[Petition of the New Zealand Company]
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PRESENTED BY JOSEPH SOMES, Esq., M.P.,
10th APRIL, 1845.
TO THE HONORABLE THE COMMONS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED, THE PETITION OF THE NEW ZEALAND COMPANY, INCORPORATED BY ROYAL LETTERS PATENT, UNDER THE GREAT SEAL OF THE SAID UNITED KINGDOM;
Object of the Petition.
I. --That we come before your Honorable House to ask redress for wrongs done to ourselves and others, while prosecuting the undertaking for which we are incorporated:-- "The settlement and improvement of the Colony of New Zealand and its Dependencies."
The Company's motives in colonising New Zealand.
II. --This undertaking first suggested itself to us in the year 1837. We embarked in it from a belief that the work of Colonisation was consonant to the constitution and ancient policy of this kingdom, beneficial in itself, and honorable to its promoters; that the Islands of New Zealand were especially fitted for its successful prosecution by their geographical position, their climate and soil, and the variety and value of their natural products; and that it would be possible, not only to unite the interests of the Aboriginal Inhabitants with those of European Colonists, but to render such an union productive of reciprocal advantages to both Races; and to effect the whole plan without burthen to the Parent State.
Proposed means of Colonisation.
III. --The means by which we proposed to realise these objects were, the disposal of Waste Lands, upon the system approved by the Committee of your Honorable House, which sat in 1836; the appropriation of
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a large proportion of the proceeds of land-sales to emigration and other public objects; the introduction of moral and industrious Colonists in lieu of the lawless influx of runaways and others, which had been for some time going on; an absolute exclusion of Convicts; and the local interspersion of the two Races, in order to their gradual amalgamation as one people. The plan to be administered by a body of selected individuals, invested with the necessary powers, responsible for the due performance of their trust, and unbiassed by the possession of any pecuniary interest therein.
Proposed acquisition of Sovereignty and Proprietorship of unoccupied soil by the Crown.
For effecting this plan, it appeared to us that the simplest and most beneficial course was both to assert at once the sovereignty of the Crown over the entire country, --on the best of all grounds, the right of discovery, --and its title to all the unoccupied portions of the soil; but as it had been deemed expedient by the Government to recognise New Zealand as a Sovereign and Independent State, the course we definitively proposed was that of obtaining, on behalf of the Crown, both the proprietorship and the sovereignty by treaty and cession.
Exclusion of Pecuniary Speculation.
Joint-stock Association first proposed by Lord Glenelg.
IV. -From the outset, the exclusion of pecuniary speculation formed an essential principle of our plan, as embodied both in the proposals submitted to Lord Melbourne, in 1837, and in the Bill brought into your Honorable House by Mr. Francis Baring in 1838. The formation of a Joint-stock Association was originally prescribed by the Colonial Minister, Lord Glenelg, as a condition of our obtaining a Proprietary Charter; was at first rejected by us as inconsistent with the principle above mentioned; and was eventually adopted only in consequence of the failure of Mr. Baring's Bill.
Desire to cooperate with H. M.'s Government.
From the outset, also, it was our desire to act always under the auspices of Her Majesty's Government, and in concert with it; we made many unsuccessful endeavours to attain this advantage; and it was only after repeated repulses by successive Ministers, --when numerous intending Colonists were urgent for our assistance to enable them to emigrate, and a
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Foreign Power was about to despatch a rival expedition, --that we resolved to depend on our own resources, and the co-operation of our countrymen, and to proceed at length, unaided by the Government, to carry our plan into execution.
The Company's measures for acquiring land; and maintaining order.
As New Zealand had been declared by Her Majesty's Government to be a sovereign and independent country, we shaped our proceedings in accordance with that declaration, both in acquiring lands for the purposes of Colonisation in the only equitable way which was then customary or practicable, and in making provision for the maintenance of order in our intended Settlements. Accordingly we sent out our Agent and Exploring Expedition in May 1839, and the first Emigrants to our Settlements in the September following.
Appointment of Capt. Hobson.
Defeat of French Penal Settlement.
V. --On the departure of our Exploring Expedition, the late Captain Hobson was despatched to re-acquire for the Crown the sovereignty which had before been repudiated; and, as has since been declared in the Chamber of Deputies, the effect of our proceedings was to prevent the establishment of a French Penal Settlement in the Middle Island, or, in other words, to save New Zealand from the fate of Tahiti.
First proceedings of the Company's Agent.
Complete success attended the first efforts of our Agent. Under our instructions he directed his course to Cook's Strait as the most advantageous position, and the one in which he was least likely to interfere with others, or be interfered with by them; he conciliated the good-will of the Natives, whom he found comparatively few and unacquainted with Europeans; gave them presents on a liberal scale; and, after much negotiation and open discussions with them, effected agreements for the cession of considerable tracts of land on both sides of the Strait, by means of written instruments, the practical effect of which they undoubtedly understood and regarded as satisfactory.
Provision for Native Reserves.
In addition to the presents, a special covenant, till then unknown, was by our desire introduced into every agreement, reserving for the Natives a portion equal to a tenth of all lands that we might appro-
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priate to our Settlers. These Reserves we desired to be selected in exactly the same way with the possessions of the Colonists, and to be intermingled among theirs, with a view to their progressive increase in value, and the development of common interests and feelings, on the importance of which we laid much stress, and which we enjoined to be cultivated with all possible assiduity.
First Agreement, Lord John Russell's, Nov. 1840.
Charter of Incorporation, February, 1841.
VI. --The particulars of these cessions, the site, extent, title-deeds, and even the journal of our Agent, recording his proceedings from day to day therein, were all made public. With full opportunity of knowing these particulars, the Secretary of State, Lord John Russell, recognising our usefulness, entered into an Agreement with us in November 1840, requiring the surrender of every pretension of right as derived from the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and compensating us by a Crown grant of land bearing a certain proportion to the sums which we had expended in the various operations of colonisation. And, on condition of our enlarging our capital from one hundred thousand to three hundred thousand pounds, his lordship confirmed that Agreement by a Royal Charter of Incorporation in the succeeding February.
Special Contracts with the Crown, 1841, 1842.
