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London, August 12, 1809.
MY DEAR SIR,--You have asked me to state the case of New Zealand, as bearing generally upon the relations between the Colonies and the Mother Country. I will do so as briefly as I can, recapitulating the facts from my official and general experience.
The Colony of New Zealand was founded in 1840. It is scarcely material to inquire into the motives which induced the Home Government to adopt it, as part of the Empire. These have been lately the subject of discussion. Lord Granville, in a recent dispatch, insists that the object of the Home Government was merely "to secure order amongst a number of English settlers," who established themselves in New Zealand "without any invitation or encouragement from the English Government," and who went there, knowing the risks to which they exposed themselves, and were therefore not entitled to claim assistance in time of danger from the Mother Country. Other persons maintain that the objects were--partly at least--Imperial, and that one principal motive was to prevent the Colony from falling into the hands of the French, who were looking to it as a site for a penal settlement. The object of the Imperial Government seems to be to cast off all responsibility as regards the present condition of the Colony, and to absolve the Mother Country from all future liability on its account.
It would be unprofitable to pursue such a controversy; or to argue the question of what are the abstract duties and responsibilities of Governors and Subjects in the case of the foundation of new Colonies. They are, I think, well expressed by Lord Granville himself, who says, in effect, in his letter to Sir George Bowen of the 21st March last, that the duty of protection follows, as a matter of course, the claim of the right to govern.
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As a matter of fact, the early Colonists of New Zealand, who went out under the auspices of the New Zealand Company, fixed themselves at Wellington, to the southward of the Northern Island, and at Nelson, in the Middle Island, where they were tolerably free from Native interference. The Imperial Government, pursuing a distinct policy of its own, in direct antagonism to the interests and wishes of the Settlers, and in spite of their earnest remonstrances, determined on planting the Capital and establishing the Colonial Government in the northern part of the Northern Island, in the thick of the Native districts, surrounded on all sides with Native difficulties. It in fact adopted, as a cardinal point of Imperial policy, the exclusive guardianship and government of the Aborigines, to which the interests of the Settlers were made subservient. It insisted on treating them as a foreign people. The unhappy results of this Imperial tutelage are sufficiently evident upon a dispassionate examination of the history of the Colony.
In founding the new Colony, and opening it for settlement, it was essential to obtain the control of the territory. In order to prepare the way for the safe and peaceful progress of Colonization, the object of the Imperial Government should have been to encourage, as rapidly as possible, by all legitimate means, the transfer of the waste lands to the Settlers, reserving only sufficient for the use of the Natives. This might have been done with infinite advantage to the Natives themselves, who at that time desired to sell their land to Europeans. Reserving ample space, there was abundance of waste, the utilization of which would have tended more than anything else towards the civilization and advancement of the Natives. But the Imperial Government decreed otherwise. Jealously reserving to the Crown the exclusive right of dealing with the Native Proprietors, it upset indiscriminately all land-bargains which had before taken place between them and the settlers. Large tracts of land, which had been fairly acquired from the Natives, and which thus became disposable for purposes of settlement, were thrown back to the Natives, or practically abandoned. Having thus narrowed the field and checked the progress of Colonization, the Imperial Government refused or neglected to spend money, except to a trifling amount, for extending the area of settlement in acquiring lands from the Natives by purchase, the cost of which under a wise administration would have been speedily repaid. About three-fourths of the Northern Island (up-
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wards of 20,000,000 of acres) remained in the hands of the Natives, who numbered about 50,000 or 60,000 souls, and who were incapable of turning to profitable use a fiftieth part of the country. It must be remembered that the Natives of New Zealand are not hunters; indeed, there are no wild animals in the country. The extent of land which they held in actual occupation was absolutely insignificant.
Thus far, at least, it cannot be said that the policy of the Government was directed with a view to the interests of the Settlers.
There is another point. When it was determined to plant a British Colony, in a country occupied by an aboriginal race like the Maories, it behoved the Imperial Government to settle clearly, and pursue steadily, a right policy as regards the future relations between the Settlers and the Natives. There are examples, to be followed or avoided. There is Extermination, active or passive, which has cleared vast fields for Colonization.--There is the policy of Isolation, under which the American Indian, gradually driven back to the far west, is in process of disappearing.--Or there remains, the policy of Amalgamation--the only policy, in the case of New Zealand, which could be adopted without a conflict of races. By amalgamation I do not mean amalgamation of blood (the possibility of which may be questioned), but political amalgamation, under which the two races may be brought under one common Government. For my own part, I believe that such a policy is--or rather, I should say, was--practicable.
The Imperial Government seems to have been blind to the difficulty. Here and there a vague sense of it appears in dispatches. There are references to possible institutions, to be established for the benefit of the Natives; and some hospitals and schools were founded in the principal towns, and in a few Native districts. In the Constitution Act we have a feeble glimpse of a policy of Isolation, in the power reserved to the Crown to declare Native districts, in which the Natives may live apart from the Settlers, under their own customs--an idea which seems to find favour in Lord Granville's eyes, and which would be certain to end disastrously. But, in a general way, it may be said, that the whole period of Imperial rule is marked with an absence of all real earnest effort to grapple with this difficult but
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unavoidable problem,--how to bring the social and political condition of the Natives into harmony with the progress of Colonization. Not only has the Imperial Government neglected this primary duty, but, as I purpose to show, it has consistently strangled the efforts of the Colonists to grapple with it.
I do not think it possible to deny the faithfulness of this review of Imperial policy in New Zealand. Under it were planted and grew the seeds of those Native troubles, which have from time to time afflicted the Colony, and to which its present dangers are attributable.
In accordance with their policy of treating the Maories as a foreign people, the Imperial Government withheld from the Settlers, until 1852, their ordinary rights as British citizens. New Zealand was ruled as a Crown Colony. It would be needless to point out the irritation this occasioned in the minds of the Colonists, who made repeated but ineffectual efforts for emancipation. I point to this as indicating clearly the inaccuracy of that view which is now insisted on by the Colonial Office and its advocates, that the Colony has been governed in the interests of the Settlers. In 1840 a Representative Constitution was framed, but, on account of Native difficulties, was immediately suspended. At length, in 1852, the present Constitution Act was passed. In 1854 that Act was brought into operation, and the General Assembly met, but with no practical result. The Governor refused to establish Responsible Government, and the Assembly, greatly irritated, separated, leaving the Government still in the hands of the old officials, under responsibility to Downing Street.
