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WHAT WILL THEY DO
To any one who takes an interest in the destiny of New Zealand as a whole, the public meeting held in the Music Hall at Christchurch, on the 10th August, 1863, must have been matter for hearty rejoicing. Generally speaking, interest in politics has been confined in Canterbury to the politics of Canterbury itself. The remarkable prosperity of this Province, owing chiefly to the maintenance of a sound system for the disposal and occupation of land, has had the no less remarkable effect of concentrating the attention of most of its inhabitants on the local consequences of this prosperity, and of rendering them comparatively indifferent to what was going on in other parts of the Colony. It is matter of notoriety that the people here have, mostly, been quite careless as to elections for the House of Representatives, and as to the proceedings of that body in all its Sessions, except the first; provided always, that nothing was done or proposed, which might manifestly interfere with the Provincial prosperity of Canterbury. It has, with few exceptions, appeared as though the Canterbury people thought it was no matter who represented them in the General Assembly. With a greater choice than in any other Province of suitable candidates to represent the people, there have been, in comparison with other Provinces, fewer contests for the seats in the House of Representatives allotted to Canterbury, and less exposition of principles, whether on the part of the candidates before election, or on the part of the members
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after the close of a Session. If there has been little care to inquire from candidates what they intended to do if elected, there has been still less care to ask members, on their return, what they had done for the interests of their constituents or of the Colony at large. Far more interest has been displayed in Provincial elections, whether for Superintendent or for Members of Provincial Council; it may almost be said that even more interest has been manifested in the elections for Town Councillors of Christchurch and Lyttelton, than in those for the House of Representatives. There is one striking instance of the indifference of the Canterbury people as to matters relating to the General Government of the Colony. The Governor, Sir George Grey, arrived at Auckland, and was installed in his office on the 3rd October, 1861. During the two years that have since elapsed, His Excellency has never visited either Canterbury or any other part of this island! And nobody either in Canterbury or any other part of this island seems to have cared. Again: when Mr. Moorhouse resigned the Superintendency, there seemed to exist very little interest as to what he had done in his other public situation as member for the Heathcote District in the General Assembly. He, himself, said hardly anything about it at the public meeting which he called to receive an account of his stewardship as Superintendent, and little more at the meeting of the 10th August. However, he has resigned his seat in the House of Representatives, on the ground that his opinions do not agree with those manifested by the Electors, so far as they were represented at that meeting; and, therefore, I only mention his all but silence on two great public occasions as to what he had done in the General Assembly, as an indication that the public of Canterbury have shewn no striking desire to demand from their representatives in that body an account of their stewardship.
To Mr. FitzGerald must be given the credit of awakening public interest here on the affairs of the
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whole colony. Upon the publication of the Duke of Newcastle's despatch, intimating that the Colony must take upon itself both the cost and the responsibility of dealing with the Native question, Mr. FitzGerald, both in his private capacity, and in the columns of the Press newspaper (of which he is generally understood to be the sole proprietor and chief editor) advocated the signing of an address to the Governor, urging an immediate convocation of the General Assembly, to discuss the altered relations between the Colony and the Mother Country. Upon this, Mr. Cracroft Wilson called a public meeting of his constituents in the city of Christchurch, to discuss the subject. Besides that gentleman, Mr. Moorhouse, then member for the Heathcote, and Mr. John Hall, a member of the Legislative Council, addressed the meeting. Messrs. Wilson and Hall gave their reasons for considering it unnecessary to exert any pressure on the General Government for an immediate Session of the General Assembly. Mr. Moorhouse spoke on the other side. Mr. Wm. Thomson, Provincial Auditor and member for the Avon District, said two or three words on the same side as Mr. Moorhouse. The meeting, a very thronged one, expressed its evident desire for a fuller discussion of the subject. Mr. FitzGerald, not being an elector of Christchurch, was nominally excluded by the Chairman from the right of addressing the meeting. They would have waived this objection in his favor; but they evidently felt that there were yet other opinions to be heard before deciding on the subject, and that the full and fair discussion of it would be best promoted by appointing a committee to convene another meeting, to which all the members of the General Assembly then in the Province should be invited, with timely notice enough to enable each of them to offer the public his deliberate and well-reflected opinion on the matter in question. The committee did its work well and promptly, and the public meeting of the 10th August was the result.
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The Superintendent of the Province, Mr. Samuel Bealey, was in the chair. Six members of the House of Representatives for Districts within the Province were present; namely, Messrs. J. B. FitzGerald, W. S. Moorhouse, P. A. Weld, J. Cracroft Wilson, C.B., F. Jollie, and W. Thomson; representing the respective Districts of Ellesmere, Heathcote, Cheviot, Christchurch City, Timaru and Avon. The seat for Kaiapoi District was vacant by the resignation of Mr. I. T. Cookson. One of the three candidates for the vacancy, Mr. L. Walker, was on the platform; the Honorable Mr. Crosbie Ward, who represents the Town of Lyttelton, and holds the situation of Postmaster-General, as one of the Ministry, is absent on a visit to England; and the Chairman announced to the meeting that the absence of Mr. A. E. White, member for Akaroa District, was accounted for by the fact that his resignation of the seat was actually on its way to Auckland. Four members of the Legislative Council were also on the platform; namely, the Honorable Messrs. H. J. Tancred, J. C. Watts Russell, J. Hall, and G. Leslie Lee. The Judge of the Supreme Court for this District, Mr. H. B. Gresson, was in the body of the meeting; the Provincial Secretary, Solicitor, and Treasurer, the Chief Surveyor, and the Resident Magistrate, and many Provincial Councillors were also present; clergymen of all denominations, merchants, bankers, land-owners, run-holders, farmers, tradesmen, mechanics, labourers, --all classes were fairly represented; and it has been reckoned that the total number of the assembly exceeded 400. Their demeanour was, throughout, most orderly, earnest, and attentive; and although the seriousness of the subject was at times refreshed by a lively sally or repartee, it deserves to be remarked that the speakers, with little exception, abstained from irritating recrimination, and from any opprobrious personalities; and, indeed, from anything not absolutely necessary to a full discussion of the subject in question.
I attended, and took part in the proceedings; pro-
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posing a resolution which was carried without any opposition whatever, although the late hour (nearly eleven o'clock) to which the opportunity for my motion was necessarily delayed, precluded me from doing any more than desultorily stating a few of the reasons inducing me to bring it forward. The meeting had been assembled at six o'clock; the proceedings had actually begun at half-past six; and the audience was evidently so wearied by four hours and a-half of unremitting attention to the one subject, that I felt bound to cut short the observations which I had intended for its consideration, and stated my intention of taking another opportunity of laying them before the public. I adopt the present means of doing so.
I trust I shall not be charged with vain egotism, if I explain, for the sake of those who may not be acquainted with the part which I have hitherto taken in public affairs in this Colony, why I venture to lay my opinions before the public.
I am an elector of several of the districts in this Province, and also of several in the Province of Wellington. I was one of the two representatives of the Christchurch Country District in the first General Assembly of New Zealand, in the year 1854. It is now twenty-four years since I first landed in New Zealand and became a colonist; and although six years of that time were spent in a visit to England, and in exertions towards obtaining the constitution, and towards promoting the foundation of this settlement and that of Otago, I can yet claim the intimate acquaintance of an early colonist with the history of this Colony from its foundation, and especially with that of the North Island and of native questions, and with that of Sir George Grey's former administration of the Government of this Colony.