In reliance on these acts, we engaged in colonising operations, under the inspection of the Emigration Commissioners, with increased activity; and in June, 1841, and August, 1842, we further entered into Special Contracts with Lord John Russell and his successor Lord Stanley, respectively, for the purchase, direct from the Crown, of fifty thousand and a hundred thousand acres of Crown Lands, at the standard price of twenty shillings an acre, to be afterwards expended by us on emigration and colonial public works.
Awards in favor of the Company.
In pursuance of the Agreement and Special Contracts, the Accountant appointed to investigate our claim, pronounced in our favor awards for seven hundred and sixty-two thousand five hundred and ninety-three (762,593) acres of land. But to the pre-
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sent time, though nearly four years have elapsed, we have been unable to obtain from Her Majesty's Representative in New Zealand the grant of a single acre.
As this breach of contract constitutes the most important of the injuries for which we now seek redress, we beg the indulgence of your Honorable House for stating the particulars in some detail.
Conditions of Lord John Russell's Agreement.
VII. --The conditions of the Agreement of November 1840 were, that an estimate of our previous outlay, under certain enumerated heads, should be prepared by a Government Accountant; that "when" so prepared, we should be secured by a Crown grant, under the public seal, in four times as many acres of land as the pounds sterling we should be found to have expended in the manner and for the purposes stated; that these lands should be taken "in that part of the Colony at which our Settlement had been formed," and to which we had laid claim in virtue of contracts made with the Natives and others;" that they should "comprise all tracts to which any persons had derived title through us;" and that we did therein "forego and disclaim" [not assign and transfer to the Crown] "all title or pretence of title" to any lands purchased or acquired by us, other "than the lands so to be granted," and held mediately or immediately from the Crown.
Intention of Lord John Russell's Agreement.
Contingent on Expenditure only.
The intention obviously was, that the power of conferring titles to land should be acknowledged to reside undividedly in the Crown, in contradistinction to the Natives; that, our equitable rights being respected, we should be secured by titles from the Crown in possession of the Settlement which we had established, and the lands we had already sold to others; and that, in determining the extent of land so to be secured to us, the amount of our previous expenditure on public objects should be admitted as payment thereof.
Heads of Expenditure admitted.
The heads of expenditure to be so admitted were defined as being "in the purchase of lands in New Zealand, from the Native Chiefs and others; in the taking up, chartering, and despatching ships for the conveyance of Emigrants thither; in the maintenance of such Emigrants before and during the
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outward voyage; in the purchase and transmission of stores for the public use of the Settlers collectively on their arrival; in surveys; in the erection of buildings, or the execution of other works dedicated exclusively to the Public Service of the Settlement; and in other heads of expenditure or absolute liabilities unavoidably required, or reasonably incurred, for the before-mentioned purposes."
Communication of general policy proposed by the Government;
and of intention to institute the Court of Claims.
VIII. --On the 2nd December, 1840, we received information, which had been expressly withheld until our acceptance of this Agreement should be formally notified, of the general principles by which the Crown proposed to be guided in its measures" [not towards us, but] "for the government and colonisation of New Zealand;" and, as a part of these, it was then officially mentioned for the first time, in the Under-Secretary of State's letter of that date, that "with regard to all lands in the Colony, acquired under any other title than that of grants made in the name and on the behalf of Her Majesty, it was proposed that the titles of the claimants should be subjected to the investigation of a Commission to be constituted for that purpose."
Lord John Russell's order to assign lands to the Company.
On our proving the first portion of our expenditure, Lord John Russell, on the 20th May, 1841, addressed the Governor of the Colony, Captain Hobson, to the following effect:--
"The result of his (Mr. Pennington's) investigation you will perceive to be, that, under such arrangement, the Company are entitled to receive five hundred and thirty-one thousand, nine hundred and twenty-nine acres of land, at present, and that they may hereafter be entitled to a further portion of between four and five hundred thousand acres. You will, therefore, make the necessary assignments of land to the Agents of the Company, in pursuance of the terms of the Agreement."
Capt. Hobson's refusal to issue the grant, as ordered;
IX. --But in January, 1841, prior to receiving information of that Agreement, in ignorance both of its existence and of the charter erecting New Zealand into a separate Colony, and in obedience to an enactment of
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Confirmed by Lord Stanley.
the Legislature of New South Wales, under whose jurisdiction New Zealand was still supposed to be, our Agent had forwarded to Sir George Gipps, in Sydney, a statement of the claims of the Company to the lands ceded to them by the Natives. Those claims, and all arising out of them, were considered to be merged in the Agreement with the Secretary of State. But Governor Hobson, reviving the claim, refused to issue the grant, as ordered by Lord John Russell, unless we established our title by that process of investigation by the Commissioner of Claims, from which we conceived it to be specifically exempted. On our appealing, in October 1842, to Lord Stanley, who had succeeded Lord John Russell as Colonial Minister, his lordship adopted the views of Governor Hobson; assigning in substance, as a reason, that the Agreement was based on an understanding that we had purchased and surrendered to the Crown a much larger quantity of land than that which was to be granted to us; and that unless that understanding was fulfilled, the Agreement itself, so far as related to the grant, could not be carried into effect.
Lord Stanley's interpretation of First Agreement condemned by Lord John Russell, and by Committee of 1844.
Special Contracts not within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Land Claims.
As this interpretation has been condemned both by Lord John Russell, who with ourselves was a party to the original Agreement, and by the Committee of your Honorable House, which last Session investigated the affairs of New Zealand, it is unnecessary to recapitulate the arguments by which it was either supported or rebutted. But it is proper to observe, that, however the question regarding our purchase from the Natives might stand, the lands which formed the subject of the Special Contracts of June 1841, and August 1842, were quite unconnected with that purchase, and quite unaffected, therefore, by any question relating to it. This land we had as much right to demand, as the purchaser of a single acre in any part of any of the Colonies, or in London. Yet, in referring our claims to the investigation of the Commissioner of Claims in New Zealand, no part was excepted, no reservation made, whether those claims were founded on the transaction with the Natives, or on these direct contracts with the Crown in England.
In January, 1843, therefore, finding it impossible
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the Company's Land-Sales and Colonising operations, January 1843.
to remove the impression received by Lord Stanley, and being apprised by command of his lordship that he desired a discontinuance of our correspondence, we deemed it a matter of justice to the public, as we could obtain no Crown title for our lands, to suspend our land-sales; and, as those sales were our sole source of income, we were obliged to discontinue all colonising operations.
