immediately adjusted, was that of providing sufficient lands; to pay the debts in land, which the New Zealand Company owed to their purchasers. For years these persons had been promised to be put in possession of lands to which they were entitled; and the duty of fulfilling those promises had now devolved upon the Government, which had no such sufficient choice of lands to offer, as would enable it fairly and honestly to fulfil the engagements under which it had come. If, therefore, I could procure from the Natives such tracts of land as would enable me to pay in a just manner the debts which the Government owed, -- justice to long-disappointed, and very badly-treated creditors, required me, at once, to secure such tracts of land for them, and not to lose an opportunity which, if then neglected, might not soon present itself again, and the loss of which might inflict irretrievable injury upon innocent parties.

Again, the question to which I have before ad-

[Image of page 35]

verted of no county lands being purchased, required the immediate attention of the Government.

The result of the high price of land was twofold. Firstly, the Crown lands were occupied by squatters, not in small farms, but in immense districts occupied by each, for which they paid a merely nominal rental--they were viewed with jealousy, and dislike by the small cultivators, and those who wished to purchase small portions of land--and yet on their part many of them desired still to retain the great advantages which they possessed, and their tenure of which principally depended upon the high price of land being maintained, as that price prevented others from purchasing the lands which they occupied. Another large portion of the squatters who wished themselves to purchase portions of their runs at a fair value, were prevented from doing so by the high price demanded for them. Thus great social evils were rising in the country, as well as class, interests, and class hatreds, which there was little chance of being remedied by the General Assembly as now constituted; for the Upper House being nominated by the Crown, would be very little under the control of public opinion, yet must have been selected chiefly from persons holding large runs, who were therefore not likely generally to favour any measure for reducing the price of land; a contest therefore seemed likely immediately to take place between the two Houses upon this subject, and this, as the General Assembly would only so

[Image of page 36]

rarely meet, would have been attended with much more serious inconvenience than in other countries, as it would have been a long time before the Upper House could have retraced any erroneous steps which it had taken upon this subject.

Secondly, The high price of Crown Lands led large numbers of persons (in spite of every precaution which the Government took to prevent such proceedings) to rent lands from the natives in different parts of the Islands, upon which they made improvements, and brought parts of them under cultivation. These persons, who had a great influence over the natives, and who saw no chance under the former Government regulations of being able to purchase the lands they rented, if they became Crown Lands, almost universally exercised the influence they had over the natives, to protect their, own interests, that is to prevent the natives from selling their lands to the Crown. A class of most difficult and perplexing questions was from this cause springing up in the country, which must have caused great future difficulties, and which could, most readily be solved, by the Government issuing such regulations for the sale of land as would render it more profitable upon the whole, (security of tenure being considered,) for the occupiers of native lands to deal with the Government, than with the natives. This end was obtained by the New Regulations, and there can be no doubt that it was partly through the influence of the class of persons that I have

[Image of page 37]

described, that the natives were induced to part with some portions of the tracts of territory which the Crown has acquired for the General Assembly.

Again, there were many persons in the northern part of the Islands, who had claims to land to which they were attached, and who would gladly have closed their claims by purchasing the land if they could have obtained it at its value--but who could not afford to pay the price demanded for it by the Government under the old regulations, and yet immediately purchased the land under the new regulations, thus settling another class of questions of great difficulty, which it was most desirable to have adjusted before the General Assembly met.

It was also absolutely necessary for me to issue immediately New Land Regulations for the whole of the New Zealand Company's Settlements, in order to close the affairs of those settlements. This was a duty that I could not avoid. I had no instructions given to me as to the kind of regulations which I was to issue for those settlements, but an entirely discretionary power was left to me. It was therefore I think my duty to issue the very best regulations in relation to them which I could devise, and not to render myself the tool of a small party in the Colony, who held theoretical views regarding a high price for land, and who were all then, or had recently been, the paid Agents or Directors of Land Selling Associations, and whose judgments were therefore likely to be biassed (perhaps unconsciously

[Image of page 38]

to themselves) upon this subject. I felt also the more justified in issuing the regulations I thought best, because they were evidently satisfactory and acceptable to the great mass of the inhabitants of New Zealand.