I have not the slightest hesitation in declaring my opinion, that Sir George Grey himself was the principal originator of the difficulties in dealing with the Maories, under which the Colony is. now suffering. During his
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former administration, beginning in 1846, and ending in 1853, he could do just what he liked. There was no General Assembly. The colonists had no representatives to express their opinions as to the laws by which they should be governed, the means by which they should be taxed, or the manner in which the revenues raised by their taxation should be spent. The Governor had only to select Officers, who were to be nominally his advisers, but really his very obedient servants. It is a curious fact, that two of the gentlemen who were then his very obedient servants, are now his advisers under a Parliamentary Constitution; and are supposed not only to be responsible to the General Assembly of the Colony for the advice which they may tender to His Excellency, but also to enjoy the confidence of that popular body. I mean, of course, Mr. Domett, the Colonial Secretary, and Mr. Dillon Bell, the Native Minister.
The general character of Sir George Grey's former administration was that of tampering with the native difficulties; of staving off, by any means, the time when collision between the races might occur; of omitting to enforce any decisive policy one way or the other; in short, of doing anything, rather than offend either the Colonial Office, by calling for any large naval and military expenditure, or the Missionary party in England by doing anything with relation to the natives, which might be even misrepresented as cruelty from the platform of Exeter Hall.
In order to prevent the natives from becoming interested in refusing to sell land to the Government for the purposes of colonization, it had been found necessary to enact laws which forbade Her Majesty's subjects from becoming holders of land under native landlords. But under Sir George Grey's former administration, the renting of large tracts of land from native landlords, to be occupied by a very few individuals as sheep and cattle runs, was connived at and allowed, although not actually legalized, by him. This took place at that
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time more especially in the plain of the Wairarapa, about forty miles from "Wellington.
William King was one of the natives who had been driven by the Waikato war-parties from Taranaki, and who was residing at Waikanae, forty miles from Wellington. When the occupation of Taranaki by Europeans had made such a proceeding present a greater appearance of safety, William King declared his intention of returning, with his followers, to the land from which he had been driven by conquerors, but which had now acquired a new value, as well from the security as from the usefulness conferred upon it by the neighbourhood of a thriving English settlement. Sir George Grey forbade William King to return to Taranaki. The Maori estimated His Excellency's temporising policy at its true worth, and took his following to Taranaki--to the Waitara--notwithstanding the prohibition. One of the last acts of Sir George Grey's former administration, ten years ago, was an attempt to ride from New Plymouth to the Waitara, possibly with the intention of remonstrating with the Maori Chief as to his disobedience. But the much-vaunted personal influence of Sir George Grey with the Maories was then already at an end. A party of armed natives met him on the way and advised him to turn back. He took their advice, and bequeathed to the Colony of New Zealand the Waitara question, on which the present native rebellion has been founded. He left his successors to struggle against the spirit of insubordination which his unwillingness to be firm had excited; and when he returned, eight years afterwards, confident of his own personal ability to set everything right, he found the Maories better hands than himself at the paltry cunning by which he hoped to outwit them, and, moreover, very confident of their own superiority in physical force, even if he should cease to negotiate in the dark and adopt straightforward measures.
I must now notice another powerful cause of the native difficulties. In 1838, when the projectors of
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the foundation of this Colony (of whom I need hardly say that my father, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, was the leader) were seeking in England for every available assistance towards their noble aim, they naturally endeavoured to obtain the co-operation of the Church Missionary Society. That body had, by means of its missionaries, who were established in various parts of New Zealand, and at various times, since 1814, acquired not only a great knowledge of the character and disposition of a large number of the Maories, but a considerable influence over their inclinations towards anything new to their childish mental capacities. The projectors of the Colony, themselves quite as eager to benefit the Maori race as any of the most enthusiastic missionaries, hoping and believing that the presence, on the spot, of a civilized and Christian community, bringing with it all the material benefits as well as the moral example of a distinguished nation--which the individual missionaries could hardly claim to represent so well as a branch of the nation itself--would confer the greatest possible benefit on a race of savages, applied to the Directors of the Church Missionary Society for their aid and advice. The result of long and patient negotiations unfortunately was, that the late Mr. Dandeson Coates, then Secretary of that Society, candidly declared to the would-be colonizers of New Zealand, that he would "thwart them by every means in his power."
I cannot help believing that this determination, on the part of the very influential body of people in England whom Mr. Coates represented, was conscientious, and sprang from what they believed to be right motives. I am well aware that the late Sir T. Fowell Buxton, one of the most honest and benevolent leaders among church missionary people, when applied to, in 1836, for his co-operation in founding the now flourishing colony of South Australia, expressed his deliberate opinion that all colonization was unavoidably productive of great evils to the aboriginal inhabitants of the
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countries colonized, and declared that he must therefore warn the projectors of the Colony to consider him as an opponent in Parliament and elsewhere.
That unhappy declaration of war on the part of the missionary body has been carried out, ever since, as resolutely, though not always as openly, as it was then made. The first Governor of New Zealand, Captain Hobson, fell entirely into the hands of the servants of the church missionary Society here. During his term of office, the Colony was really governed by a Mr. Clarke, who was called "Protector of Aborigines," and other such lay servants of the church mission. So much so, that when, in 1841, my uncle, Colonel William Wakefield, then principal agent of the New Zealand Company, proposed to establish the pioneers of the Nelson settlement on the Canterbury plains, Governor Hobson positively forbade the proceeding. He was, no doubt, advised that the progress of a flourishing Colony in the South, would counteract the weight given to the missionary influence by the establishment of Auckland as the capital and seat of Government in the midst of the native population, where the missionaries were all-powerful. Governor Fitzroy, under the same influence, shook hands with the Maories, and forgave them for the massacre of Wairau.
Then came a time when the Colonists and their friends in England, exerted themselves strongly to overcome this opposition on the part of the missionaries; which, while only hindering the inevitable march of English colonization, was really planting the seeds of collision between the two races, and placing fatal obstacles in the way of permanent good for the Maories. A debate on New Zealand affairs, in 1845, occupied three whole nights of the deliberations of the House of Commons. Sir Robert Peel was driven, on that question, to the narrowest majority, in a very full house, which he had ever yet experienced while in power. Captain Fitzroy was re-called. Sir George Grey, troops, and men-of-
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war were sent to New Zealand. Colonization, which had nearly died out under the blight of the Church Missionary Society's efforts, revived with new vigour. Otago and Canterbury were founded. A free Constitution for the Colony was agitated for; and, after long and energetic endeavours both in England and here, eventually obtained. It appeared as though the original design of the founders of the Colony to secure the greatest possible amount of good to the natives by the establishment of the largest possible amount of civilized English population amongst them, was about to be accomplished. But the spirit of Mr. Dandeson Coates had not fainted. It was stealthily at work all the time. Bishop Selwyn, who was really placed in his influential position by the founders of the Colony, had at first attempted to carry it with a high hand over the principal agents of the Church Missionary Society here. But he soon became a worker on their side, and against the Colonists. In his own words, "God being his helper," he raised effectual opposition to Sir George Grey so long as His Excellency was working in the interests of the Colonists (and therefore, as I venture to hold, in that of the natives too); and gradually yielded to the influence of the church missionary body, until he made his celebrated declaration that the Colony had been founded for the benefit of the aboriginal race, --almost implying, by the context of the document, that the interests of the English Colonists must give way, if they should conflict and have to be put into the scale of justice.