In 1855 Colonel (now Sir Thomas) Gore Browne was appointed Governor, and in 1850 he assented to the introduction of Responsible Government. I formed the first Responsible Ministry under him. But so little did Governor Browne accept the view now put forward, as to the duties and responsibilities of the Imperial Government, that he insisted on reserving to himself, as an Imperial officer, the exclusive management of Native affairs, including the right of dealing with the Natives for their lands. He stipulated that upon these matters Responsible Ministers should have no control. Such a stipulation was unpalatable to the General Assembly, but, after much trouble and negotiation, that body assented to the arrangement. In making it, I felt the diffi-
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culty of controverting the grounds on which Governor Browne insisted. He urged that the Imperial Government was responsible for the consequences resulting from the management of Native affairs; that it was bound to protect both Natives and Settlers, at its own cost, in case of internal war; and, therefore, it was right that it should have direct control over these affairs. It was impossible to resist such a plea,---just as it is impossible now to reconcile it with the Imperial disclaimer of all responsibility.
Subject to these conditions, Responsible Ministers commenced their work. I remained a member of the Government till 1859.
So soon as we had entered on our duties, we found ourselves involved in Native difficulties. Innumerable unsettled land-claims threatened to breed disturbances in various directions. The difficulty of reconciling the progress of Colonization with the territorial rights of the Natives had become formidable. The Settlers had increased in numbers, and were spreading in all directions. The stint of land available for colonizing enterprise became severely felt. The Settlements of Auckland and Taranaki, in particular, were cramped for space. Meantime, the value of Native lands had risen with the progress of the Colony, and the Natives became averse to parting with it, except at greatly enhanced rates. Though they could not use the land themselves, they desired to make a market of it, turning to their own profit improvements, to which they had contributed nothing. Political difficulties were arising. The time had arrived when, in the nature of things, a crisis might have been expected. As the Settlers began to outnumber the Natives, the old Maori sentiment of nationality developed itself, in antagonism to the progress of the intruding race. The Natives felt that their ascendancy was passing away. In the interior districts, particularly in the Waikato, there was a state of anarchy. The power of the Chiefs had been lost; the younger men were growing up in a state of lawlessness. These evils were felt keenly by the Natives themselves, and they were becoming alive to the necessity of some political system, which should lead to the establishment of order and law. Out of this state of things grew Native Land Leagues, intended to check the further sale of land to Europeans; and a movement towards Native self-government, which has taken the form of what is called the "King movement." In various Native districts, parti-
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cularly at Taranaki, Native tribes were at war, and blood had been shed in quarrels, which the Government was powerless (or, at least, took no steps) to prevent.
I dwell on these matters, because I wish to show the real condition of the Colony, to which the Colonists succeeded by inheritance from the Imperial Government; and how absolutely untrue that view is, which the Colonial Office seeks to impress upon the British public, that the evils are of recent growth, and that we have brought our dangers on ourselves. When Constitutional Government was introduced, the Colony was a slumbering volcano.
The arrangement, made between Governor Browne and his Ministers, as regards the management of Native affairs, was soon found to work badly,--as must be the case with all divided authority. Responsible Ministers managed ordinary affairs; but a distinct department, called the "Native Department," under the Governor's direct control, and responsible only to him and to the Colonial Office, managed Native affairs. Between the two branches of Government--the one Colonial, the other Imperial--there was inevitable jealousy and conflict. It was impossible, under such a system, to introduce remedial measures with good effect. Efforts were made by the Colonists to induce the Colonial Office to accede to a change, and to unite the Government under one headship-- but in vain! So matters continued till 1863.
It is due to Governor Browne to state that he did all which could be done by personal tact and forbearance to mitigate the evils of this otherwise intolerable system.
But Colonial Ministers, though excluded from the management of Native affairs, could not ignore them, as bearing upon the general interests of the Colony. Great troubles were evidently coming upon it. They felt it their duty to do what they could to avert them. Anyone who will take the trouble to read the papers (published in the Colonial Parliamentary Blue-books) of the years 1858, 1859, and 1860, written by Mr. (now Judge) Richmond, then Native Minister, will not fail to recognize the wisdom and ability which then directed the Colonial Government.
In order to give practical effect to his views, Mr. Richmond
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commenced experimentally, in the Waikato, a plan of local Native government, under the direction of a Resident Magistrate, in which the Natives were beginning to educate themselves to the work of self-government. It was hoped that the model might be copied and applied in other districts. By these means the craving of the Natives for the establishment of law and order would have been satisfied, consistently with the maintenance of the Queen's authority. Mr. Richmond also proposed to commence breaking down the barrier between the two races, as regards dealings with Native land, by enabling the Governor to make limited grants in fee simple to Native owners, so investing them with full proprietary rights:-- a measure to which the real objection was, that it was of a limited and tentative character. The administration of these measures was to be reserved to Responsible Ministers.
In 1858 Mr. Richmond introduced into the Colonial Legislature, and carried, measures to give effect to this policy. But the reservation of the administrative working of this policy to Responsible Ministers was fatal in the eyes of the Colonial Office. The experiment in the Waikato was strangled in its birth. The Resident Magistrate was withdrawn, at the instigation of the Native Department. The Land Act was disallowed. The following extract from the Report of a Committee of the House of Representatives, in 1860, will explain the causes which led to the failure of the experiment in the Waikato. After describing it--its working, its promise of success, and the withdrawal of the Resident Magistrate at the instigation of the Native Department--they add:--
"But that most important defect in the arrangements which have been in force of late years for the administration of Native affairs becomes glaringly apparent in the circumstances attending his (the Resident Magistrate's) removal, and the suspension of his operations--namely, the entire want of harmonious action between the Ministry and the Department of the Native Secretary. The official minutes and memoranda exhibit, in a very striking light, not only fundamental differences of opinion on vital questions, but a departmental conflict which would be fatal to the success of any administrative plans for ameliorating the condition of the Natives."