Second Agreement, Lord Stanley's, May 1843.
X. --But the effects of this misunderstanding were so ruinous to those who had purchased our lands, as well as to ourselves, that in the succeeding May, with a view to its removal, we consented to waive our entire absolute claims, and to accept in lieu a second Agreement, the basis of which was, that we should receive forthwith a Conditional Grant of the lands selected by our Agents, conveying to us a prima facie title, and whatever interest the Crown might have; and leaving to others, whether Natives or Europeans, the burthen of subsequently dispossessing us by proving any prior claim which they might be able to adduce in opposition to ours. The appointment of Captain Fitzroy to be Governor of the Colony, afforded, as we thought, a pledge for the punctual and honorable fulfilment of this stipulation.
Lord Stanley's Private Instructions to Governor Fitzroy.
Our hopes became faint on our discovering, six months after, (in February, 1844,) that Lord Stanley had not communicated to us, together with his assent to the second Agreement, a private correspondence with Captain Fitzroy on the subject of the manner in which the Agreement was to be interpreted. But notwithstanding this, so important were the interests at stake that we once more made an attempt to enter into new negotiations. For some time Lord Stanley listened favorably, and contemplated the idea of affording us the assistance of Government in meeting the embarrassments occasioned by the non-settlement of our land-claims; but when we ventured to point out that the conditions on which the assistance was proposed to be offered would in fact be injurious, by throwing a doubt upon our titles, his lordship suddenly broke off the negotiation, and once more intimated to us that he must decline our correspon-
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dence, until he should have received further reports from Governor Fitzroy.
The Company's Appeal to Parliament, April 1844.
Thus repulsed from the Colonial Office, we appealed to your Honorable House in April, 1844. Your Committee investigated the case, and reported strongly in our favor. But the lateness of the period prevented any active steps from being taken in accordance with their Report before the close of the Session.
Impropriety of Private Instructions;
and inconsistency with Public Agreement.
XI. --We feel justified in asserting that no instructions whatever, on the subject of the Agreement above-mentioned, ought to have been given by the Secretary of State to the Governor, without being simultaneously communicated to us; and that the instructions actually so given were altogether inconsistent with our public arrangement. They were thus inconsistent, in making what we were to obtain, contingent, not on rights already established by proof of expenditure, but on titles to be established by proof of validity of purchase; in denying that the Government was either indebted to us in any quantity of land, or bound to make compensation to us for our expenditure incurred, proved, and the land awarded to us, in accordance with our Agreement of November 1840; and still more in the generally adverse tone which ran through the whole instructions, while we were allowed to remain in the belief that all had been agreed upon in an amicable spirit, for the express purpose of terminating a long and angry controversy.
Governor Fitzroy's proceedings under Private Instructions;
Non-issue of grants; at Wellington;
The correctness of this view of the question is confirmed by the effects of the instructions thus given, of which intelligence has been received in the interval since last Session. During nine months' residence in the Colony, not only had Governor Fitzroy made us no grant in accordance with the Agreement of May, 1843, but whatever steps he had taken for the settlement of our titles had proceeded solely on the principle which that Agreement was intended to supersede. When our Agent had been induced by him to make additional payments to the Natives, in order to obtain possession of the land in the immediate neighbourhood of Wellington, no measures were taken to give him that possession. And when the Commissioner of
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and at New Plymouth.
Land-Claims made an award in our favor in another part of the island, New Plymouth, the Governor, without having heard the witnesses, or investigated the case, set aside the Commissioner's decision, and refused to ratify the award, until we should have submitted to further payments.
Lord Stanley's Despatches, 13th August and 13th November, 1844, on the Committee's Report.
XII. --In this interval have also been made public Lord Stanley's two Despatches of the 13th of August and 30th of November last, explaining the course which his Lordship has thought fit to pursue with respect to the Report of the Committee of last Session.
That Committee was selected with the knowledge and consent of the Colonial Department, and, if variety of political sentiment may be alluded to without indecorum, contained, we believe, a large majority of general supporters of the present Government. We had every right to hope that the Report of such a Committee would carry weight with those who were parties to its appointment, and that its decision would be regarded as conclusive, at least with respect to those matters of disputed claims which had been especially referred to its arbitration. In spite of our previous experience, we could not help encouraging some expectation of this kind, when Lord Stanley, in answer to our application, informed us that he deemed it most becoming to communicate to Parliament, in the first place, the instructions which he had issued to the Governor of New Zealand, in consequence of the Report of the Committee.
Lord Stanley's refusal to fulfil recommendations of Parliamentary Committee of 1844.
Our disappointment has been great, when, on reading those instructions, we have found that no effect has been produced in his Lordship's mind by the ample enquiries and sound views of the Committee; that he treats the tribunal, which had decided against him, as a fresh antagonist with whom he may renew an exhausted controversy; that he does not scruple to depreciate its authority by describing not quite fairly the mode in which its decisions have been carried; that the whole tenor of his instructions is to exhort the Governor to disregard the recommendations of the Report as mischievous and unsound, and to teach him how to avoid the difficulties which the decisions
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of the Committee are represented as adding to his position. With respect to our own claims, Lord Stanley expresses a fixed determination to persevere in the denial of the right which the Committee has deliberately recognised; grounding that determination on the sufficiency of the unfulfilled Agreement of May, 1843.
Opposition of Colonial Office and Missionary Societies.
XIII. --The opposition, of which that determination is but the latest instance, appears to ourselves to be attributable mainly to the influence over the Colonial Department exercised by the Societies concerned in Missions and the Aborigines; and to have originated, on the part of those Societies, in an opinion that the intercourse of Europeans with the Native Inhabitants of British Settlements ought to be discouraged as calamitous to the latter, and the intervention of British authority be limited to upholding the rights of Native Proprietorship and Sovereignty.
Opinions of Missionary Societies erroneous.
XIV. --That opinion is altogether inconsistent with the social condition of the Aborigines of New Zealand as it existed at the time when our enterprise was set on foot; with the highest and most lasting amelioration of the Aborigines; and with the principles which have heretofore been acted on by all Civilised States, for the advantage, not of themselves alone, but of the Uncivilised Nations with whom they have come in contact.