Before he left the Government of New Zealand in 1853, Sir George Grey seems almost to have yielded to the secret, but persevering influence of the church missionary body. When he had before him the proud task of inaugurating our constitution, he shrank from meeting the representatives of the Colony in its first General Assembly; although to meet them might have been thought not only the most reasonable proceeding, but the one most gratifying to a Governor for whom had
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always been claimed, by his flatterers, the credit of being the constitution's author. On the contrary, he first issued his notorious "Cheap Land" Regulations without consulting the representatives of the people in the Colony. He then arranged that the Provincial Assemblies should first be called together, and that no General Assembly should be convened, at any rate before he had ceased to be Governor. And in the course of these arrangements he was closeted with Dr. Featherston, the present Superintendent of Wellington Province, and one of the members for the City of Wellington, who had, until the constitution was thus almost smothered in its birth, been one of the most determined and consistent opponents of Sir George Grey's administration.
By these two arbitrary acts, Sir George Grey created another of the great obstacles to a peaceable and satisfactory solution of the Maori difficulty.
He laid the foundation of that class, or party of colonists, which has in one way or another exercised a prevailing influence over the politics of New Zealand ever since the constitution was inaugurated. If others than Sir George Grey founded the various settlements of which this Colony consists, --if others than he really fought for, and wrested from his reluctance, its free constitution, --he it was, whom the class of land-monopolists have to thank, for giving them the means of wielding, for their own especial advantage, the powers of the constitution. In every Province where his "Cheap Land" Regulations took effect over any extent of land, the occupation of the land was first monopolised in the form of runs, and its sale to small freeholders was discouraged by various Provincial laws, until the run-holders, who had pretty well taken possession of the Provincial Governments, managed to secure the freehold of large tracts of country at either 10s. or 5s. an acre. Of course they only bought the cream of their runs, thus securing the unhindered occupation of the rest. We have remarkable instances of it close to us
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here. The Canterbury block, which was fortunately saved from this disastrous system of monopoly by a high price, did not at first include the whole Province. Messrs. Kermode and Moore's run, of Glenmark, in the Waipara District, was outside the block, and therefore subject to Sir George Grey's "Cheap Land" Regulations. The consequence was, that those gentlemen became possessed of 48,000 acres of land, much of which is admirably adapted for the settlement of a thick population; but which will probably remain for many years in its natural state, as a wild park for depasturing sheep. Immediately on crossing the Hurunui River into the Province of Nelson, two notable instances of the same kind occur. Mr. William Robinson, of the Cheviot Hills, has acquired, at the price of 10s. or 5s. per acre, the freehold of about 98,000 acres of land, much of it admirably adapted for settlement and cultivation. Mr. Duppa, his neighbour, acquired at the same prices, the freehold of 96,000 acres, which he recently sold, at the price of one pound per acre, to Messrs. Robert Rhodes and Wilkin. I have selected these instances as being in this neighbourhood, in order that my readers here may the better understand what has been the general result of Sir G. Grey's "Cheap Land" Regulations in other parts of the Colony. Fortunately for Canterbury, a large extent of good land, available for real settlement, was included in the block, and thus saved from monopoly; and the Canterbury people were wise enough, so soon as they had the power of framing their own laws for the disposal of public land, to maintain a high price over the whole province; thus saving from monopoly all that part of it, formerly outside the block, which had not yet been snapped up by greedy individuals.
In the North Island, and especially in the Provinces of Wellington and Hawke's Bay, the monopoly of the land caused a speedy check to population, and a stagnation in business. Debts were contracted by the Governments of those Provinces. A large portion of the funds thus raised was spent on immigration and public
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works. But the labouring immigrants, perceiving that there would be little or no available land for them when they should have saved enough money to buy themselves small freeholds, took the earliest opportunity of decamping, after they had worked some time at roads, bridges, &c, which were chiefly for the benefit of the run-holders and other land-monopolists. A large portion of this re-migration directed itself to Canterbury, and it was accompanied by a removal of capital also to this Province, which could find readier employment in aiding the establishment of hundreds of happy homes, than in competing for the custom of a few hundred thousand sheep. Thus Canterbury profited temporarily by the misfortunes of Wellington. But the profit is not a lasting one. It would be better for Canterbury if colonisation were making equal progress in all other parts of the Colony. It is far better for a community to form one of many healthy and flourishing members, than to be one of few sound limbs in an otherwise paralyzed body.
Besides the monopoly of public land, arising from the low prices in the North Island, another means of monopoly has been fostered by the continued connivance of Government in the holding of large tracts of country as runs, by colonists who pay rent to the Maories; a system first begun and encouraged by the unwillingness of Sir George Grey to interfere with it during his former term of office. A recent writer in one of the newspapers describes the natives in the Hawke's Bay Province as peaceable, and likely to continue so, because they are receiving rents amounting to £10,000 a-year from the run-holders of that Province! 1 I dare say the calculation may be correct. But there is one possible result of this system. If once the collision between the races extend so far, as that the Maories shall be satisfied to take the stock on the runs into their own possession, instead of keeping their English tenantry as a yearly
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source of income, no amount of troops or volunteers can protect property so defenceless and so scattered over the country. Even the homesteads and shepherds' huts are too isolated from each other to be defended from a Maori raid. If runs were, on the average, no larger than 10,000 acres each, the homesteads must be, on the average, four miles distant from each other. But most of the runs are far larger; so that the average distance of the stations from each other is probably at least six or eight miles. No wonder, then, that run-holders in the North Island, whether they be tenants of Her Majesty, or of Her Majesty's rebellious Maori subjects, have been disinclined to any vigorous measures for bringing the rebels to their allegiance. They have rather been content to put up with anything from their Maori landlords and neighbours. They have quietly submitted to become as it were the feudal retainers, --the vassals, --I could almost say the serfs of the rebels, rather than run the chance of having their scattered flocks destroyed or driven away, and their defenceless homesteads ravaged.
Of late years, an alliance naturally sprang up between the missionaries, who desired to keep their Maori flocks and their own priestly authority undisturbed by the progress of English colonists in conquering the wilderness, and the run-holders, who had an equal objection to the intrusion of thriving people and happy homes on the cheap pasturage of their four-footed property.
Dr. Featherston, himself a run-holding land-monopolist under the Crown, and sustained in power by the influence of the class to which he belongs, used, until a year or two ago, to be on the most hostile terms, politically speaking, with Archdeacon Hadfield, who is the chief leader of the missionary body near Wellington, and who himself holds a large tract of land as a tenant under Maori landlords. I am not aware whether they are avowed rebels, or so-called "friendly" natives; probably whichever happens to be most convenient at any particular moment. Of late years, Dr. Featherston
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and Archdeacon Hadfield have shaken hands, and worked together most cordially, in the interests of what is called the "Peace-at-any-price" party. Not many months ago, I heard, at Wellington, a run-holding tenant under the Maories, complain of the encroachments on his boundary of Archdeacon Hadfield, who similarly holds the neighbouring run. I do not venture to assert that the Venerable Archdeacon was claiming more than he was entitled to under his illegal agreement with the more or less loyally disposed Maori subjects of Her Majesty; but I do assert that it is piteous to see a gentleman, in his situation, obliged, by his private interests, to appear as one of the parties in such a dispute.
