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Conflict at the Bay of Islands. Result of Government Impolicy. Friendly Feeling of the Natives towards the Settlers. Reflections on the Present State of the Colony. Bay of Islands Residents entitled to Compensation. Impolicy and Injustice of seizing upon or taxing the Lands of the Aborigines. Poverty of the Settlers. Injustice of imposing a Land Tax. Representative Government. Property Rate Ordinance a good basis for Qualification. Right of Discovery considered. The Dispute between the New Zealand Company and the Government. Agreement of Lord John Russell. The proper understanding thereof. Church Missionaries -- unfair Charges preferred against them by the New Zealand Company.
WHILE the foregoing Letters were in the press, the report of an important and disastrous event in connexion with the subject to which they refer has reached this country. As that event is in itself of a very serious nature, and as it is likely in its results to affect materially the future condition of New Zealand, it is deserving of some notice.
The preceding pages offer ample evidence of the extraordinary and unheard-of position of our Government in New Zealand, and of the unhappy, but inevitably unhappy, state of feeling which has existed from the commencement towards our Government, both on the part of the European and native population. As far as the natives are concerned, that feeling has been gradually assuming a graver character, until it has heightened into a full and determined resistance to the exercise of our authority, and ultimately ended in the subversion of that authority, in the defeat of our troops and the destruction of one of the oldest settle-
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ments in New Zealand. The fatal conflict and defeat of our countrymen at the Bay of Islands is to be deplored on various accounts. Its present effects are sufficiently bad and distressing, but the contemplation of the probable and future results is still more so as regards the prosperity of both races. The measures of the Government have, at length, entailed upon New Zealand the evil of a war of races, and upon England the shame and the disgrace of most likely adding another race of aborigines to the long list of those which our grasping and cruel policy has already destroyed. It is in vain to attempt to deny the fact--the Government of New South Wales, the Government of New Zealand, the misrepresentations of Sir George Gipps, the folly of Captain Hobson, and the culpable neglect of the Colonial Office, are alone to blame. The chief Heki may be persecuted, captured, and executed as a rebel by our Government; he may be abused and reviled as a cannibal by Mr. Buller: but whatever Heki may be called, and however he may be treated, he manifests at least a strong love for his own country, and even qualities which have entitled a Bruce, a Wallace, and a Tell to the name of patriots.
Day after day, and year after year, has the Government of New Zealand been warned of the impolicy of its conduct towards the natives; but every admonition was rejected and despised, and those who ventured to predict and who had the sense to foresee the effects of the wrong position the officers of Government had assumed, and the errors they were committing, were reckoned as the enemies of good government, and disturbers of the peace. Truth, however, will sooner or later prove itself; and unworthy deeds, however much they may for a time be mistaken for real merit and desert, will in the end reveal themselves in their true light and character. Sir George Gipps and
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Captain Hobson for a long time deceived the country and deluded the Colonial Office with the belief that they had acquitted themselves as became the agents of a civilised country, and a nation which not only possessed, but actually practised, honour and good faith in all its dealings. When they were deputed by the Home Government to establish British authority in New Zealand, they were requested to obtain the cession of sovereignty from the chiefs with their intelligent consent, and on no other terms was British authority to be obtained or attested. How far Sir George Gipps and Captain Hobson discharged the trust reposed in them, may be inferred from the late conflict at the Bay of Islands. It is needless to assert, that had they obtained the intelligent consent of the natives, such an unhappy occurrence never would have happened. The intelligent consent of the natives was never obtained either by Captain Hobson or Sir George Gipps, and the treaty by means of which they pretend to have obtained the cession of sovereignty has not been signed by one-third of the chiefs of New Zealand; neither did any of those who were induced to sign it comprehend its full meaning; nor is even the treaty which it is pretended they have signed the same in substance or in meaning with that which was in their own language submitted to them, as any person may perceive by looking at the official and literal translation in the Appendix to these Letters.