The Colonial Office confirmed the action of its subordinate officers in the Colony, and Lord Carnarvon, in the dispatch
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acknowledging the measures adopted to carry out Mr. Richmond's Native policy, intimates the disallowance of the Land Bill, and adds:--
"Her Majesty's Government wish to give the fullest effect to the system of Responsible Government, and to leave all questions of domestic and internal interest to be decided by the Colonial Government; but they cannot, for the sake of the Colonists, or for that of the Natives, or for Imperial interests, surrender the control over Native affairs, the administration of which, considering the difficulties and intricacies of the subject, has been crowned with a very remarkable success," &c. Then follows a declaration, that, for the better control and regulation of the Native race, the Imperial Government must retain in its hands the administration of those affairs, "which may at any moment employ the Imperial troops, and be the occasion of an expensive conflict."
So nothing was done. The remedial measures proposed by the Colonists, the salutary nature of which was admitted, were frustrated by the Colonial Office and its working staff in the Colony. The Colonial Ministers were compelled to remain inactive, baffled and disappointed, until the mischiefs at work ripened to a head.
Taranaki has always been the point of danger. Circumstances, which it would be tedious to narrate, but the history of which would forcibly illustrate the maladministration of Native affairs under Imperial rule, had led to quarrels between Native tribes about land. Blood had been shed, and a general Native war seemed impending, which threatened to involve the Settlement of Taranaki, and which might spread over the whole Native districts. In 1859 matters had come to that pass, that Governor Browne determined to interfere, and went down to Taranaki for that purpose. There, at a public meeting of the Natives, he declared his determination to put a stop to all violence; and that whilst he would not allow land to be purchased to which the title was disputed, he would not allow persons who had no rightful claims to hinder the true proprietors in disposing of their land, if they thought fit. In consequence of this declaration, certain Natives, who claimed to be owners of a block of land at the Waitara, offered it to the Government; and out of this transaction arose the present war.
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It is not material to my purpose to examine whether Governor Browne was right or wrong, prudent or imprudent, in what he then did. What I desire to point out is, that he acted throughout the transaction as an Imperial officer, responsible, as such, to the Imperial Government, in furtherance of the Imperial policy,--in the capacity of Protector to the Natives--to put an end to their feuds, to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak, to stay the shedding of blood; and not from a desire, as suggested by Lord Granville, to gratify the Settlers by the purchase of land. The Colonial Office would have it believed that Governor Browne acted at the instigation of his Ministers, whose object was to get land, quocumque modo. Seeking to escape from responsibilities, they revive an old and often-refuted charge. I know it to be without foundation, and equally unjust to Governor Browne as to the Colonial Ministers. I say this from no political bias, for I had ceased to be a member of the Government.
In 1860, Governor Browne, having satisfied himself as to the title of the Native vendors, caused the land to be surveyed, upon which an armed body of Natives obstructed the survey, fired upon the Queen's troops, and levied open war, which has continued, with more or less of intermission, till the present time.
Upon whom did the responsibility for the consequences of this transaction rest? Up to this time the Colonial Office had declared that it rested with the Imperial Government, and had made use of this responsibility, as a plea for retaining in their own hands the control of Native affairs. Governor Browne believed this, and the Colony believed it. Now the Colonial Office gives a different version of the case, and, in order to cast responsibility upon the Colonists, fastens upon them a charge of wrongdoing. At all events, as some of their advocates say, the Imperial Government acted with good intentions, and is under no liability for the consequences of well-intended mistakes.
In 1861 Governor Browne was succeeded by Sir George Grey; and, about the same time, Mr. Stafford's Ministry was displaced by a Ministry, under Mr. Fox, formed upon what was termed a "Peace" policy. I was a member of that Government.
Sir George Grey, so soon as he arrived, addressed himself,
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with the hearty co-operation of his Ministers, to the task of remedying the evils which I have described, in the administration of Native affairs, and we worked together cordially. In concert, we planned institutions for extending law and order to the Native districts, at a cost of about £50,000 a year. We determined to introduce a measure for broadly admitting the title of the Natives to their lands, and enabling them to dispose of them at pleasure. We agreed also to propose to the General Assembly to establish, at the cost of the Colony, an armed Police for the protection of out-settlements.
As a condition of this proposed change of policy, it was necessary to take the management of Native affairs out of the hands of the Native Department, and place it in those of Responsible Ministers. So a provisional arrangement was made, between the Governor and his Ministers, that, subject to the approval of the Home Government on the one side, and of the General Assembly on the other, the ordinary administration of Native affairs should be conducted by Responsible Ministers. The plan worked perfectly well. The new institutions were introduced, in various districts, with more or less of success. Ministers and Governor, in general, agreed in their views, or, if they differed, they settled their differences, in the usual way, by reason or compromise. I wish it to be distinctly understood, that the arrangement so made between Sir George Grey and Mr. Fox's Government, was provisional only, subject to the approval of the General Assembly, and upon the basis of a fair contribution by the Imperial Government towards Native expenditure.
Sir George Grey had, soon after his arrival, announced to the Imperial Government the measures proposed, claiming pecuniary assistance towards the cost of establishing civil institutions amongst the Natives. He enforced this application by pointing out the inability of the Colony from its own resources to meet so heavy a charge,--the duty which rested upon the Imperial Government of contributing to it,--and the comparative economy of a small outlay for the object of peace, as contrasted with the expense of war.
It was not an unreasonable or extravagant demand. It has always appeared to me unreasonable to throw upon the Colonists of New Zealand the exclusive burthen of reclaiming a savage race--over whom they were for so many years excluded from all share of control--whom the British Government
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adopted as their own. As well may a man cast off an adopted child into a stranger's charge. There are, doubtless, duties owing on the side of the Colonists, and they have been and are ready to fulfil them; but it is wrong, to say the least, to throw the whole cost upon the Colony, as is now being done. But the proposal to charge the British Government with a share of the cost of the Native work, seems to have changed the whole tone of the Imperial Government towards the Colony.
In 1862 the Legislature met at Wellington, Mr. Fox's Government being still in office. We were prepared to submit to the Assembly measures for carrying out our policy of peace; though we never, I may add, dreamed of assuming the responsibility of Native affairs as a permanent liability, except under arrangement with the Imperial Government as regards cost.