Another very distinguished member of the peace-at-any-price party, is the Honorable Algernon Grey Tollemache; a gentleman who has never taken any public part in politics; but who, as he is largely interested in the maintenance of the present state of things with regard to the tenure of land in the North Island, has, of course, the will to influence the powers that be in favor of such maintenance. Having the will, he is at no loss to find the power of doing so. During Sir George Grey's former term of office, Mr. Tollemache was always an assiduous attendant on His Excellency's private leisure. He was then entitled to a large amount of what was called "compensation scrip," which had the same value as money in securing "cheap land" under Sir G. Grey's regulations. He also had the command of a large sum of ready money. The scrip and the money have been both employed in enabling run-holders to secure the cream of their runs as freehold; they, of course, paying interest to Mr. Tollemache until they can discharge the original price of the land so purchased. Mr. Tollemache must be deriving an income of many thousands of pounds from money thus lent to run-holders in the North Island. If their occupation were seriously interfered with by a general extension of the collision between the British and
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Maori races, Mr. Tollemache's income would be seriously affected; and he might even lose the capital invested in enabling run-holders to monopolise "cheap land." During Sir George Grey's last visit to Wellington, Mr. Tollemache was as assiduous an attendant upon His Excellency's leisure as he had been ten years before. The honourable gentleman never thrusts his opinions on the affairs of New Zealand before the public. If he were to do so, the public might enquire very carefully as to the nature of the advice which he may be in the habit of tendering to the Governor, and how far Sir George is guided by that advice. One piece of advice he is reported to have given, and Sir George is rumoured to have followed it. Acting on Mr. Tollemache's advice, the Governor is said to have entered into the same line of private business, and to have lent some of his own private money to one of the run-holders of Hawke's Bay! Some people, not over particular as to principles, tell me they see no objection to this proceeding, and that it would be very hard if the Governor were not allowed to invest his money in the Colony, as well as any of the colonists whom he governs. But what strikes me as wrong is this-- That, at the very time when the propriety of vigorously subduing the rebels, or of patching up a temporary peace on insecure grounds, may be under discussion by the Parliament and Government of the country, on its own merits, the representative of Her Majesty should be personally interested in the maintenance of things as they are, so far as the success, and consequent solvency, of his run-holding debtor may depend on the interruption of his pursuits by hostile rebels. His Excellency may, no doubt, be rich enough or high-minded enough to disregard this portion of his private interest, while considering the question in the interest of the Colony and of the Empire; but still, I cannot help regretting that it should be possible for this circumstance to bias his opinion, even against his will, and perhaps even without his knowledge, in favor of the views of the run-holding
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monopolists, whose property is at the mercy of any hostile natives.
For, so imminent appears to be the danger impending over property of that kind, that North Island run-holders, and those who are placed in situations of authority by their votes, have, until quite recently, almost without exception, done their best to discourage the idea of arming the settlers--of organizing volunteers and militia--of building stockades--of taking any precautions against any possible danger to other property and to life--even against the possible massacre of defenceless women and children--for fear, as they said, of "Alarming the Natives,"--for fear, as they really meant, of exasperating the natives into killing their flocks and herds! Only about four months ago, the General Government had delegated to Dr. Featherston, as Superintendent of Wellington, the power of calling out the militia for training and exercise. Instead of convening the people by whom he was elected to advise him as to how he should use this power, he submitted that question for the opinion of--the Bench of Magistrates! That body, consisting, in Wellington, chiefly of run-holders, mercantile men, living by business transactions with run-holders, and officials, placed and maintained in their situations by run-holders, resolved unanimously-- "That it was not expedient to arm and call out the militia, for fear of alarming the natives!" In the meanwhile, however, events in the North made it evident to Government that the danger of Wellington, from what the natives might do, rendered the step at once necessary, and they sent down orders, in the course of June or July, without waiting for the opinion of either Superintendent or Bench, to arm and train a large portion of the militia at once.
Major Whitmore, the late Military Secretary, and Major M'Neill, the present principal aide-de-camp to General Cameron, are, together, the holders of a large run in the Hawke's Bay District.
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But Major Whitmore, who lives on the run, showed no such false confidence in the peacefulness of the natives, nor such fears lest they should be excited to active rebellion by wise preparations for safety. Warned, no doubt, by his personal knowledge of Caffre warfare at the Cape of Good Hope, he procured arms for the settlers in his district, organised the colonial defence force, volunteers, and militia there, and was very properly placed in command of those bodies.
How do the other provinces of the North Island-- Auckland and Taranaki--stand affected? Taranaki is, of course, at a dead stand-still. It consists of a small fortified and garrisoned town, sending out flying bodies of forest rangers, chiefly volunteers, who scour the country for several miles round, so as to keep it pretty clear of Maories, but not sufficiently so to enable peaceable cultivation, or even the depasturing of stock, to be carried on in safety.
Sir George Grey's behaviour there was marked by a cruel affectation of ignoring the hardships and privations--nay, utter ruin in some cases--which the colonists had undergone, and his endeavours to induce them to re-occupy the farms from which they had been driven by the rebels, at the very time when the natives had warned him of their intention to re-commence hostilities--which intention they resolutely carried out by attacking and slaughtering the military escort-- proved His Excellency to be either recklessly indifferent as to the lives of Her Majesty's subjects, or miserably unfitted, by idiotic confidence in the harmlessness of the native race, for managing negotiations with the rebels on the part of Her Majesty.
Auckland has recently suffered from native rebellion, plunder, outrage, and massacres of unarmed people within thirty or forty miles of the city. While reaping great advantages from the large commissariat expenditure--so much so that specie has recently figured as one of its exports--the people of Auckland have manifested a truly admirable volunteer spirit, and deserve great
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credit for their readiness to meet the dangers of military operations, as well as to reap the pecuniary benefit derived therefrom.
The best feature about Auckland is, probably, the infusion of superior colonizing population, which it has obtained from British North America, by means of the forty-acre grants made to immigrants paying their own passage. But, in order to continue that or any other system, of conquering the wilderness, there requires to be a larger extent of good and accessible land in the hands of the Government, open for settlement.
Hitherto, the Government department for purchasing land from the natives, has been, really, an obstruction to the supply of land at the disposal of the public for settlement. Mr. McLean, the present Superintendent of Hawke's Bay, was, for a long time, at the head of that department. He was generally nicknamed "the Mystery man;" because, instead of employing his knowledge of the Maori language, customs, and character, so as to enable as many as possible of his fellow-colonists to become equally useful, he kept that knowledge to himself, as though it were a secret protected by some valuable patent, and let the public know as little as possible about the details of his endeavours, of his success, or of his failure in acquiring land from the natives for occupation by British colonists. At the same time, he was himself a run-holding monopolist in the Hawke's Bay District, and a near relation of his was actually the tenant of a run under native landlords. Other officers of his department were also, often personally, at any rate indirectly, through relations and connexions, interested in run-holding monopoly, whether under the Crown or under the natives, in districts where the stock would certainly be in danger in case peace between the races was not preserved. No wonder that, during his administration of the department, the natives became more and more unwilling to part with land, -- more and more greedy to obtain high rents from run-holders, who felt secure of a monopoly of occupation
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so long as the natives should be their landlords, and should not be offended by any active efforts to make them obey the laws or keep strictly their allegiance.
In the northern part of the North Island many of the missionaries, and those connected with them, are themselves land-holding monopolists; but their influence is generally exerted to persuade the natives that it would be ruin for them to part with amy more of their land.
Thus, take it whole, the North Island presents an example of success on the part of the Church Missionary Society in "thwarting" the colonization of the island "by every means m its power."