New Zealanders without ideas of Civil Government;
or of individual property in land;
Whatever the disposition or natural capacity of the New Zealanders, it is unquestionable that, far from understanding the functions of Civil Government, they had hardly reached the rudest conceptions of justice or of order. Until recently taught by interested Europeans, they had no idea of individual property in land, of selling it, or of its exchangeable value. What ideas they did possess upon the subject had been imparted to them by persons whose object it was to obtain their lands under the forms of purchase. Of their actual ignorance, and the extent to which advantage had been taken of it, under that system which, for want of a better term, we must beg to designate by the figurative, but too well-
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and a prey to Land-sharking.
known epithet of Land-sharking, some idea may be formed from the fact, that claims for 10,000 up to 40,000 or 50,000 acres each have been not unfrequent; that Captain Hobson, in one of his earliest despatches, mentions tracts of country, in some cases of 500 square miles, as claimed by single individuals; and that one claim advanced on behalf of some speculators in New South Wales is described by the Governor, Sir George Gipps, as comprising nearly half the Middle Island, purchased at the rate of one penny for four hundred acres.
Missionary plan injurious in its effects.
To invest such Tribes as those of New Zealand with the attributes of sovereignty was inconsistent with truth; and, by perpetuating their existing customs, was in fact to continue an anarchy, which had, in the memory of living men, depopulated vast portions of the islands. To recognise in the Savage a property in land, without some restraint as to its alienation, or some strong impelling motive for its retention and improvement, was to inflict an injury under the semblance of an advantage; to excite a craving for vicious indulgence; to render industry distasteful; and to hold out a lure to the despoiler.
Missionary plan impracticable.
To abandon to little more than 100,000 Aborigines a country capable of maintaining twenty or thirty millions of inhabitants, and to endeavour to exclude Europeans, was not only to impose a restriction unsanctioned by the laws upon the enterprise and activity of the Nation; but it was also to run counter to the manifest indications of Providence; to establish, if successful, that system of isolation under which the Native Races of North America are withering away; --but more certainly it was to attempt an impossibility; to shut out perhaps the reputable and the good, but to leave the door open to the lawless and abandoned; and in the mean while to infuse a spirit of antagonism into the two Races, and in a manner to invite the approaches of Foreign Powers, less scrupulous or more enlightened on the subject of Colonisation.
Opinions of Church Mis-
XV. --With regard also to one Society which possesses great power in New Zealand, the Church Mis-
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sionary Society not unbiassed.
sionary Society, we cannot believe that their views on these subjects have been altogether unbiassed by the interest which their Local Missionaries had in upholding the system of direct purchases from the Aborigines. We find by the evidence of official documents, that of thirty-five Missionaries employed by the Church Society in 1838, twenty-three have preferred claims on account of such purchases, the aggregate of which, including 3,900 acres for Church Missionary Families, and 11,600 acres for the Church Society itself, amounts to at least 196,840 acres.
Practical effect of Missionary views to make British interests subordinate to Aborigines;
to induce repudiation of Sovereignty;
and various illusive acts unworthy of this Country.
XVI. --But, whatever the origin of the views in question, or of the influence of the Missionary Societies in the Colonial Department, the practical result has been that, from the beginning, New Zealand has been regarded, and measures relating to it have been conducted by the Government, with reference to the interests, not of this Kingdom, but of the Native Aborigines as seen through the Missionary medium. Hence the repudiation of a Territory which, for upwards of thirty years, had been definitively included (in the same way as Van Diemen's Land) in the successive Commissions of the Governors of New South Wales; the reluctance to re-acquire that Territory, notwithstanding its acknowledged paramount political importance, which was avowed in the Instructions originally issued to Captain Hobson; and that series of acts, which, as being of necessity illusive, was in our opinion unworthy of this Country. Of this character we conceive to have been the recognition of a Flag called "National;" of Ships' Registers to be recorded and granted by Native Chiefs; of a document purporting to be a "Declaration of Independence;" and of a proposed "Congress;" together with other measures enumerated in the Memorandum transmitted by the Colonial Department to the Foreign Office on 18th March, 1840; as well as the transaction termed the "Treaty of Waitangi," which may be regarded as the natural sequel and climax of this series of fictitious proceedings, and of which the hollow and injurious nature is forcibly represented in the Report of your Committee of last Session.
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Cause of indirectness in Government measures regarding land.
XVII. --To the same false basis of the intervention of British authority in New Zealand we ascribe that character of indirectness which attended the Government in its first measures with regard to land, and involved it in embarrassments, from which it has not succeeded in freeing itself to this day. We allude to the expedients by which, while professing to uphold Native Rights, it denied to private individuals the lands they had acquired under the exercise of those rights; while excluding the Crown from the proprietorship of unoccupied waste lands, it sought to supply the defect by taking possession of private purchases; and now, while still declaring those lands to be the private property of the Natives, it endeavours to obtain them by the imposition of a land-tax.
Cause of hostility to the Company and Settlers.
Effects upon the minds of the Natives.
XVIII. --To the same origin we trace that spirit of hostility which evinced itself at the very commencement of our undertaking; which, though suspended apparently for a time by the Agreement of 1840 and Charter of Incorporation, has broken out at every opportunity; has heaped upon us aspersions of the most insulting nature, amounting to rapacity, fraud, and implied falsehood; imparted to the official correspondence that undignified and acrimonious character of which complaint has been so justly made; and led to reiterated acts of aggression and misrepresentation, in England and in the Colony; the most dangerous tendency of which, much as they impeded our efforts and depressed the energies of the Colonists, was to lower our Settlers in the eyes of the Natives, and to give the impression that they might be injured with impunity.
Improper selection of Seat of Government.
XIX. --Unfortunately, also, the same cause induced another step, which, at the very foundation of the Colony, brought the Government into serious collision with our plans. Arriving subsequently to the establishment of our first Settlement in Cook's Strait, Captain Hobson chose entirely to overlook its existence: and to establish the Government, --not on the spot where the great bulk of the actual Colonists had planted them-
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selves, but in that to which he determined that they ought rather to have gone. He fixed his capital near one extremity of a narrow country twelve hundred miles long; in a spot where at the time there was not a single European inhabitant; so distant from the great bulk of the Colonist Population, and having so little natural intercourse with them, that all communication had for some time to be carried on in vessels chartered for each particular occasion; -- where the Government was in fact practically more remote from the people it was to govern, than either New South Wales or Van Diemen's Land.