When Sir George Grey assumed the Government, in 1861, the Duke of Newcastle had addressed him thus:-- "I wish to impress upon you my conviction, that it will be your duty, while avoiding all unnecessary severity, to take care, that neither your own mission, nor the cessation of hostilities, when it arrives, shall carry with it, in the eyes of the Natives, any appearance of weakness or alarm. It would be better even to prolong the war, with all its evils, than to end it without producing in the Native mind such a conviction of our strength, as may render preace not temporary and precarious, but well founded and lasting." As regards the management of Native affairs, His Grace expressed the readiness of the Home Government to consider, "with the strongest desire to acquiesce in, any arrangement for conducting them, which might appear safe to the Governor and acceptable to the Colonists." And he declared that the Imperial Government would be ready "to treat the Colony with as much indulgence as their duty would permit, on the subject of the charges of military protection, and the number of troops to be maintained." He concluded by stating, that "Her Majesty's Government can only trust that the good sense and good feeling of the Colonists will lead them to a cordial understanding with the Representative of the Crown, for the purpose of effectually promoting the civilization and good government of the Natives, and for securing their friendship and contentment." The Colonial Government had heartily responded to these sentiments.
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But in May, 1862, the Duke of Newcastle, in acknowledging Sir George Grey's dispatches (advising him of the plans arranged between himself and his Ministers, for carrying into effect the policy which His Grace had indicated), entirely changes his tone towards the Colony. His letter is sharp and angry, full of causeless complaints, which he is afterwards obliged to retract. As regards the transfer of the management of Native affairs, he assents to it, out of deference to Sir George Grey's opinions; but he adds: "I do it also because I cannot disguise from myself that the endeavour to keep the management of the Natives under the control of the Home Government has failed. It can only be mischievous to retain a shadow of responsibility, when the beneficial exercise of power has become impossible."
Thus he submits to it as a necessity forced upon him, forgetting that he himself had suggested and declared his readiness to acquiesce in it. As to military protection, the Duke no longer inculcates the duty of securing a well-founded and lasting peace, even at the cost of prolonging the war. Now he says: "I cannot hold out to you any hopes that a large military force will for any length of time be kept in New Zealand." Then he somewhat grudgingly submits, on the part of the Imperial Government, for a limited time, to bear part of the charge of Native expenditure. This marked change of tone, on the part of the Imperial Government, towards the Colony, sufficiently explains the refusal of the General Assembly to undertake the proposed responsibility.
The Duke's dispatch arrived whilst the Legislature was in Session. The House of Representatives became alarmed-- refused to sanction Mr. Fox's policy--and agreed upon a Memorial to Her Majesty, in which, after referring to Mr. Fox's arrangement as provisional, and made without the assent of the Assembly, and after pointing out the dangers and difficulties pressing on the Colony at that time, they conclude thus:--
"In respectfully declining, therefore, to accept the proposal of your Majesty's Government, we do so, not as shrinking from labours or burthens which we ought rightly to undertake, but because, along with a desire on the part of your Majesty's Government to confer an apparent boon on the Colony, we seem to discover, in the dispatches to which we have referred, the intention to withdraw from engagements to which
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"the British nation is honestly hound, and to transfer to the Colony liabilities and burthens which belong properly to the Empire."
On the 26th of February, 1863, the Duke of Newcastle, acknowledging the receipt of the Memorial, contemptuously throws it aside, and instructs the Governor that the relinquishment of the control of Native affairs does not require the assent of the Colonists to make it effectual. "It is completed," says the Duke, emphatically, "by the act of the Home Government."
This, then, is that transfer of responsibility which Lord Granville tells us was "not forced upon the Colony, but conceded to it in compliance with its direct and indirect "demands" (!!!)--carrying with it, as Lord Granville insists, the duty of self-protection without aid.
Between the transmission home of the Memorial from the House of Representatives and the receipt of the Duke's letter of the 26th of February, 1863, there was an interval, during which the management of Native affairs was carried on practically by Ministers, in subordination to the Governor's directing authority. The Colonial Ministers, in accordance with the Resolutions of the Assembly, refused to undertake the management, with its responsibilities. But on the receipt of the Duke's dispatch of February, 1863, it was necessary to face the practical difficulty,--how was the management of Native affairs to be carried on? The Governor pressed Ministers to accept it--Ministers steadily declined, pending the meeting of the General Assembly, and without its sanction. Meantime events pregnant with important consequences were taking place.
There is a block of land at Taranaki called "The Tataraimika," about ten miles to the south of New Plymouth. It had been purchased many years ago from the Natives, and was occupied by Settlers. During the war at Taranaki, the Natives had driven the Settlers away, and held the land in forcible occupation. The Governor, acting in the spirit of the Duke of Newcastle's instructions of 1861, determined to resume it, forti manu. He did so; and planted a military detachment there. On the 7th of May, 1863, a military escort, on its way from New Plymouth to the Tataraimika, was attacked by a body of Natives, and two officers and seven
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privates in Her Majesty's service were killed. The war had broken out afresh. On whom does the responsibility for this act and its consequences rest? No one attaches blame to Sir George Grey for the course he took, which I think everyone will admit was the proper one for an Imperial officer under such circumstances. His Ministers approved of it. But the result was war, which is as yet unfinished. The Colony says, with justice, the war was an Imperial war. To charge the Colony, which had at that time distinctly disclaimed all responsibility and right of control over the management of Native affairs, with the cost of vindicating the honour of the Crown, and avenging the slaughter of the Queen's troops, engaged in an Imperial service, seems to me unreasonable.
During these transactions the attitude of the Colonial Ministers is this,--using their own language:
"They (Ministers) can only express their readiness to concur in any arrangement whatever, as to the conduct of the Native Department until the next Session, which will remedy the evils so necessary to be removed at the present crisis. But with respect to the acceptance of the position in which the Duke of Newcastle wishes to place them, Ministers must, with great respect, observe that they consider the Resolution of the House of Assembly as absolutely precluding them from adopting the course recommended by the Governor. If, during a time of peace, the Assembly was unwilling to take the direction of Native affairs out of the hands of Sir George Grey, his Excellency's present advisers cannot believe they would consent to its being done at a moment when war seems imminent, notwithstanding every effort of the Governor to avert it."
But on the 24th of June, 1863 (the state of things having become more alarming, and there being a necessity for calling out the Militia and Volunteers at Auckland and Taranaki without delay), Ministers are again pressed by the Governor to assume the responsibility, now forced upon them by the Duke of Newcastle.