That body has secured the alliance and co-operation of the influential class of run-holding land-monopolists. The North Island has been kept back in a comparatively desert state, under the pretence of justice to the natives, and by means of exciting their fear and jealousy of the British colonists. Thus the depasturing of flocks and herds is not interfered with; and, at the same time, the missionaries continue to be, like the Jesuits in Paraguay, uninterrupted in their tuition of the natives, whether for good or evil; the dreaded period is yet a while postponed, at which strong and civilized communities shall be the best and most effective missionaries, among the natives, of improvement, both moral and physical; not unmixed, doubtless, with some share of the evil which waits on the best planned human progress, but which may also sometimes be found to detract from the excellence and usefulness even of many an individual and isolated human missionary. This banded opposition to the progress of the North Island has powerful supporters in England. The powerful influence of Exeter Hall is exerted in favor of missionary views. Earnest churchmen, friends and admirers of Bishop Selwyn, no doubt concur in his declaration that the Colony was founded specially for the benefit of the natives. Connexions of Mr. Tollemache, and of other well-born land-monopolizers, swell the throng of those who assist Exeter Hall
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in keeping up a pressure, through Parliament, on the Colonial Office. The whole tendency of this combined influence is to accuse the colonists, very unjustly, of excessive greed for the natives' land, and a disposition to ill-treat and tyrannise over them. To this influence, a Governor, whose principal aim is to stand well with the Colonial Office and influential statesmen at home, possibly with a view to obtaining promotion in the ranks of Colonial Governorship, and titles of honor, is very apt to pay great deference. Even little Colonial statesmen, who desire to be exalted above their fellows, and mentioned as great statesmen in the despatches of the Minister for the Colonies at home, bow to this influence, and, in favor of its results, throw overboard the true interests of the Colony.
The Duke of Newcastle's despatch, on the publication of which Mr. Fitzgerald agitated for an immediate meeting of the General Assembly, orders that the Colony shall take upon itself the responsibility, and defray the cost, of managing native affairs. His Grace, however, as a matter of course, reserves for the Governor the right of refusing his sanction to any proposals of the General Assembly, or of the responsible Government supported by it, which he may consider injurious to Imperial interests, or inconsistent with justice to the natives, and with a faithful observance of all engagements formerly made with them, coupled with the assurance that the assistance of her Majesty's troops and ships of war shall not be hurriedly withdrawn; thus giving the colonists ample time to prepare for their new position. The proposed arrangement will, I believe, be a good one for the Colony, and for every settlement in it; but a necessary condition to the goodness of it is, that it shall be carried out on both sides with good faith, and an earnest desire to secure, on a lasting basis, the termination of the present disastrous state of things. On the part of the Governor, there is required the greatest possible amount of political honesty, manly openness, and experience in dealing
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with representative institutions and responsible Government. On the part of the members of the General Assembly, there is required union for the general good of the Colony, and the abandonment of Provincial jealousies. On the part of the responsible ministers, who are to advise the Governor, there is required a comprehensive knowledge of the whole Colony, and of its wants and resources; the ability to appreciate the present state of things, untarnished by any desire to conceal, misrepresent, or gloss it over for special purposes or in special interests; the wisdom to devise, explain, and obtain the Assembly's sanction to a definite system of remedial measures; and the energy, industry, and tact necessary to carry into execution such a plan, when devised, explained, and approved of.
Do we possess these requirements at the present moment? I humbly venture to think not.
I candidly confess my utter want of confidence in Sir George Grey's capacity for the present emergency. During his former administration as well as his present one, he has proved himself more fitted to govern a Colony in which the Governor rules despotically, or through the medium of sham free institutions, than one in which a really representative assembly and responsible ministry have been established. The success in governing colonies, and especially those wherein the interests of aboriginal races are concerned, on which his reputation has been founded, has almost always resulted from a quality of diplomatic manoeuvring which degenerates into an excessive quantity of cunning. Although the quantity has not diminished, the quality appears to have deteriorated of late years. He can no longer over-reach even the Maories. They have beat him at his own tortuous, secret, disingenuous policy!
Little more confidence, in my humble opinion, is to be placed in the capacity of the present Ministers to overcome the present difficulties. Mr. Dillon Bell, the Native Minister, signed his name to a Proclamation,
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warning white men not to shoot wild ducks on native land, only a few weeks before the natives in ambush shot a military escort travelling peaceably on the Queen's highway! He has since had a share in arming "friendly natives" near Auckland, of whom the British volunteers had so thorough a distrust, that they refused to march in their company! Messrs. MANTELL, READER WOOD, and CrOSBIE WARD have shown themselves ready to take office with any Ministry, irrespective of conflicting policies and opposite principles. Mr. MANTELL held an enigmatical situation, the duties of which appeared to be to enact the "mystery man" at Wellington, by keeping back from the public as long as possible all news about native affairs generally, and the complication of our relations with the rebel Maories. He had left one Ministry, and joined another, without any Parliamentary explanation of the reasons for those changes, such as invariably follows similar ones in England. He has recently been reported to have resigned the situation, and again reported to have changed his mind; and it is quite possible that no explanation will be afforded to the public. Mr. CROSBIE WARD abandoned the STAFFORD-WELD-RICHMOND party, and gave his support to the FOX-FEATHERSTON party, under whom he became Postmaster-General when they gained office by a majority of one! He explained his conduct by saying that, as the power of dealing with the natives was wholly in Sir George Grey's hands, his vote, need no longer be influenced by the difference of opinion on native matters between himself and Mr. Fox's party, and he could conscientiously support them, because he heartily agreed with them as to the distribution of power between the General and Provincial Governments. But he was no sooner in office than he performed, at Hawke's Bay, the functions of Native Minister, in a matter no less important than the decision, as judge or arbitrator, in several cases of difference between British and Maori subjects, the investigation of which required no less knowledge and
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experience of native affairs, than the subsequent decisions involved the individual responsibility of a minister! It must be allowed, however, that Mr. Ward has since done the Colony good service during his visit to England, both by his endeavours--although as yet unsuccessful--to procure the establishment of a Panama line of steamers, and by his recent letter to the Duke of Newcastle, repelling, on behalf of the colonists, the unfounded charges of selfish greed and heartless cruelty towards the natives, which have been laid against them by missionary orators and persons in authority at home. Mr. Domett, the Colonial Secretary, is, perhaps, more remarkable for an indolent treatment of public affairs than any person who has hitherto taken part in those of this Colony. Moreover, his previous service under Sir George Grey as Civil Secretary, when public service consisted of obedience to the Governor's will, has probably disposed him rather to follow in the Governor's lead, and to hope he can make that course agreeable to the people's representatives, than to lead, by personal qualities, or gather the opinions of the latter, and thereupon found his advice to the Governor.
Personal experience, too, has proved to me that, in correspondence on comparatively unimportant public matters, the present Government is insincere and given to shuffling. The details are trivial; but the circumstances have tended slightly to confirm my general opinion, that they cannot be trusted to guard the Colony against the evils which might be inflicted on it by a Governor unsuited by habits and disposition for the emergency; and that they are incapable of framing and carrying out a bold and comprehensive policy, even if it were certain that they had a frank and patriotic Governor to work with.
As I am not in a position so to recommend measures, as that I should be responsible to the public for their success or failure, even if the recommendations should be approved and adopted, I cannot be expected to offer a complete plan for approval and adoption. The general
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principles, however, of such a plan as I could myself approve, if adopted by others, are embodied in the resolution proposed by me at the public meeting in the Music Hall, on the 10th August, which was carried with great enthusiasm, and without any opposition.