Sir George Gipps imagined, without knowing anything at all about their real character, that the New Zealanders were much the same as the unfortunate but scarcely-human beings who roam powerless and homeless through the desert plains and arid wastes of New Holland. Having taken these premises for granted, he did not deem it necessary to be very particular in adhering to the strict letter of his
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instructions. While he satisfied what he considered the expedient humanity of the Colonial Office by the appearance of a treaty which he knew it was necessary to exhibit before Missionary Societies, (for Sir George Gipps served an apprenticeship in the West Indies during the excitement about the Slave question,) he and his Council assiduously investigated all the available books on the law of nations, especially the best American authorities on the manner in which the North American Indians had been deprived of their possessions: by such means he discovered that the natives of New Zealand were savages, and being so, as a matter of course they had no property in the land where Providence placed them--land which the Divine and Papal right of Discovery had bestowed upon the first Christian nation whose subject or servant should happen to visit their country.
By such sophistry and political dishonesty did Sir George Gipps attempt to found the Colony of New Zealand; and by a series of acts similar in character, and based upon these principles, has the present humiliating and disgraceful position of our Government been brought about. The "jugglery and thimble-rigging" of Sir George Gipps have ruined the original settlers of New Zealand, and brought about what is considered rebellion on the part of the natives, which will most likely end in the complete extermination of that unfortunate people, and in a dreadful sacrifice of life and money on the part of our country, --a sacrifice compared with which the acquisition of New Zealand, even by the fairest means, would be a miserable recompense.
It is well to note the prominent causes of the disturbances and disaffection of the natives of New Zealand, inasmuch as if we can discover that they have a real and substantial foundation, they are much easier to be removed
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than if they were merely the result of wantonness, an inherent love of strife, or enmity towards our countrymen. In a letter addressed to Lord Stanley two years ago, I warned the Colonial Office of the effects that would inevitably result from the conduct of the Local Government. That letter was, as a matter of course, unheeded. It was, most likely, accompanied by another letter from Mr. Shortland, informing His Lordship that I was mistaken in my apprehensions, statements, and fears; that everything would go on smoothly and prosperously; that the natives would quietly submit to be treated like savages; that the loss of lands, the imposition of Customs, the destruction of their trade--even absolute poverty and wretchedness--would work no change in their feelings, or exhaust their patience. Honesty would have been the best policy in New Zealand, as everywhere. Our Government should have candidly and openly stated their views at the commencement. If they intended taking possession of the lands of the natives, they should have told them so at once. But they deceived not only the natives, but the Europeans also; for while they pretended at first to respect the rights and properties of both, their ulterior motives were very different. By the Treaty of Waitangi, they induced the natives to believe that they meant to confer upon them the rights of British subjects, and to secure to them the full enjoyment of their own laws and landed possessions. Something, certainly, was understood by the natives regarding a first offer to the Government of any lands they should feel disposed to alienate; but they never for one moment understood that the Government was to be the sole and exclusive purchaser. Had they been informed that such was the intention, not a chief in New Zealand would have signed the treaty. This gross and unjustifiable deception
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lies at the root of all the mischief which has attended our occupation of that unfortunate country. Fraud has been practised by the Local Government, and the natives have lost all confidence in our good faith, and respect for our moral character. If that were not the case, we might have supposed that the recent measures of Captain Fitz Roy would have insured peace; but they have not had that effect, for the simple reason that the natives had no faith in our integrity, or in the permanence of our measures. They had also sense enough to see that these measures were conceded through fear of themselves, and as matters of necessity more than of favour and right; and they apprehended, too justly, that the right would be withdrawn the moment we were ia a condition to do so with safety. They therefore availed themselves of our known weakness, to get rid of our Government altogether. For their quarrel is with the Government, and the Government only. They have on every occasion regarded the private settlers with friendship and good-will; and they would have continued to do so, so long as the settlers took no part against them with the Government. In their imprudence and folly, the Government have, however, determined upon involving the settlers in their own unjust quarrel with the natives, by causing a Militia Act to be passed, compelling the settlers, under severe penalties, to arm themselves against the aborigines. The effects of such a measure cannot be contemplated without dread and horror. How Captain Fitz Roy, against his own conviction, should have introduced and passed that measure, can only be accounted for by the frequent request of the Government, and the importunity of some inconsiderate settlers. The conduct of Heki and his people at Kororarika, their kindness and humanity towards the private settlers, should have warned the Govern-
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ment of the imprudence and folly of setting the two races against one another. The Militia Bill, if it be not attended with even more disastrous consequences, will at least have the effect of driving all the settlers out of the country; for who would remain in a Colony where he was compelled, at the will of a despotic Government, to fight, not against real enemies, but against kind and friendly natives, whenever the officers of a Government, always remarkable for folly, required and demanded that he should do so?