In a Memorandum of that date they say:
"In any ordinary circumstances of the Colony, Ministers would have but one recommendation to make. It would be that the Assembly should be summoned at once to decide a question of such importance. But war appears inevitable and
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"imminent, and, at a time when energetic and decisive measures are absolutely necessary, to summon the Assembly would be to paralyse the efficient action necessary in the present crisis." They go on thus: "The permanent settlement of the general question of responsibility for the conduct of Native affairs might be waived till the General Assembly can meet under more favourable circumstances. In the meantime, Ministers, expressly leaving the definitive adjustment of the matter to the Assembly, are willing to take upon themselves a temporary responsibility to the following extent."
The Memorandum proceeds to detail the plan of operations, which the Governor informs them had been arranged between himself and the Lieutenant-General (Sir Duncan Cameron), including an attack upon the Waikato tribes, and the confiscation of their lands, unless they would come to terms. The Ministers concur in these plans, and declare their readiness to assume responsibility for them, as regards military expenditure, to the extent of paying for the colonial Militia and Volunteers.
Now, I desire to draw attention to this point. At the time Ministers assumed, under pressure, this limited and provisional responsibility, the plan of operations had been arranged between the Governor and the Lieutenant-General. An invasion of the Waikato was meditated--whether wisely or not has been questioned (I offer no opinion on that point). But this plan was not the result of advice by Colonial Ministers. It was agreed on between the two Imperial officers (civil and military), apart from the Colonial Ministers. In pursuance of the strategy, so determined on by the Imperial Authorities, the Lieutenant-General, on the 12th of July, 1863, crossed the Maungatawhiri and advanced into the Waikato country, where he carried on a campaign for several months, expropriating the Native occupiers, and leaving vacant a district of about a million and a quarter of acres.
In 1864 it fell to the lot of Mr. Weld's Government, of which I was a member, reluctantly to undertake the task of formally recording the official act of confiscation, necessary in order to plant the vacant territory with military settlements. For this we are held up to public odium as wrongful usurpers of Native land, or (as Lord Granville circuitously expresses it), we have neglected "the obligation imposed on us by natural justice not to appropriate the property of others."
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Let me say a word on the question of confiscation generally. The principle was introduced by Sir George Grey, in 1862, in reference to the Taranaki rebels, at a time when the Native policy was under the control of the Imperial Government, It was approved of by the Secretary of State, and has since been applied in flagrant cases of Native outrages and open rebellion. The object is simply penal. The Colonial Government, so far from seeking to acquire land in this way, regards all land so acquired as a damnosa hereditas. But there is no other kind of punishment which reaches Native tribes concerned in such misdeeds. The imputation thrown out in Lord Granville's dispatch against the Colonists, of seeking by means of confiscation wrongfully to appropriate Native lands, is groundless, and in the highest degree irritating.
In October, 1863, the General Assembly met, and soon after a change of Ministry took place. The Imperial Government had despatched reinforcements to the Colony, and appeared to be ready to give it efficient aid to crush the Native insurrection. Under these circumstances, on the 6th of November, 1863, the House of Representatives adopted the following Resolution:--
"That this House, having had under its consideration the dispatch of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated the 26th of February, 1863, conveying the fixed determination of Her Majesty's Government to revoke the arrangement of 1856, and for the future to require the Colonists to undertake the responsibility of the management of Native affairs, recognizes with the deepest gratitude the great interest which Her Majesty has always taken in the welfare of all races of her colonial subjects, and the thoroughly efficient aid that Her Majesty's Imperial Government is now affording for the suppression of the rebellion unhappily subsisting, and the establishment of law and order in the Colony. And, relying on the cordial co-operation of the Imperial Government for the future, cheerfully accepts the responsibility thus placed upon the Colonists, and at the same time records its firm determination to use its best endeavours to secure a sound and lasting peace, to do justice impartially to both races of Her Majesty's subjects, and to promote the civilization and welfare of all classes of the inhabitants of these Islands."
Then the Legislature proceeded to pass measures autho-
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rizing the confiscation of rebel territory, and empowering the Governor to borrow £3,000,000, for war purposes and military immigration. The Legislature hoped and expected that the Imperial Government would assist the Colony with an Imperial guarantee for the loan so authorized.
In January, 1864, Mr. Reader Wood, the Colonial Treasurer, proceeded to England, specially charged with negotiating the loan, and making arrangements with the Imperial Government for an Imperial guarantee. The Colony at that time owed the Imperial Government about £500,000, for advances on account of militia, rations, &c. To that extent the object of the loan was to repay the Imperial debt. And now the Imperial Government began to make stipulations as to the terms on which the Colony was to be supplied with troops. The proposal to guarantee the loan was absolutely declined. It then dwindled down to a request for a guarantee of £1,000,000, of which half was to be repaid to the Imperial Treasury, so leaving only £500,000 for the pressing exigencies of the war. On the 26th of May, 1864, Sir E. Rogers intimates to Mr. Wood that the Imperial Government will consent to guarantee one million of the three million loan, subject to certain conditions. He states, at the same time, that for the future the Colony will be required to pay at the rate of £40 per man for infantry and £55 per man for artillerymen, such payment to commence on the 1st of January, 1865, but not to be applicable to a force exceeding 4000 men in the year 1865; the Colony being at liberty to retain one regiment gratis, undertaking to pay £50,000 a year for the benefit of the Natives. Mr. Wood, with reluctance, gave a modified assent to these terms, but pointed out at the same time, with reference to military expenditure, that he had no power to conclude any arrangement without the ratification of the New Zealand Parliament.
The offer of the guarantee of one million came to nothing. It was found to be coupled with conditions which it was impossible for the Colonial Legislature to comply with.
The New Zealand Legislature sadly miscalculated when, in November, 1863, it undertook responsibilities of such magnitude, relying on the cordial co-operation of the Imperial Government. Before six months had elapsed they declared their intention to withdraw all military aid, except upon payment of a charge wholly beyond the means of the Colony.
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A good deal has been said about the wealth of the Colony, and its capacity for bearing the burthens imposed on it by the Imperial Government. I can only say, as having been a Colonial Minister, that the most rigid parsimony and the severest taxation would have failed to provide for the military charge involved in the Imperial demand.
In November, 1864, the General Assembly again met. Everything was in confusion. Differences had arisen between the Governor and his Ministers upon military questions. The Colonial Office had taken part with the Governor, had superseded the authority of Responsible Ministers in military affairs, and the Ministry had resigned. The hope of a guaranteed loan had been disappointed. The Colony was threatened with a speedy withdrawal of the troops, except upon terms which could not be complied with. It was besides clear that, so long as the troops remained, the Colonial Government would not be permitted to exercise control over military operations.