Land-jobbing of the Government;
and of the Civil Officers; at Auckland; its effects.
The mischievousness of this error was aggravated and perpetuated by the operation of sinister influences. Without funds, except such as were borrowed, the Local Executive could devise no better resource than to plunge into land-jobbing; and the greater part of its higher Officers immediately followed the example which it set. Within a very short space of time, the Colonial Secretary, the Colonial Treasurer, the Attorney General, the Crown Surveyor, the Commissioner of Land-Claims, and other persons in office, were found to have engrossed the most eligible sites in the town. It became the interest of every one of these persons, who, from the state of Captain Hobson's health, in fact directed the Government, to raise as high as possible the value of the lands among which their own were situated. Effectual measures were accordingly taken to foster a spirit of reckless speculation. Competition was invited by a system of auctions, and the result was achieved of selling for exorbitant prices a portion of the town lands. In this profitless gambling the greater part of the capital which was required for the cultivation of the soil passed from the hands of the Settlers into those of a few fortunate adventurers; and, in a short time, when the delusion ceased, the population of Auckland found themselves exhausted of their original means, destitute of resources in trade or in the produce of the surrounding country, and dependent for subsistence on little beyond that public expenditure, for which the Government derived its
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means either from the taxation of other Settlements or from drafts on the British Treasury.
Other expedients for sustaining Auckland;
by Captain Hobson;
by Governor Fitzroy;
and Colonial Department.
The stimulus first given proving thus insufficient, other measures were resorted to. Our Agents were not allowed to avail themselves of the permission given by Lord John Russell to fix our Second Settlement south of Cook's Strait, but an attempt was made to force them to the northward. Captain Hobson employed the means of Government to entice away the laborers who had been sent out at our cost. And we regret to add that the censure of this proceeding by Lord Stanley does not appear to have prevented similar endeavours at a more recent period. Governor Fitzroy, after setting aside the award of the Commissioner in our favor, at New Plymouth, offered to compensate the claimants if they would take grants in the neighbourhood of Auckland. Even the Colonial Department in this country held out inducements to the intending Colonists of New Edinburgh to desert the Company and establish themselves in the Northern Settlement.
Court of Claims unsuitable and injurious.
XX. --Subservient to the Government plans, and rendered necessary by the contradictory expedients above alluded to, was the Court of the Commissioner of Land-Claims; than which it is difficult to conceive a machinery more effectually calculated to disturb the harmony and arrest the progress of the community. It proceeded to the investigation of a very delicate question of policy and feeling with the cumbrous forms of legal procedure, alike unsuited to the circumstances of the case and the habits of those immediately concerned. It could not decide on a single case without recognising murder and robbery as the basis of title; it could scarcely enter upon an investigation without offending prejudices or awakening feuds; without exciting desires which it was impossible to gratify, and tampering with the rude sense of right and wrong, which the Natives before possessed. The tendency of its operation was to set the two Races in hostile array against each other. One or other of the languages used was always unknown to one or more of the parties interested. The very
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thoughts of the several parties on the subject of property in land were so different as to be respectively incomprehensible. The parties best informed on the subject in debate--the Natives, whose law of real property was to be the guide of the Court--never had any law of the sort, but only vague, diversified, conflicting customs.
Massacre of Wairoa caused by Court of Claims, and the Government's disparagement of the Settlers.
Middle Island not within the Court's jurisdiction.
That the terrible disaster of Wairoa was the result of our being referred to the Court of Land-Claims, and of the undue desires and hostile feelings excited by the proceedings in that Court, and by the continual disparagement of our Settlers, has never been doubted by any unprejudiced person. It embitters our regret to know that, the sovereignty of the Middle Island having been proclaimed upon the right of Discovery, even the ostensible ground of a reference to the Court of Claims had no place; that our Second Settlement was fixed at a spot which entailed this dispute, by Captain Hobson's refusal to allow us the choice sanctioned by Lord John Russell; and that by Specific Contracts, relating especially to that Second Settlement, the Government was bound to put us in possession of the quantity of land which it had sold us, quite irrespective of any transaction between ourselves and the Natives.
The Committee's vindication of the sufferers at Wairoa.
Insulting and oppressive proceedings of Local Government.
XXI. --The Committee of your Honorable House has done justice to the memory of those who fell at Wairoa, by recording its belief that they were actuated by a desire to uphold the law. The recent decision of the Commissioner, by virtually establishing our right to the disputed land, has shown that the Natives were the wrong-doers. We make no complaint that their crimes have not been visited with the severe penalties of our law: but we do complain that nothing has been done to vindicate the authority of the Government, or to guard the Colonists from similar outrages; that the whole policy of the Government has been to soothe the perpetrators of the massacre, as if they were the injured party, and to treat the European community as dangerous and criminal; that the first official act was a demand from the Protector of Aborigines that the survivors, not the
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murderers, should be capitally punished; that the inhabitants of Wellington, who, under the lawful sanction of the Magistrates, had formed themselves as volunteers for repelling an expected attack, were denounced as guilty of illegal acts, and threatened with military violence; and that, without a shadow of enquiry, or a statement of the grounds of his judgment, Captain Fitzroy and his subordinates thought proper to throw the entire blame on those who perished in the massacre, and to slander the memory of the dead with unmanly reproaches.
Duties towards the Natives.
It is not our wish to insist on a severe retaliation for the excesses of uncivilised men. But for the sake of the Natives themselves, who are thus tempted to a fatal indulgence in their ferocious passions, we deprecate a system which, demoralising them by its immediate operation, ensures a sanguinary repression, and such an antipathy of Races as no after policy of Government can prevent from ending in the extermination of the weaker and more numerous. It is not our duty to create in the minds of the New Zealanders vague notions of imagined proprietary rights; to deny to our countrymen the use of a soil now unavailable to man; or to corrupt the Native races by stimulating their rapacity, and satisfying their craving for noxious enjoyments. But it is our duty to them to carry into effect plans for their ultimate improvement and incorporation with the Settlers whom we introduce among them; and, in furtherance of such plans, to use our superior power to enforce on them obedience to the laws which we know to be for their good.