I was further certain in issuing the Regulations I did, that whilst they would enable me to cause very large tracts of territory to be handed over to the General Assembly, that body would shortly have the power of repealing or modifying them, if after they had been subjected to the test of experience, it was found that they were in any respects injudicious or unsuited to the circumstances of the country. I also felt that there was little danger of individuals availing themselves of them, to acquire large tracts of land for speculative purposes, because in each Province a Legislative body existed, returned by persons opposed by interest to such speculations in land, and who had the power, which they were prepared to exercise, of placing such a tax upon unoccupied lands, as would effectually prevent persons from holding land for merely speculative objects.

I have only to add that the success of the measures I took surpassed all reasonable expectation; whether in enabling the Government to purchase on very reasonable terms large tracts of land required by the Europeans, or in inducing persons to resort to or remain in the Colony to develop its resources, or in promoting its prosperity and the welfare of its inhabitants.

[Image of page 39]

That I had held out the example of setting at defiance an injunction of the Supreme Court of the Colony of which I was Governor.

The proceedings in the branch of the Supreme Court at Wellington, connected with the injunction alluded to, appear to have taken place between the 15th of March and the 17th of May, in the year 1853; and as I left Wellington for Auckland upon the 10th of March in the same year, and did not return there until the 1st of June, it is not in my power to afford much information upon the subject, more especially as I brought no papers with me to England which related to a question which, although it has been swelled into importance in this country, excited little interest in the Colony, and which I believed long since to be finally closed and at rest.

On referring to such documents as I could obtain, it appears that the following were the facts of this case.

Upon the 30th of March, 1853, upon an ex parte application, a single Judge of the Supreme Court sitting at Wellington, refused to grant an injunction, to the full extent prayed for by Mr. E. G. Wakefield and Mr. Sewell, in the name of a Mr. Dorset, but he stated that he would "grant it to the extent of restraining the defendant (the Commissioner of Crown Lands) from taking any final steps which would actually alienate the land within the district of Wellington until answer, or further order. "

[Image of page 40]

It appears from a letter from Mr. Sewell of the 8th of April to the Civil Secretary, that the injunction in the limited form above detailed, had not then been sealed (consequently it could not have been issued), nor can I find any thing to shew that it ever was sealed or issued.

Upon the 17th of May, the same single Judge granted the plaintiff's application to amend his bill, by making the Attorney-General a party, and that without prejudice to the injunction.

Four days after this, that is upon the 21st of May, Mr. E. G. Wakefield notified to the Secretary of State, in a letter which he addressed to him, and which he published at the same time in the local newspapers, that the Supreme Court would not be moved to further action, because, "that were the Judge to maintain the authority of his Court, he might, and there appears every probability that he would, be suspended from office by the Governor."

I have before stated that I believed that I possessed the necessary legal powers to take the measures in reference to the Crown Lands, which I adopted, and I have shewn why I thought they would promote the interests of all classes of the inhabitants of the country, and that they would be in accordance with their wishes.

Nothing that took place in the proceedings before the Judge of the Supreme Court shook my belief in the propriety of the course which I had adopted.

These proceedings were taken by two strangers,

[Image of page 41]

before a single Judge, in my absence. They were heard ex parte. No one was present at the spot who was authorized to produce the Secretary of State's instructions or despatches to me, and the Judge had no complete knowledge what these were. If there had been any doubts about my legal powers in the first instance, they were set at rest before the Judge gave his opinion, by the receipt of other instructions before referred to, making the delegation of powers complete, of which the Judge knew nothing. After the Attorney-General was made a party, when it was known that I was on the point of returning to Wellington, and that I had received further instructions, all proceedings in the Supreme Court were dropped; and the reason assigned for this, as I will presently shew, was a discreditable one, and calculated to create suspicion that there were other reasons for this proceeding which were not divulged.

The injunction, if ever finally issued, (which I have no knowledge that it ever was,) related only to a very limited district, and thus did not practically interfere with the proceedings of the Government. It was given in a private action, and related only to certain acts of a single Commissioner over a very inconsiderable portion of his district.

It was clear that nothing which passed in the Supreme Court led any important portion of the public to think that the Government was not justified in the course it was pursuing, for in New Zealand (as in all countries) there were many persons ready

[Image of page 42]

to embarrass the Government. Five large Provinces were interested in the question, yet in not one of these (each of which had its own Land Commissioner) was any other application made to the Supreme Court.

I have remarked upon the reason alleged by Mr. E. G. Wakefield for himself and Mr. Sewell stopping all proceedings in the case; it was because, "that mere the Judge to maintain the authority of his Court, he might, and there appears every probability he would, be suspended from office by the Governor."