Mr. Weld took office, and I joined him as Attorney-General. On the 6th of December, 1864, after a long debate, the House of Representatives resolved:--
"That the resources of New Zealand have been already heavily burthened, and their development retarded, by the great sacrifices that have been entailed upon the Colony by the Native insurrection. That, nevertheless, the Colony is resolved to make every further possible effort to place itself in a position of self-defence against internal aggression, with a view to accept the alternative indicated by the Home Government--namely, the withdrawal of Her Majesty's land forces at the earliest possible period consistent with the maintenance of Imperial interests and the safety of the Colony."
The Colony could no longer carry on the struggle with the Imperial Government, as regards the responsibility for military protection. The Mother Country had thrown upon the Colonists the whole Native expenditure, and the entire cost of the unfinished war. All that remained was to withdraw the troops "as soon as Imperial interests and the safety of the Colony would admit." Some time was required to make the necessary arrangements. Steps were forthwith taken to withdraw them gradually; but whilst they remained
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in the Colony, there was still the question as to how they were to be employed. The Colonial Government endeavoured to turn them to good account so long as they remained. But, from this time, the course taken by the military authorities seems to have been directed towards defeating the policy of the Colonial Ministers, whose characters they maligned in private letters to England. It was necessary to put an end to such a state of things by expediting their departure.
It is sometimes imputed to the Colony that, in a spirit of arrogant self-sufficiency, it required the Imperial Government to withdraw the troops. It will be seen, from what I have written, that there is no ground for such an imputation. The Colony submitted to circumstances which it could not control. The removal of the troops had become a necessity, partly on economical grounds (the charge being heavier than the Colony could bear), and partly because, so long as they remained, the Colonial Government could exercise no control over military operations. It is right to add that, in the opinion of Mr. Weld's Government, a colonial force of about 1200 or 1500 men, properly trained, and under colonial direction, would be more effective than a much larger body of regular troops. The disciplined soldier is not well adapted for bush-war, which requires special training. I think it would have been well if one regiment had been retained in the Colony, if only for appearance' sake; and an arrangement to that effect seems to have been contemplated by the Home Government, but it was coupled with conditions which the Colony (rightly, I think) considered unreasonable.
One insurmountable difficulty in the way of maintaining an Imperial force in a Colony having Responsible Government is the rule, which seems to be inflexible, that the Colonial Government shall exercise no authority over it. On this point, the Duke of Cambridge has expressed his opinion. "To take away," says His Royal Highness, "the power of the Governor as Commander-in-Chief, would be an act fatal to the position of the Governor, detrimental to the Imperial interests, and extremely embarrassing and inconvenient both to the officers and troops. It is most important, in a Constitutional State, that the General should understand that it is his duty to be subject to the sway and control of the civil authorities, because those authorities are really responsible either to the Crown or to the Governor of the Colony, who is exercising the authority of the Crown."
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The withdrawal of the troops has been going on since 1865. In September last only one battalion of the 18th Foot remained. During the process of removal there have been continual differences between the Colonial and Imperial Governments, and between the civil and military authorities in the Colony. The Imperial Government complained of slackness on the part of the Governor; the Colonial Government complained that it was deprived of all authority over the troops whilst they remained. Groundless charges of cruelty to the Natives were brought against the Colonial Government in secret reports to England, which were received by the Colonial Office, and circulated in England to the prejudice of the Colony. The Governor (Sir George Grey) and his Ministers complained, and the Governor was recalled. As to some of the gravest of these charges, Sir George Grey has demanded a public investigation, which has been refused. The Colony is without appeal.
But a new and wholly different question has now arisen. After a long comparative lull, in September, 1868, a horrible massacre took place at Poverty Bay, and disasters occurred to the colonial forces at Wanganui, accompanied with atrocities too horrible to be narrated. In great alarm, the House of Representatives, which was then sitting, resolved, on the 2nd of October, 1868: "That the removal of the 18th Regiment, in the present condition of the Northern Settlements, would tend to increase the excitement and confidence of the rebellious Maories, and to discourage those friendly to Her Majesty's Government. That the Colony has for many years consistently fulfilled, and is virtually fulfilling, the conditions on which the retention of an Imperial regiment in New Zealand was sanctioned in the dispatch of Lord Carnarvon of the 1st of December, 1866. That this House, therefore, respectfully prays His Excellency the Governor to take steps for delaying the departure of the 18th Regiment until the subject shall be referred to the Imperial Government."
A similar appeal was made by the Legislative Council, by the Governor, and by the Colonial Ministers. It was not an appeal for fresh aid; it was merely that the regiment might be allowed to remain till the immediate prospect of danger should be overpast, and that the rebel Natives might not be encouraged, in such a crisis, by seeing the embarkation of British troops, and, with them, all visible symbol of British
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authority. To all such appeals the Colonial Office turned a deaf ear.
Meantime the Colony, through its Agent in England, had applied to the Imperial Government, representing its need of money, and its difficulty in borrowing except with the aid of an Imperial guarantee. The object of the loan was to cover the contemplated war expenditure, and the Imperial Government was gently reminded of the claims which the Colony has upon it for assistance.
Lord Granville, in refusing the application, avails himself of the opportunity of laying down the future policy of the Imperial Government towards the Colony, in a dispatch to Sir George Bowen, dated the 21st of March, 1869. I subjoin the material parts in full. No one can mistake its meaning. It is intended roughly to close the door to all further appeals for help, no matter how great the danger, or how urgent the need. His Lordship says:--
"I think it right to inform, or rather remind, you of the view of facts taken by the Imperial Government, which in New Zealand may not be prominently brought under your notice. It is this:
"A number of Englishmen, without any invitation or encouragement from the English Government, took on themselves to form one or more settlements in the islands of New Zealand. The Government of the day considered itself responsible for placing the relations between these British subjects and the Natives among whom they settled on a reasonable basis, and for securing order among the Settlers.
"It therefore acquired the islands by treaty from the Natives, and established a regular government in the settlements.