That resolution was never published at all in Mr. FitzGerald's newspaper--the Press; the Canterbury Standard published it, but mixed it up with the amendment on Mr. FitzGerald's motion, moved and carried by Mr. Weld; and the Lyttelton Times did not publish it till nine days after the meeting, even then omitting from it some important words.
The New Zealand Advertiser, which is the only Wellington newspaper not under the control of Dr. Featherston, on the 27th August, copied the resolution from the Lyttelton Times, with accompanying comments, as follows: --
"MR. WAKEFIELD'S RESOLUTIONS.
"When referring to the meeting held at Christchurch the other week, we stated that certain resolutions, which had been proposed by Mr. Wakefield, were not inserted in any of the Canterbury papers. The omission has now been supplied. The following are the resolutions as published in the Lyttelton Times of the 19th Instant:--
2 "1. That this meeting offers its thanks to the members of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives, now present, for their attendance and explanations; and expresses its earnest hope that they will, with the least possible delay, unite in promoting measures for the re-establishment and secure maintenance of British authority in those parts of the Northern Island where it has been defied by rebellious natives; and also for the occupation and improvement of the extensive tracts of fertile land now lying waste in that part of the Colony; so that the reclaiming of the wilder-
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ness by a sturdy and industrious population, attached to the soil by ownership, and sufficiently concentrated for self-defence, may avert the danger of any future rebellion, and lay the surest foundation as well for the civilization of the native race and its eventual admission to equal rights of citizenship, as for the beneficial and harmonious progress of both races in loyal obedience to humane and considerate laws, to be framed without fear or favor of any race or class.
"2. That this meeting expresses its warm admiration and respect for the manner in which Lieut.-General Cameron has wielded the command of Her Majesty's forces in New Zealand during this important crisis of its affairs; and urges upon the representatives of this Province in the General Assembly the necessity of so taking part in the deliberations of that body as to strengthen the General's hands, and to facilitate his operations for quelling the native rebellion; and that a copy of this resolution be transmitted by the Superintendent to General Cameron.'
"It will be recollected that the above resolutions were carried at the meeting, and that copies of them were ordered to be sent to General Cameron as well as to His Excellency the Governor. We have not the least doubt that if similar resolutions were proposed here they would be equally as well received. We have never seen, in so short a space, a policy for the future so well defined as in the above resolutions. We have never seen the wishes of the public of the North Island so well expressed as in those resolutions, and we trust that means will be taken to secure for them the active and visible, as they have the silent and hearty support of the settlers of this Province."
It will be seen that the chief objects I thus proposed as aims for the forthcoming General Assembly, were as follows:--
1st. The absolute extinction of the native rebellion.
2nd. Measures to prevent its recurrence, and to renew the progress of colonization in the North Island.
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2nd. The means of enabling the Colony to pay, towards both those objects, whatever may be fairly required from it, without impairing the prosperity or retarding the progress of the Southern Provinces.
As to the first, it may perhaps be asked, "Is not General Cameron doing all that can be done?" "Why not let well alone?" What more can the Assembly do?"
I reply, that I fully believe the Assembly will, by at any rate a very large majority, if not unanimously, strengthen General Cameron's hands by its approval and gratitude. He well deserves the thanks of the Colony. He has displayed personal gallantry at one of those critical emergencies, when a commanding-officer may be excused for incurring unusual risk of his own life. He has shewn decision, combined with judgment and caution, in his military operations. He has won the hearts of the Colonists by his kind, considerate, and encouraging treatment of the volunteers and militia; by his confiding employment of settlers as guides; by his adoption, for the regulars as well as the Colonial forces, of those bush-ranging tactics, which were recommended in vain by Governor Gore Browne to General Pratt; in all these particulars affording a marked contrast to the behaviour of his predecessors in command. If the Assembly should not thank and support the General, I feel sure that the whole Colony will disown them, and do so itself.
But the rebellion is not confined to the Waikato District. While it blazes there, it is smouldering at Hawke's Bay, at the East Cape, at Wellington, Wanganui, and at other places, besides Waikato, near Auckland. Even here it was reported recently, that a native has been trying to buy lead, nominally to put on the roof of his house, but probably to send, or sell at a large profit, to his friends in the North.
I doubt, even, whether the Maories can be now divided into the two classes, of "rebellious" and "friendly." In my opinion, the only correct division of them into two classes is the following:
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First, many of the old men, who are timid and conservative in their ideas, chiefly from infirmity. They have, however, --even the chiefs among them, --lost the influence over numbers of younger men, which they once possessed; and, therefore, although perhaps really indisposed towards lawlessness and bloodshed, their peacefulness is of but little importance.
Secondly, the young Maories; bold, aye and even brave in their way; --arrogantly presumptuous on the strength of the small modicum of civilization which they have acquired, and on that of their emancipation by trade and by missionary progress from the old discipline of their chiefs, without the substitution of any new subordination in its stead. These are eager for some new distinction, --for fame and a name among their fellows, as well as for a novel excitement, --all to be gained by plunder and carnage.
I have an utter distrust of the so-called "friendly" natives, even though their fidelity were guaranteed by Bishop Selwyn, or any other great authority on Maori character. The recent capture by the rebels of military stores placed under the charge of "friendly" natives, strongly confirms that impression. It is to be hoped that General Cameron, whose solitary mistake appears to be his too great confidence in them, has by this time taken warning, and ceased to trust them.
And I believe that this description of the Maories applies to them all over the North Island. If it be so, the invasion of the Waikato District, and the storming, at long intervals, of a succession of fortified positions there, will not suffice to extinguish the rebellion, Nothing short of the arming and training of every white man throughout the North Island, and the recruiting of every procurable Volunteer from other places, will establish the absolute predominance of British law and authority. Without overwhelming power to do otherwise, no impression will be made upon the natives of our disposition to take pity upon and be merciful to them. A protracted and desultory warfare of retaliation
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in detail, can have no other ending than the extermination of the Maories, together with the postponement of all benefit to the British colonists.
British dominion once established, and the lands of the rebels confiscated, the greatest humanity towards the conquered would consist in effectual precautions against a repetition of the rebellion. It might then be found advisable to declare that, for the future, no attempt would be made to maintain obedience to British law, except where military settlements should have rendered it maintainable. Settlers armed and instructed in warlike duties, concentrated in communities of men whose ownership of the soil should give them the strongest interest in the preservation of peace and order, would be the best safeguards against rebellious outrage within their frontiers. Outside territory might be called Excepted Districts. The Government might absolutely forbid any white man from dwelling or travelling therein, without a passport or license, be he missionary, trader, or would-be land-monopolist, whether by purchase or hire. The outside natives might be similarly excluded from the advantages of trade and civilization, by allowing none to dwell, travel, or own property within the British pale without a Government license. I may mention incidentally that WI TAKO, the leader of the rebellious natives whose head quarters are at Otaki, fifty miles from Wellington, owns valuable freehold land with beach frontage in the city of Wellington, and receives his rents from loyal British subjects!
On formal submission to British authority, giving up of all arms, and cession to the Crown of their rights to waste lands in any Excepted District, the District and its Maori inhabitants might be admitted within the pale, but only if it could be at once protected from fresh rebellion by military settlements. On any relapse of the natives of such District into rebellion, they might be either put down by the military settlers, or again outlawed.