Neglect of the Natives by the Government.
XXII. --We have sought in vain, however, in the acts of the Government, for any plan for the improvement of the Natives, or any evidence of a wise care for their interests. Absorbed in the scheme of conferring upon them a proprietary right in land, and either blind to the fact, or careless as to the result that this proprietorship is the certain means of their destruction, the Government appears to have been incapable of receiving any higher or larger idea. It seems to have no conception that there are duties involving a graver
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responsibility, or evidencing a more enlarged intelligence.
Native Reserves discountenanced by the Government.
The plan of Native Reserves has always heretofore been the object of disfavor. While eagerly using our stipulations as an argument against us, the Government has turned to no account the Reserves which we placed in its hands. Those which it affected to make in Auckland, and of which the Colonial-Office despatch of 13th August last would suggest a belief that they were in actual use, never had any existence.
Military discipline not tried;
Nothing has been done to familiarise the Natives with habits of order, by means of military discipline. Instead of maintaining the relative position of the Chiefs, as we proposed, elevating their character, and attaching them to British rule, the measures of the Government have in every way tended to degrade them, and render them discontented and turbulent.
In lavish expenditure, very small provision for Aborigines.
In the lavish Estimates of the Colony, we find a Protectorate of Aborigines made a pretext for creating offices for Europeans; but not one-thousandth part of the expenditure devoted to any service of real utility to the Aborigines themselves. In an expenditure of £128,985: 19: 3, the total amount appropriated to religion and education during three years is--to the former, £388: 0: 5: to the latter, £91: 8: 6.
Parkhurst Convict Boys introduced;
In utter disregard of the moral contamination which has inevitably resulted, and which ought to have been foreseen, a number of Boys from Parkhurst Penitentiary have been imported into the country; and, in order to evade the pledge given by Lord Normanby, that "no Convict should ever be sent thither to undergo his punishment," the individuals were pardoned on reaching their destination.
Mode of raising and expending Revenue.
XXIII. --Perhaps there is nothing, connected with New Zealand, which more demands the attention of this Honorable House, than the mode in which Revenue has been raised and expended. In spite of the constitutional principle that the people of this Empire are only to be taxed by their own consent, the Revenue of New Zealand is raised by a Council composed of four Government Officers
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Financial measures of Captain Hobson;
and three persons named by the Governor--removable at his pleasure-- and in fact visited or threatened with removal if their opposition becomes troublesome. By aid of such a Council, Governor Hobson was enabled to load the infant Colony with debt, and exhaust its resources by an improvident expenditure. During three years, of which alone the accounts have been furnished, out of 128,000l. aforesaid, it appears that less than a third was applied to objects wearing a character of utility or permanence. The excess of outlay over real income was 57,000l.; the annual cost of the Government, with respect to the European population, 9l. 7s. l1d., 8l. 14s., and 4l. 19s. 3d. a head.
of Lieutenant Shortland;
The financial proceedings of Captain Hobson's temporary successor, Lieutenant Shortland, are chiefly known by the difficulties in which he was involved, the failure which attended his measures, and the disallowance of his bills by Her Majesty's Treasury.
and of Captain Fitzroy.
Of Captain Fitzroy the course has been still more extraordinary. He imposed taxes which would almost appear to have been contrived for the very purpose of preventing the growth of a Colony. He issued an inconvertible Currency in notes for very small sums. To conciliate a turbulent Tribe, he, without color of law, exempted a particular port from the general customs duties, to which the rest of the island was subject. Then suddenly altering his entire financial policy to uphold this error, he has in an instant abolished the whole customs duties of the Colony, and, after proposing the precarious resource of an Income-Tax for raising a portion of the revenue which he flung away, has left the remainder of his expenses to be defrayed by the Imperial Treasury.
Revenue and Expenditure of old British Colonies;
XXIV. --In old times when our forefathers laid the foundation of the greatest Colonies that the world has ever seen, the revenue and expenditure of every Colony was from the first defrayed from its own resources, and modest establishments were dictated by the simple habits and restricted means of the early Colonists. In the middle of the last century the internal Government
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and of present Colonies of North America.
of the Thirteen Colonies of North America, with a population of three millions, cost only 100,000l. a year. And with this small outlay for the business of Government did these communities of Englishmen contrive to make and to administer salutary laws, to reclaim the forest, to establish a florishing trade, to cultivate the arts of peace, and to lay the foundations of a great Empire. Even in our present Colonies of North America, Representative Institutions ensure a wholesome economy. Forty-seven thousand people in Prince Edward's Island are well governed for 19, 600l. a year. The taxation of the people of Nova Scotia is 10s, 9d., that of New Brunswick 10s. 6d., that of Canada 85. 2d. a head. But New Zealand, though from the first an unmixed and untainted community of free and enterprising Englishmen, has been subjected to the same arbitrary government, lavish expenditure, and burthensome taxation, which have been imposed on our Convict Colonies.
Evils of lavish Colonial Expenditure.
Independently or the burthen 01 taxation, this lavish expenditure is an uncompensated evil. It corrupts the Colony by accustoming it to unnecessary establishments; gives mischievous example of private luxury; checks the noble disposition to serve the public for no reward but the good opinion of the public, which is found in all free communities; maintains a host of insolent officials by the labour of others; converts a vast proportion of those who should be working into idle recipients or greedy expectants of salary; and subjects the Colony to the rule of those whom no Government and no individual will trust or employ at home. But in New Zealand this evil end has been attained by taxing every individual nearly 3l. a year; being three times as high as the amount disbursed in the United Kingdom for its effective expenditure. Here, as in other Colonies, this system has broken down; debts are contracted, applications are made to Parliament, and the Colony becomes an object of cost and aversion to the Mother Country.
Comparison of the two Systems of Colonisation.
XXV. --The value of the two Systems of Colonisation which have been pursued by the Government
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and by ourselves, may be best tested by a short comparison of their respective principles and results.
The Company's procedure with respect to land.