"The treaty did not render the English Government liable to the payment of a subsidy (as might be supposed from Mr. Fitzherbert's phrase), or any other onerous conditions, but merely gave the Natives the rights of British subjects, and bound the Queen to respect their territorial rights--rights, it may be observed, the existence of which were perfectly recognized among the tribes, and which they were always ready to support by force of arms, if necessary.
"The Government was amenable at first to the Home Government, afterwards almost wholly to the Settlers. But it was never at any time attempted to make New Zealand tributary to Great Britain, or to direct local affairs in such a way as to produce any political or pecuniary advantage to this country. The Colony was governed with a view to the real or supposed advantage of the inhabitants.
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"In one part of the Colony, New Plymouth, a great and not unnatural desire existed to acquire part of the neighbouring lands from the Natives. The Governor, holding, as an Imperial officer, the position of Protector of Native Rights, but also anxious to gratify the desires of the Colonists, took a step satisfactory to his responsible advisers, to the local Legislature, and apparently to the mass of the Colonists, though blamed by some as inconsistent with those duties to the Natives, which were in some sense Imperial.
"The result of this step, taken entirely in the interests and with the approval of the Colonists, was a war, carried on partly at the expense of New Zealand, but principally at the expense of this country. And the result of the war is that the leading tribe of the Maories is scattered, that the power of the others is broken, and that large tracts of land, to which the Government had no claim, and the settlers no access, except by friendly arrangement with the Natives, are confiscated, sold, and occupied by Europeans.
"It may be added, though not part of the argument, that meanwhile the number of the Colonists has risen from 49,800, in 1857, to 218,500, in 1867, and that of the Maories is supposed, with more of conjecture, to have fallen from 56,000 to 38,500.
"If this statement is correct, it follows that the Imperial Government have not transferred to that of the Colony any obligation whatever, except that imposed on all of us, by natural justice, not to appropriate the property of others; that all the Imperial expenditure on the Colony has been for the benefit of the Colonists, and a great part of it may be viewed as the price paid by this country for the territories which have been recently, and as I think unwisely, appropriated by them; and, lastly, that no part of the colonial expenditure has been in any degree for the benefit of the Mother Country.
"So far, therefore, as there is any equitable claim remaining unsettled, it is not a claim on the part of New Zealand against Great Britain, but the reverse--a claim, and a very heavy claim, if we thought proper to urge it, on the part of the Mother Country against the Colony.
"Lastly, Mr. Fitzherbert says that the Imperial Government 'insisted' on transferring the burden of its obligations to the Native race from itself to the Colony. What the nature of these obligations are, in the opinion of the Homo Government, I have already noticed.
"But I must add that Her Majesty's Government view this transfer not as forced on the Colony, but, on the contrary, conceded to the Colony in compliance with the direct and indirect demands of the Colonists. The duty of protecting themselves, against those whom they claimed the right to govern, followed as a matter of course.
"I cannot help observing, that if the opinions expressed at
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different times by my predecessors are correct, the present dangers of New Zealand are due, not to the punctual performance of their obligations to the Maori race, but rather to their adoption of a policy which, if not inconsistent with those obligations, was certain to appear so to the Natives affected by it."
If my view of the case is correct, it will be impossible for the Colony to admit the accuracy of Lord Granville's statements, or the justice of his reproofs.
Now I will trouble you with a few general remarks. It is useless to disguise the fact that we are approaching a new epoch in the history of our Colonial Empire, and that the relations which have hitherto subsisted between the Mother Country and her Colonies are about to undergo a fundamental change. The policy adopted towards New Zealand is not meant to be singular, nor is there any intention to treat her more harshly than other Colonies. The same rule is being applied elsewhere, though at present it presses most heavily upon that Colony. The Mother Country declares, in an unmistakable form, her determination to withdraw from all interference in the internal concerns of those Colonies, at least, in which free institutions have been established, and to leave them to themselves for better or worse. Some Colonies will feel the change more than others; but the principle affects all alike.
Such a change obliges all Colonies, each for itself, to consider well their position, and to look to their future. It will be well for them to approach the question in a spirit of moderation.
As regards New Zealand, the tone of Lord Granville's dispatch, apart from its substance, is calculated to give deep offence to the Colony. It is not, perhaps, more irritating than dispatches of former Secretaries of State, but it has the peculiar misfortune of being coupled with, or rather of being the vehicle of, refusal of all material aid. It is in human nature to bear with affront from those from whom we are receiving substantial kindness; but when that is withdrawn, affront is sure to produce resentment, which will be no longer smothered. The Colony, at such a moment, will not bear to be told, even in the language of courtly circumlocution, that it has brought its dangers on itself; that it has rashly assumed responsibilities which it is refusing to discharge; that
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it has failed in its duties to the Natives; that it has robbed them of their land. If the charges were true, which they are not, the time for making them is inopportune.
For my present purpose, I remark that a dispatch of this nature appears to me to indicate an inherent vice in our system of Colonial Administration, arising from the constitution of the Colonial Office, a department consisting of a permanent official staff, in whom the real power resides, presided over by shifting Parliamentary heads, and between whom and the Colonial Governments there can be no sympathy.
"The system," says the late Mr. C. Buller, "has all the faults of an essentially arbitrary Government, in the hands of persons who have little personal interest in the welfare of those over whom they rule--who reside at a distance from them, who never have ocular experience of their condition, who are obliged to trust to secondhand and one-sided information, and who are exposed to the operation of all those sinister influences which prevail wherever publicity and freedom are not established." 1
It is true that the establishment of Responsible Government, in the most important Colonies, has greatly contracted the sphere of Colonial Office work; but room enough is left for differences, which are constantly arising, and which, when they occur, produce in the mind of the Colonial Government an irritation quickened by the new sense of responsibility and partial independence. If the connection between the Mother Country and her Colonies is to be maintained, I venture to express an opinion that there must be some organic change in this department of the Imperial Government.
The subject, however, is of wider scope, and the special claim which New Zealand has upon the Mother Country, is merged in the larger principle involved in the newly-announced policy, which opens to the Colonies the question of possible Independence. I hope I may venture upon this topic without being supposed to imply a menace, which would be simply absurd. The Home Government itself invites us to consider the matter from this point.