As to the really obedient and submissive natives,
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great care might he take to reserve lands for their use, and for income, to be applied to beneficial purposes for them, and to provide in every way--not for isolating them as pensioned pets, nursed by missionaries and magistrates few and far between--but for enabling them to live as civilized, peaceful, and thriving subjects of Her Majesty in the midst of the British population. Perhaps, after a long probation, when they had learned the English language, and to a great degree acquired British habits and character, they might sufficiently gain the confidence of their neighbours to take part in the working of the Government--a distinction which was claimed for them, in a very eloquent oration, by Mr. Fitzgerald, in the last session of the General Assembly; but which, as they are in no way debarred from it by the constitution, provided they be loyal subjects of Her Majesty, it needed no eloquent oration to obtain for them.
The great object of the Government should then be, to make the spoiled child--the Maori--feel how unkindly and ungenerously he has been made to behave himself by his injudicious friends, or by his self-serving flatterers, whether lay or clerical. But at any rate, there should be no more shams of philanthropy--no more (as Mr. Cracroft Wilson very aptly described it, when he met his constituents in the Town Hall) "feeding the pig that is wallowing in the mud with new milk out of a silver spoon!"
If such a plan as I have sketched were adopted, what could be done with the run-holders, whether tenants of the Crown or of the Maories, whose sheep or cattle are depasturing on what, not being capable of defence, must be classed as excepted territory for the present? --districts, I mean, that might be defended by men and contiguous homes, but cannot by wandering sheep and scattered homesteads? For those who have been illegally hiring land from the natives, I should have no more consideration than is due to them from the fact that the Government has given grounds for a claim to
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such consideration by conniving at the practice, ever since Sir George Grey, by his connivance, originated those grounds. The run-holders under the Crown in such districts must, clearly, be compensated for the necessary abandonment of their runs. If the run-holder who is said to have borrowed money from the Governor, or any of the run-holding clients of Mr. Tollemache, his irresponsible adviser, should be among those whose runs must be abandoned for the public good, such cases might be treated with more than ordinary delicacy and generous consideration, because it would be unwise to risk the success of a great plan for the pacification and colonization of the North Island, by exciting the opposition of influential antagonists, well backed at home, in the defence of their private interests.
I need hardly say that I am an opponent of the plan, which has many earnest supporters, of allowing the natives to acquire individual titles to land, and to dispose of it by private contract to individual colonists. The Government itself has proved quite incapable of making a bargain for land, the validity of which is not disputed afterwards by some one who was not a party to it. Such, I feel convinced, would be the case with nearly every private bargain also; and the Government would be expected to interfere in defence of the title of every individual purchaser. The Government alone could, when satisfied that substantial justice had been done by its own officers to the natives ceding their rights to any waste land, render the title secure by the occupation of military settlers; while the individual land-monopolist would leave bis land defenceless-- either waiting till the population of the neighbouring lands should make his own land valuable, or only occupying it with defenceless sheep and cattle.
If some such policy as that very lightly shadowed forth above is allowed to be desirable, what chance is there of its accomplishment?
I must allow that a portion of it seems to be now in
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the process of adoption. Mr. Dillon Bell, no longer warning British colonists not to shoot wild ducks on native territory, has become a recruiting officer of volunteers in Australia; and considerable success has attended his efforts in that new character. Upwards of a thousand men have already been raised there, who are to be rewarded for military services by portions of the confiscated lands. Mr. THOMAS RUSSELL has joined the ministry, at the head of a new department, having the direction of Colonial Defence. Even Dr. Featherston has somewhat changed his tactics, and instead of suing in vain, at interviews with Wi Tako and other rebel leaders, for leave to put up barracks for the colonial defence force in their neighbourhood, has recently blustered as to what he will do, whether the rebels like it or not, in the way of arming and training the settlers, as though he were the very Governor himself! He seems, however, still to care for standing well with the rebels; for he asked two "King" natives, who do not hold British allegiance, to take tea with him in a room at the inn at Greytown, in the Wairarapa Plain, while the loyal volunteers were being sworn to their allegiance and faithful service in the same room! Surely the run-holders in the North Island must be beginning to fear lest poetical justice, in the shape of the roasting of sheep, is about to overtake them?
What are the members of the House of Representatives, for districts within this Province, likely to do towards the adoption of any such plan? Messrs. Wilkin, Cox, and Walker (I am presuming that the two latter will be elected for the districts to which they have respectively offered their services) are new and untried men in general politics. If Mr. Greaves be the successful candidate for Akaroa, the same observation will apply to him. The other Members for the Districts within the Province are, Mr. Crosbie Ward, absent from the Colony, Messrs. J. Cracroft Wilson, P. Jollie, P. A. Weld, W. Thomson, and FitzGerald.
I believe that all the Members and Candidates have
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made a general declaration in favor of "a vigorous prosecution of the war." But not one of them has indicated his views as to what is to be done afterwards! The new hands, at least, must be very much in the dark as to the best manner of dealing with the native difficulty so as to remove it effectually and permanently.
Mr. Weld and Mr. Jollie are probably better acquainted with the subject than any others among the members who have already sate in the House of Representatives. Should their sympathies not be gained in favor of the Northern run-holders and other land-monopolists, they will be the most likely, among the Canterbury members, to take part in the initiating a successful policy for the future.
Mr. Cracroft Wilson and Mr. FitzGerald have also expressed strong opinions on the present state of things.
While I admire the energy of Mr. Wilson, and the fearlessness with which he defies the enmity provoked at times by his plain-speaking, I confess to some dread of his habitual reverence for the powers that be, and especially of his admiration for Sir George Grey personally. As I judge Mr. Wilson to be remarkably conscientious and unselfish in his public career, and therefore rejoice to see him as one of our representatives, I entertain the greater fear when I hear him praise Sir George Grey, of whose political qualities he knows so much less than older colonists.
Mr. FitzGerald made a great speech on native affairs last session. He wanted the Maories admitted into the Legislature. Until quite recently, he strenuously opposed the quelling of the rebellion by physical force. Of late, however, he has confessed his opinion, that the military operations now begun must be pursued to a successful termination. But he has also expressed admiration for DR. FEATHERSTON'S dealings with the natives, speaking, at the Lyttelton meeting on the 7th September, of "the manly and courageous language held to the natives by the Superintendent of Wellington!"
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MR. FITZGERALD has never seemed to be aware of the influence exercised on the native question by the land-monopolists of the North Island. He has rather appeared to be dazzled by the glitter of an unreal and shadowy philanthropy, which has been sedulously held before the eyes of Southern members by the missionaries and land-monopolists of the North, to conceal their real design of "thwarting" colonization in the North "by every means in their power." MR. FITZGERALD has also, unfortunately, less aptness for reconciling differences of opinion, and yielding now and then to others for the sake of united action, than for imagining his own opinions to be the only sound and practicable ones, and falling foul, without either judgment or moderation, of those who do not wholly agree with him.
And yet this is the very time when great evils cannot be averted from New Zealand, --evils that will eventually affect this Island as well as the North, --without hearty and earnest union among the representatives of at least the progressive part of the Colony. Now, above all other periods in the history of the Colony, petty envies and jealousies among leading men should be laid aside; former offences should be mutually forgiven; manliness in its highest sense should be exercised.
Should the members for the Southern Provinces be either bamboozled by false notions of philanthropy, or seduced by the temptations of place and power to perpetuate the system under which the greater part of the North Island remains a desert, yielding scarcely any land revenue except to insubordinate natives, the flourishing land-revenues of the Southern Provinces will surely have to pay for the maintenance of that state of things. Good bye, in that case, to a public expenditure of more than £1,000 a day in the Province of Canterbury alone, as at the present time!