Had I pursued such a course as to use the high powers entrusted to me by the Queen for the purpose of suspending a judge for having performed his judicial duty, I should have been guilty of a highly criminal act, and I hold it to be utterly inexcusable in a man who was seeking to enforce alleged public rights, to stop in such a course--excusing his doing so by the assertion of a mere groundless accusation. So long as this accusation of a mere suspicion of base intentions on my part came from a man of Mr. Wakefield's character, I entirely disregarded it; but I think Mr. Adderley was not justified in adopting such an opinion, and in repeating it in the House of Commons; and that Lord Lyttelton ought not to adopt it in the manner I am bound to infer from his letter he intends to.

I believe that a consideration of the above facts will shew that the course I pursued was a judicious

[Image of page 43]

and proper one, and that there was nothing in the proceedings before the Supreme Court which should have induced the Government to have suspended the measures it was taking, and had taken, for the welfare of the colony. From the time the Attorney-General of New Zealand could be informed of what had occurred, all the proceedings of the Government were taken under his advice and opinion; and I feel satisfied from his known ability that his advice was sound and good.

That I had refused to act according to the direction sent to me by the superior Government at Some, by doing which I set an example which others might too readily form into a precedent in similar cases to act upon, and that therefore I am not a fit and proper person to retain in any office, or to receive any promotion in the Public Service.

The facts of this case are as follows: under instructions from Her Majesty, or from Her Majesty's Secretary of State, formal promises had been made by the Representatives of the Crown to the native population of one portion of New Zealand, that the sums realized from the sale of the lands which they had been induced to part with to the Crown, should be expended for their benefit, and for that of the settlements in the northern part of New Zealand; and when the Chiefs have objected to part with their

[Image of page 44]

lands for the inconsiderable sums offered to them by the Government, or have complained that they have been defrauded, I and others have repeatedly assured them, under the authority and with the approval of the Home Government, that the sums they had received, or which were to be given to them, were not the true payment for the land, but that the real payment would be, the future expenditure of the fund realized from the sale of those lands upon certain objects specified to them, which would promote alike their own benefit, and that of the European population.

The European settlers in that district had also become purchasers of land there, and had invested large sums of money in the improvement of their lands on the faith of Instructions under her Majesty's signet and Royal Sign Manual, pledging the land fund to certain specified objects.

Parliament apparently overlooking these circumstances, enacted in the 74th clause of the Constitution Act, that one-fourth part of the sum realized from the sale of all lands in New Zealand should be paid over to the New Zealand Company in liquidation of the principal and interest of a debt of £268,370 15s claimed by that body, this being in direct opposition to the frequent promises that had been made to the natives of the Northern Province which is in no way whatever mixed up with the affairs of the New Zealand Company, and I was advised by the Lieutenant-Governor and Executive Council of the North-

[Image of page 45]

ern Province, that any attempt to bring this arrangement into practical operation would endanger the peace and prosperity of the Colony.

I therefore directed that one-fourth of the land fund should be remitted home from every other part of New Zealand except the Province of Auckland, advised Her Majesty's Government of the amount due from Auckland under the arrangement made by Parliament (then about £9000), directed that it should be retained in the chest to await their orders, so that the Treasury in England could, if they thought proper, at once pay the amount in London, and draw for it through the military chest; at the same time earnestly entreating that the subject might be reconsidered, which could easily be done, for Parliament had by the 74th clause of the Constitution Act authorized the New Zealand Company to release all or any part of the lands in New Zealand from the payment charged upon them by the Act.

I contend that, in adopting this course, I set a good example, not a bad one. As a high British officer, I had induced a simple people to let us into the quiet possession of tracts of land by frequently and formally making them promises of direct future advantages. If, because Parliament with insufficient information before it, legislated in a manner which required me to break those promises, I had deliberately broken them, and a new war and rebellion had followed, involving a large loss of life and pro-

[Image of page 46]

perty, and great expense to this country, I should have been deservedly deemed not to be a fit and proper person to retain in any office.