Setting aside the special circumstances of particular Colonies, I am not prepared to dispute the general right of the
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Mother Country to say to her Colonies, all or any of them, at a fitting time: "We do not intend any longer to trouble ourselves about your internal affairs. Their management, with all its responsibilities, must rest with yourselves. Be independent, if you please; but, whatever troubles or difficulties you get into henceforth, do not look to us for assistance." Does it follow that, under these circumstances, the connection of the Colony with the Mother Country must be severed? Not, as a logical consequence. But it remains to be seen whether it will be practically possible to maintain that connection under such altered relations.
There are some practical disadvantages under which Colonies are placed by the Imperial connection. The obligation to receive Governors by nomination from home, though it has great advantages, will occasionally be felt as a grievance. The necessity of submitting Acts of the Colonial Legislature to the Colonial Office, for confirmation, though in general a mere form, produces not unfrequently irritating differences. A transmarine Court of Appeal is an unreality. To be debarred from the privilege of making treaties with foreign Powers may sometimes be thought to be a disadvantage. The risk of being involved in wars arising out of European politics is only partially balanced by the protection which the Mother Country is still ready to afford.
So long as a Colony feels that, in case of extreme need, it may claim help in possible difficulties, as part of the great Imperial family, it acquiesces in these abridgments of its autonomy, as a child submits to the restraints of the paternal roof. But if a time comes (as it has come, in the case of New Zealand) that such help is asked and refused, the relationship is changed. The parent has abandoned the child. The child feels and knows that it is abandoned. Henceforth it is outside the family pale.
The announcement of such a principle will be applied by other Colonies to their own cases.
This feeling of mutual reliance between all parts of the Empire for help in great emergencies may be-and is, in fact, to a great extent--sentimental. The moral obligation of mutual help binds families together, though, in a vast number of cases, the occasion for calling it into active exercise never
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arises. But the obligation cannot be denied without a severance of the family tie.
May I, without egotism, state my own views on this question of the relative duties and obligations of Colonies and the Mother Country? As a member of the Colonial Legislature, and as a Colonial Minister, I have practically acted upon them. In New Zealand they have been generally accepted, though there is a strong feeling that the Mother Country has unfairly shifted from its own shoulders a burthen to which it is morally liable.
The obligation of self-defence rests, in my opinion, upon a Colony primarily, to the extent of its ability (to be measured by circumstances), in all cases, whether of internal danger or foreign war. The distinction now drawn, and which is implied in the present Imperial policy, between the two cases, is unsound. Whether the danger comes from within or without is immaterial. If a Colony can protect itself against a foreign enemy without aid, it is bound to do so. If a danger threatens the Empire, and it can bring help to the common cause, it is bound to afford it. The Colonies feel this, and are ready, to the extent of their ability, to assist in the defence of the Empire. This disposition was shown by several of the Colonies in the case of the Crimean War. In the case of New Zealand, when the Native war broke out, I objected to asking for troops from England. Mr. Weld's Government, of which I was a member, urged their recall. We believed that the Colony was able to fight its own battle. That was what we meant by the policy of self-reliance, upon which the Colony consistently acted, till circumstances obliged it to make that appeal for help, which might have been conceded without cost to the Mother Country, but which Lord Granville has so peremptorily rejected.
Whether Great Britain would be wise in contracting the limits of her Empire, is a question which she is entitled to determine for herself. As a citizen of the Empire I should deeply regret it. I believe the Colonies to be to her a source of wealth, the security for which would be impaired if they were independent. "I am of opinion," says Mr. Wakefield, 2 "that the extent and glory of an Empire are solid advantages for all its inhabitants, and especially those who inhabit its centre. I think that, whatever the possession of our
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"Colonies costs us in money, is worth more in money than its money-cost, and is infinitely more in other respects. For by overawing foreign nations, and impressing mankind with a prestige of our might, it enables us to keep the peace of the world, which we have no interest in disturbing; as it would enable us to disturb the world, if we pleased. The advantage is, that the possession of this immense Empire by England, causes the mere name of England to be a real and a mighty power--the greatest power that now exists in the world." "Suppose," he adds, "we gave them all up, without losing any of their utility as markets, I say that the name of England would cease to be a power, and that, in order to preserve our own independence, we should have to spend more than we do in the business of defence. It would be supposed that we gave them up because we could not help it; we should be, with respect to other nations, like the bird which has been wounded, and which, therefore, the others peck to death."
But remonstrances and arguments by Colonists against such a policy are not likely to be treated with consideration. Indeed, we should perhaps expose ourselves to taunts and injurious reflections.
It remains for us to adapt ourselves to the new circumstances, and see how they can be shaped and directed, so as to produce the smallest amount of injury to ourselves, and to the Mother Country, in whose greatness and prosperity we, at any rate at present, feel an equal interest as citizens of the Empire.
Granting, then, that from henceforth the obligation of mutual help between the Colonies and the Mother Country is to be limited to the case of foreign war, how are we to adjust our relations with each other for the future? They can no longer be those of superior and dependent; they must be those of simple equality. But is equality under such circumstances compatible with anything short of independence? Seeing, as I do, great evils in the dismemberment of the Empire, I shrink from the conclusion to which my judgment points--that any middle condition, is in such case, impossible, or, at all events, could not be long maintained.
To the Colonies the transition to a state of absolute Independence must needs be full of anxiety. In the case of
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foreign war, how will they protect themselves without the aid of the great Power on which they hitherto relied? They must do as other small independent States have done and are doing. Their very insignificance may be a source of safety. But, even now, the total withdrawal by the Home Government of the military, and the contraction of the naval force hitherto assigned for the protection of outlying dependencies, warns them that the help they may expect from England in future will be limited by her own more pressing needs, and must therefore be precarious. As things are, what would be the condition of the Australasian Colonies, whose gold-ships offer the richest prizes, in case of war with any of the great maritime Powers? The Mother Country will decline to enter into specific guarantees, and we must rest satisfied with general assurances of support in case of need. Without questioning the sincerity of such assurances, the question must force itself upon all the distant Colonies-- those especially of the Australasian group--whether the advantages resulting from maintenance of the Imperial connection, under the altered policy, are a compensation for the dangers involved in possible entanglement in quarrels arising out of European politics.
It is desirable that we should bring to the consideration of these questions a calm judgment; and if, failing other expedients, the Colonies are to assume Independence, there is much to be done, as preparatory work, in the way of grouping and organizing them, to fit them for entering on their new career--in a spirit, let us hope, of entire friendship with the Parent State. But this opens a new subject. So I conclude.
Yours very faithfully,
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
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