We conducted our operations on a scale of considerable magnitude, obtaining tracts of country of such extent as permitted us to proceed with consistency and uniformity. We attached to our lands a price nominally high, but by making it the same for town as for country lands, and by disposing of both in equal proportions, section for section, we rendered it really low. And out of its gross amount we appropriated from two-thirds to five-sixths to the purposes of emigration, public works, education, and religion; the Aborigines being provided for by setting apart, for their exclusive benefit, portions of the land itself.
The Government procedure with respect to land.
The Government, on the contrary, made its bargains in minute portions, and with some few exceptions bought its lands a strip here and a patch there. While it attempted to resell these, it rendered sales comparatively impracticable by its profuse bestowal of free grants; and while it lavished country lands, the sole source of production, upon persons opposed to Colonisation, it stimulated competition, among such Colonists as there were, for the unproductive sites of town-residences, fitted only to become the occasions of further expense. By these means, the price, though nominally lower than ours, was in practice rendered at once both higher and less productive for public objects. Of the gross amount obtained, instead of one-half as prescribed by Act of Parliament, less than one-fourth appears to have been considered applicable to Emigration; instead of one-seventh, as indicated by Lord Stanley's despatch of 15th September, 1842, less than one twenty-fifth to the Aborigines.
The consequence has been, that at the end of the first quarter of 1843, the Government had, for the sum of 39,655l. sold 5,168 acres of land, yielding a general average of 7l. 13s. 5d. an acre. At the same date, we had disposed of 224,720 acres for 280,840l. or at a general average of 1l. 5s. an acre.
During the brief period extending from the com-
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mencement of our operations in 1839 to their suspension in 1843, we had introduced into the Colony nearly 9000 persons. The Government, exclusive of the Convict Boys, under 800.
Successful results of the Company's Colonisation.
We had established three separate Settlements. Our Emigration had been carried on under the immediate inspection of the Officers of the Government, and conducted in such a way as to call forth their unqualified praise. A large amount had been expended by us in public works; in constructing roads and bridges; in providing facilities of access to the ports; and in extensive surveys, as well as in expeditions for the purpose of exploring the interior. We had made a provision for Religious Establishments a portion of the original scheme of our Settlements. In each successive scheme, we had devoted to this provision a larger and larger proportion; proceeding always upon the principle of supplying funds, without distinction of Denominations, in amounts equal to the sums raised by the parties themselves. Upon this principle, the majority of our Settlers being members of the Church of England, the creation of a New Zealand Bishopric had been mainly effected by our efforts: and in the hope that our Settlements would receive the advantage of the personal residence and example of the Bishop, our contributions, given upon the same principle, had formed a large portion of its earliest endowment. Other of our projects for the benefit of the Colony had been frustrated by a refusal of the co-operation of the Government. But we are justified in saying that, until the disasters occasioned by the policy of the Government, our efforts had been so far successful, that the transference of a large body of Emigrants had been effected with comparatively little of the hardships usually supposed to be incident to their lot; that our Settlements had attracted a large number of persons, of such property and station as are rarely induced to resort to distant Colonies; and that they presented the aspect of a steady progress in material prosperity.
Friendliness of the Cook's Strait
With the Natives our Settlers were living in a state of perfect tranquillity and friendship; and it is
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Colonists with the Natives.
worthy of remark that the behaviour towards them, of even the ruder classes, had from the beginning been characterised by an habitual consideration and kindness altogether new in the intercourse of superior and inferior Races. This they learned from the example set by the higher class of Colonists, who, before leaving England, were imbued with the sentiments of the founders of the enterprise, and went out impressed both with the importance of seriously maintaining a good understanding with the Aborigines, and with the efficacy of justice, kindness, and identification of interests, as means of their real civilisation.
Disastrous results of the policy of the Government;
XXVI. --On the other hand, the effects of the policy which has been pursued by the Government are seen in the disasters that have visited all connected with the Colony.
effects upon the Company and its proceedings;
The violation of our two Agreements with the Government has rendered it impossible to effect further sales of our land. Our income, which is derivable from that source alone, after a gradual diminution which began nearly three years ago, has for some time past entirely ceased. For a considerable portion of that period, our expenditure was not only of necessity continued, but its ordinary amount greatly augmented by that insecurity of title which cut off our resources, and threw many of the Emigrant Laborers upon us for support. Having lost the property which we confided to the honor of the Government, we have been compelled to suspend our operations; and our inability to fulfil the engagements into which, in reliance on that honor, we had entered, subjects us to reproaches which would be unbearable, if the bad faith shown to ourselves were not the sole cause of our failing in our obligations to others. An end is put to the only effectual Colonisation of New Zealand that has hitherto existed.
upon the Cook's Strait Colonists;
The titles of those who purchased from us have been rendered unavailable; possession of the land has been rendered precarious, or altogether prohibited; its cultivation of course relinquished. Many of the Settlers, whose position and conduct entitle them to
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the peculiar sympathies of their countrymen, are, we fear, ruined; others are abandoning a Colony of which the original prospects have been cruelly destroyed, and in which their property has been hopelessly sunk.
upon the Natives:
The natural rapacity of the Natives has been excited. Encouragement has been given to the most extravagant demands, under pleas either of the invalidity of the title of the original vendors, or of themselves having been deceived as to the price or the nature of the bargain. Feelings of ill-will between them and their European neighbours have been called forth; and we cannot but fear there is great danger of their being involved in further and more fatal collisions.
upon the Settlers and Natives at Auckland and the Bay of Islands;
Nor are the disasters here enumerated confined to those connected with our undertaking, or this dissatisfaction to the neighbourhood of Cook's Strait. In Auckland, also, the greater number of the inhabitants are represented as being in a state bordering upon ruin. In the Bay of Islands, the very centre of Missionary influence, the Natives have been encouraged to an insolent bearing by the unworthy concessions of the Government, until, from denying the validity of land-sales, they have advanced to impugning the Treaty, and from aggressions upon our Settlers to a deliberate insult of Her Majesty's Flag.
and upon the Government itself, and its position.