Perhaps that local prospect, --the fear of finding public works stopped and salaries reduced by want of funds, -- and of the odium which must necessarily attach to them
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if their subserviency to the interests of the land-monopolists in the North should produce that effect, may carry weight with such of our members as are not influenced by elevated views of patriotism in connection with the whole Colony.
Some of the leading statesmen of the Southern Provinces have, at different times, talked of SEPARATION as a means of avoiding the above disastrous financial results of the Maori difficulty. I will not dwell on the sentiments which make the very word repulsive to my hearing. During twenty-four years, I have had at heart the greatness and prosperity of New Zealand, and not the comparative success or failure of its geographical or arbitrary divisions. But I will confine myself to some reasons against Separation.
I am strongly impressed with the belief, that when the Duke of Newcastle ordered the Colony to take upon itself the cost and responsibility of managing native affairs, he expressed the intention of the Home Government that the whole of New Zealand should be charged with both cost and responsibility. However much, therefore, politicians of a disposition selfish in the interest of localities may desire to shake off the burthen of the Northern difficulties, I apprehend that their project would meet with unqualified rejection by the authorities in England. At any rate, a successful realization of the project could only be obtained after long and troublesome negotiation, during the course of which the Southern land-revenues would already have been swallowed up by the costly demands of the system for keeping the North Island desert in the hands of a few monopolists.
Even were separation achieved without financial detriment to the South in the interval, I doubt whether the ultimate result would be either great or permanent gain to the Southern fragment. The evil reputation of the Northern half, stagnant if not yet further depressed by blighting land-monopoly, would extend to the Southern half, and discourage immigration of the better
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sort from the old country. Even directly, the depression of the Northern Provinces would do more harm than good to Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland; as an unsound tooth, in the course of time, infects its formerly healthy neighbours with rottenness. The bundle of sticks once untied, no single one, nor any bundle made of a smaller number, would retain strength for any great effort or achievement. Panama steamers, local banks, electric telegraphs, and other great national undertakings would be retarded, if not prevented, by the want of union throughout the colony. The comparative prosperity of the South might, possibly, be but of short duration, and a just penalty for its cowardice and selfishness in abandoning the North when poor and hungry, might be the falling into a similar condition through weakness, or, perhaps, through plethora.
Thus, in the mere £ s. d. view of the subject, the very agitation for separation seems inexpedient; while reasonable doubts may also be entertained as to the likelihood of its eventual success. But how much more shall we condemn and reject the project of Separation, if our hearts can be warmed with a spirit of true patriotism--if we can determine on striving to make our adopted country great and distinguished among those now growing to be the nations of the Southern Hemisphere! How much more reason shall we have to pride ourselves on our efforts, if they should result in restoring New Zealand to peace and prosperity, than if they should merely procure for the South a continued absence of the evils under which the North is suffering! We have no right to plume ourselves upon our comparative well-being, and to throw the North off because a few missionaries and monopolists have brought it to grief!
Let us, then, determine to use that strength and influence which our wealth and leisure for political action must give us--by persuasion, if possible, and if not, by moral power--to compel the North to be well
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governed and colonized. Let us insist on the adoption of such a system as may produce a revenue sufficient to defray the expenses of its own establishment.
This might be done by leaving certain lots of the confiscated lands, interspersed alternately with the lots to be occupied by the military settlers, not in too large blocks, nor at any great distance from each other. These vacant lots woud acquire a high value, both from the settlement and improvement of the neighbouring lots, and from the protection afforded by the trained inhabitants. A price sufficiently high to prevent monopoly might then be adopted. The revenue derived from the sale of the vacant lots would, before many years, amount to a sum sufficient to pay for all the expenses of quelling the rebellion; while it is already evident that the inducement held out by the promised grants of land is sufficient to raise an army of military settlers, by means of whose services the Colony might, ere long, set the regular forces free for service in other parts of her Majesty's dominions.
The Members from the South would be by no means unsupported in the North, were they to insist on the adoption of some such system as I have sketched out. The quotation above given from the New Zealand Advertiser, and an able article in that newspaper on the 1st October, show that even at Wellington, in the very nucleus of run-holding monopoly, the proposal meets with hearty support from a portion, at least, of the colonists.
Let us hope, then, that some such plan will be adopted by the General Assembly in the approaching Session; that it will thank and support General Cameron; that it will remove the present Ministers if it finds them unprovided with a real plan of some kind, if the plan be not comprehensive enough for the emergency, or if the ministers cannot be trusted to carry it out with energy, capacity, and sincerity; that it will establish British authority throughout the islands; and inaugurate a new and sound state of things,.
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securing the population and improvement of the fertile lands in the North Island now lying waste, to the mutual benefit of both races of its inhabitants.
Our duty, as electors and constituents, is to watch carefully over the conduct of our representatives. Should we find any one of them weak through ignorance of the state of affairs in the North, or behold him tempted by the greed for place and power to betray the true interests of the Colony into the hands of the Northern land-monopolists, let us be prepared to call on him to resign his trust! Let us have done with that indifference as to the proceedings of the General Assembly which has hitherto prevailed! Let us make the members feel that a strict account of their doings at Auckland will be demanded of them on their return! Let us get into the habit of meeting together in public and discussing these questions which so closely affect our vital interests! By so doing, we shall find that there are many amongst us, quite as capable of representing us as those who now do so; and we shall cease to be hampered by that worship of little heroes, which makes us dread to punish by dismissal a public man who is found wanting, lest we should not find one of equal ability to succeed him. In Canterbury, at any rate, should any Member prove craven, traitor, or renegade, we may confidently repeat the words of King Henry, when he heard of the death of Earl Percy at Chevy Chase, "Thank God, I have five hundred as good as he!" rather than mourn like the King of Scotland over Douglas as his sole reliance.
By the rapid, yet sound advance which Canterbury has made towards the conquest of the wilderness, without any adventitious aid from seat of Government or Commissariat expenditure, or gold mines, it has attracted a population, in all classes, of a very superior quality; It may fairly claim to be considered already as the real heart of the Colony. Its representatives in the General Assembly ought to be the leading men in it. Its people ought to secure the services, in that situation, of the
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best public men to be found. By giving more attention to this subject, by attributing its due importance to the manner in which they are represented there, and by insisting on constant communication with their representatives on the matters to be discussed and settled, the Canterbury people may perform the duties, as well as occupy the place of THE HEART OF NEW ZEALAND! It lies with them, whether that heart shall discharge its functions aright, so that a regular and vigorous pulse may vibrate through every fibre of the Colony, restoring the damaged or sickly members to health and strength, and presenting the noble aspect of a happy nation, growing in goodness as well as in years.
If the above observations shall contribute in any, the least degree, to such a result, my object will have been attained. I have been in hopes that the opportunities which I have had of making myself acquainted with North Island politics, might enable me to warn those less experienced in them of dangers and obstacles perhaps hitherto unknown to them; and I have felt it my duty to offer them as good a chart as I could draw from my own survey, so that the shoals and rocks may not at any rate be hidden, even if they be unheeded or despised when pointed out.
Should this publication meet with a favourable reception, leading me to believe that it has been of use, I may very likely soon supplement it by a second, on the subject of "What are they doing in the General Assembly?" and later still, by a third, to inquire "What have they done in the General Assembly?"
Coldstream, near Christchurch,
8th October; 1863.
PRINTED AT THE" "TIMES" OFFICE, CHRISTCHURCH.