I contend that it was my duty, at the risk of every consequence to myself, to decline to break those public promises, which in order to obtain valuable lands for the Crown, of which we still had possession, I had in my character of a British Governor, made to the people I was sent to rule over. When Parliament, from want of sufficient information, legislates wrongfully or unjustly for a distant nation subject to its laws, unless the high officers of the Empire will take the responsibility of delaying to act until they receive further instructions, the Empire cannot be held together; for the moment such an Act of Parliament arrived in a country, the people hopeless of that redress which ought to be afforded them, would break out into revolt; whilst, could they have hoped that their complaints would have been listened to before the law was enforced, they would have continued loyal and dutiful subjects.

In declining, therefore, to break promises which I had made as her Majesty's representative, and in endeavouring to obtain a further consideration of the course which I feel certain Parliament had unadvisedly taken, of subjecting the lands near Auckland to the payment of so large a portion of the New Zealand Company's debt, I felt that I did my duty as a faithful servant of my Queen and country, and will cheerfully undergo every risk and punishment

[Image of page 47]

which may follow from my having adopted. that course.

That I was not justified in returning to this country when I did.

I left England in June 1837, returned here at the end of September 1840, left again on the 2nd of January 1841, and reached England again in April 1854, thus completing exactly seventeen years' service, with an interval of three months rest in my own country; having been absent on the last occasion for thirteen years and a half.

When I at last asked for, and received leave of absence it reached me in May, but I did not, anxious as I was to get home for the most pressing reasons, leave the country until the following January.

Again, when I had applied for leave of absence and when I left New Zealand, England was at peace; when I reached England, she was at war. I thought under such circumstances the Government might think it necessary that every Governor should be at his post; I therefore immediately offered, if the Government thought this, or wished it, to return to New Zealand without a day's delay.

I had hoped that Sir John Pakington who now reproaches me with coming home so soon, would have remembered what my services during the last seventeen years have been.

[Image of page 48]

No reproach could be more injurious to a British officer than that of abandoning a difficult duty entrusted to him, and it is a peculiarly galling one to me, as coming from Sir John Pakington, because, to repeat nearly the language of a letter which I recently addressed to him, I cannot forget that he was Colonial Minister under Earl Derby, and has been united with him by the strongest political ties.

When Sir Robert Peel's Government was in the year 1845 involved in the most serious difficulties in regard to New Zealand, Earl Derby thus addressed me: --

"After the repeated testimonies I have borne to the value of your public services in administering the Government of South Australia, it would be very gratifying to me to prove my esteem for your capacity and your public spirit by proposing to you some other office of higher rank and of increased emolument, still I am convinced that I shall give you a yet more welcome proof of the confidence which Her Majesty reposes in you, by inviting you to undertake public duties more arduous and responsible than those in which you have hitherto been engaged, though recommended to your acceptance by hardly any other consideration. The urgent necessity which has arisen for invoking your aid in the administration of the Government of New Zealand is the single apology I have to offer (to a man of your character it will be an ample apology) for calling on you, with no

[Image of page 49]

previous notice, to incur the sacrifice and inconvenience of proceeding thither with the least possible delay after your receipt of this despatch."

Then, after giving me some general instructions, Earl Derby added:

"I trust, also, that Her Majesty's Government will receive from you reports, so frequent, punctual and complete, as to enable them hereafter to substitute for these indeterminate directions, others applying specifically to the actual circumstances of your position; and in that hope, I devolve on you a responsibility which it is impossible for me to narrow, and of which I am persuaded you will acquit yourself in such a manner as to enhance your claims to the approbation of the Queen, and the gratitude of Her Majesty's subjects."

Not only did I not hesitate when thus appealed to, to do my utmost to assist Earl Derby in such difficult circumstances, but stimulated by his language, and by that of Sir Robert Peel, I have spent more than eight of the best years of my life in New Zealand, without once either directly or indirectly asking for promotion or reward, and I would not leave the country (as I originally determined when I went there) until I had fulfilled even to minute details every duty Earl Derby had called upon me to perform, and until I could leave a country which Her Majesty had by his advice placed in my hands, in a state of rebellion and ruin, in a condition of profound peace, and of great prosperity, with repre-

[Image of page 50]

sentative institutions in full and successful operation, and followed by the prayers and blessings of the great mass of its inhabitants.

I feel sure that any one who considers these circumstances, and reflects upon the difficult nature of the public duties I have for so long a period been required to perform, will admit that after nearly fourteen years absence from my country, I did not deserve to be received with the taunt, that I had returned sooner than I was justified in doing.


July 6th, 1854.

1   See Address of Governor-in-Chief to the Legislative Council, Dec. 22, 1852, p. 175.

Previous section | Next section