In the mean while, of the seventy-eight millions of acres contained in the Islands, it is declared by the Legislative Council at Auckland, that all but 1,700,000 must be considered as the private property of Native Tribes. The right of pre-emption, which the Treaty secured to the Crown, is waived by the Governor, although in so doing, he sets aside a fundamental Act of Parliament, and revives the evils of land-speculations between Europeans and Natives. And the Government is reduced to a state in which it is wholly unable to carry out its own intentions; its means exhausted, and its revenue dependent upon desperate experiments; "having," as Captain Fitzroy avows, "neither money nor credit" wherewith to acquire more land; undersold by its own grantees in that which it
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already possesses; the object of reproach by the injured Europeans; and, as Mr. Busby, the late Resident, asserts, viewed with "distrust and disaffection" by the Natives, who "consider themselves overreached and betrayed" by its proceedings.
Condensed statement of the Company's Case;
XXVII. --This, then, is the Case which we desire to lay before your Honorable House.
We have obtained Awards for above seven hundred thousand acres of land; have claims for several hundred thousand acres more; and have come under obligations to alienate above two hundred thousand; but we cannot obtain our title-deeds for a single acre.
We have entered into four successive Agreements with Her Majesty's Government; on the faith of these Agreements we have expended nearly six hundred thousand pounds on Public Objects; we have scrupulously fulfilled every condition on our part; but as yet, not one condition has been fulfilled on the part of the Government.
The Enterprise out of which these Agreements have arisen was commenced before the assumption of British Sovereignty in New Zealand.
We had a right to acquire land, and the Colonists to establish themselves, in a country treated as sovereign and independent by our own Government.
We have conducted ourselves with good faith and loyalty in all our transactions; and had the Government not interfered, the Colonists would have trusted to their own prudence for securing success among the Natives.
All the wrong of which we complain is the direct consequence of the Government's interference.
and of the course now open.
Under these circumstances, it has become necessary to turn for redress to your Honorable House. We beseech you, in your care for the People of the United Kingdom and of the Colonies, as well of the Aboriginal as of the British Race, wisely to devise, and firmly to apply, sufficient remedies to the various evils which have been detailed.
It is obviously impossible to allow New Zealand to remain in its present condition.
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It is equally impossible to abandon it, or to relinquish the colonisation already begun.
It will scarcely be thought that great expense and heavy responsibilities should be incurred for the promotion of merely Missionary objects, or the exclusive care of the Aborigines.
The only remaining course is to administer the Colony, on a comprehensive system of foresight and justice, for the joint benefit of the Natives, the Colonists, and the Parent State.
Suggestions on behalf of the Natives.
XXVIII. --We conceive the foundations of such a system would be laid in the adoption of the leading principles of the Report of the Committee of last Session. That national faith to which we appeal on our own behalf, should undoubtedly be held inviolate with all; and if undue expectations have been excited in the minds of the Native population by the ignorance in which Treaties have been made or administered, such expectations must not be overlooked. But they should be met with a due regard to the justice of the case. We have higher obligations to the Uncivilised Tribes of whose Territories we have acquired possession, than any founded on mere compact, and we cannot be justified by any Treaty in pursuing a policy opposed to their real interests.
It is especially their interest that the Crown should administer the unoccupied lands of New Zealand, and maintain the wise law which prohibits all private purchases of land from the Native Tribes. It is their interest that they should be rescued from the machinations of the land-shark, and denied the means of purchasing their own destruction. It is their interest, too, that they should be disabused of fantastic expectations of immediate gain, and checked in attempts at extortion; that their obedience to law should be temperately but firmly enforced; and that they should be kept out of collision with that more civilised population on whose good-will their future welfare must depend. It is by such a policy, we are persuaded, and by such alone, that the now imminent chances of fatal conflict may be diminished, and the existence of the Aboriginal
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population prolonged; that while security and peace are ensured to the Settlers, the well-disposed Natives may obtain satisfaction of their just expectations, and be inspired with respect for their rulers; that efficacy can be given to plans for their progressive amelioration; and that, by accustoming the Savage to the habits and occupations of Civilised Men, we may ultimately effect his amalgamation with the Race which must eventually be master in New Zealand.
Prayer on behalf of the Company.
XXIX. --With regard to ourselves, we feel that we are urging a claim of simple equity, when we ask that due effect shall be given to the adjudication of your Committee in our favor, and that such further measures shall be taken as may appear best adapted for repairing the serious injury caused by what we are now entitled to call a withholding of our rights. But if an alteration in the general policy be not considered expedient upon general grounds, we have no desire that it should be adopted or attempted on our account. If it be not essential to the welfare of the Aborigines and to the interests of the people of this Kingdom, that the ancient laws should be observed, and the rights of the Crown upheld, we have no wish that these should be evoked for the mere purpose of enabling the Government to fulfil its engagements with us. We are content in that case to abide the alternative which we are satisfied your Honorable House will award to persons who have united together for no selfish end; who have devoted themselves to what they believed to be an honorable and beneficial purpose; who have been baffled by measures which they could not control, which they had no right to anticipate, and which appeared to them to be directed not less against the public good than against their personal success; and who, whatever their mistakes or their failures, have at least succeeded in securing for their country an extensive and valuable territory, when it was all but sacrificed by the Servants of the Crown.
Prayer on behalf of the Colony;
XXX. --But we would entreat your Honorable House to remember that the inhabitants of Colonies, not en-
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joying Representative institutions, live under a despotism more complete than any absolute government of Europe. In the case of New Zealand, the distance from Great Britain relieves the local authority practically from any check. The rule over the Colonists there is such as every member of your Honorable House would deem intolerable, if by any calamity it were inflicted on those subjects of Her Majesty who do not emigrate. The selection of Governors and other Officers possessing ability and judgment is, therefore, of peculiar moment.
and on behalf of the Cook's Strait Colonists.
Finally, we would entreat you so to cast your protecting arm over the Colonists, whom we have been the instruments of planting in New Zealand, as to prevent, if possible, their being compelled to suffer on our account; to uphold a body of British Subjects who are entitled to admiration and sympathy for their moderation and fortitude in circumstances of severe trial; and who, notwithstanding the oppressions of the Colonial Government, have never forgotten their duties, or forsaken their love for the institutions, and loyalty to the Sovereign of their Native Country.
By Order of the Court of Directors, the tenth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and forty-five.
THOMAS CUDBERT HARINGTON,
CORPORATE SEAL OF THE COMPANY.
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