The defeat of our troops at the Bay of Islands is both humiliating and distressing; --humiliating to our Government, as a further proof of the incapacity of their servants and officers in New Zealand; and distressing, not simply on account of the loss of life and property, however great it may have been, but because it is likely that there must be a still further and a still greater loss of both before the authority of our Government can again be established. It is needless to conceal the fact, that Kororarika has been lost through a series of the grossest blunders and misconduct. It was, in the first place, highly imprudent, with so small a military force, to provoke Heki by again erecting the silly flagstaff after he had so frequently cut it down. A mere point of honour might have been, for a time at least, conceded to prudence and common sense. The flagstaff should not have been erected until we had strength sufficient to defend it. The force sent for its defence should have been also under the command of an experienced officer, and not committed to persons of doubtful courage and known inexperience. Neither Colonel Hulm, the officer commanding the troops, nor Captain Bennett, the officer of Engineers, was present at the taking of Kororarika. After the attack commenced, every error more
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fatal than another was committed on the part of our people. The military were useless, because their officers were deficient both in prudence and courage. Captain Robertson, of the "Hazard," with about forty-five seamen and marines, alone, and unsupported by the military, succeeded in effectually checking and dispersing about two hundred natives. Had the other officers, and the military, in particular, behaved like that young but gallant commander (who was unfortunately dangerously wounded), the town of Kororarika might have been defended and saved. The conduct of the military officers has been, by all accounts, highly reprehensible: they were neither fit to command nor to lead the unfortunate men under their charge. Even the magazine was left without a single person in charge of it; and it is supposed that some native girls who were permitted to remain in the building where it was placed were the parties who set fire to it, naturally wishing that their own countrymen should prevail. Why such things should have happened, and why the town should have been abandoned to plunder, pillage, and fire, after the natives were repulsed, is certainly most unaccountable, and ought to be made a subject of investigation.
The loss of property at the Bay of Islands, including houses, goods, money, and personal property, cannot be estimated at less than £60,000. When or what amount of compensation the Government will make for that loss, it is hard to say; but certain it is that the European settlers are entitled to full compensation, for their property was not destroyed because of a quarrel between them and the natives, or in an attempt to defend their properties, for they were not threatened, but simply in a quarrel -- a national quarrel between the Government of this country and the aborigines of New Zealand. Still more, the settlers
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were prevented by the armed Police Magistrate of the Bay of Islands from making any effort to save their properties. They were told they would be shot if they ventured to leave the blockhouse, where they were collected like a lot of sheep to be slaughtered, if the natives felt inclined to do so. But the natives respected the persons and property of the Europeans until the latter was abandoned by the Government, and then they looked upon it as a lawful prize.
Captain Fitz Roy has been blamed for having re-erected the flagstaff when he had not a force sufficient to defend it. But it must be borne in mind that the flagstaff was not erected until he might, in reason, have expected a reinforcement from Sydney before the natives could have made preparations for attacking. If there be blame, it is justly attributable to Sir George Gipps, who allowed five or six weeks to elapse without sending the troops, for no other reason than because he could not charter a vessel but at a rate which he considered too high. This miserable attempt to save freight has been the means of sacrificing Kororarika--perhaps the Colony of New Zealand.
There is no excuse for Sir George Gipps, as Major Robertson, an experienced officer, was sent to Sydney expressly to give a fair report of the state of the Colony as to military resources, and a Mr. D'Oyly, a respectable settler, from New Zealand (now in England), addressed a letter to Sir George Gipps, urging upon him, by every argument that a man could make use of, not to lose a single day in despatching troops: but he fatally neglected doing so until it was too late. Sir George Gipps has much to answer for in connexion with the unfortunate Colony of New Zealand.
The New Zealand Company blame Lord Stanley, but
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very unjustly, for the evils that have befallen New Zealand. They ought, in fairness, to blame where it is justly due. Sir George Gipps, Captain Hobson, and Lord John Russell are the parties primarily, really, and deeply implicated in the ruin of New Zealand. Lord Stanley will certainly be to blame, and much to blame, if he now yield to the New Zealand Company, and give the settlers even prima facie titles to lands which he knows they have not fairly purchased from the natives. If he do so, and attempt, as Sir Robert Peel proposes, to impose a tax upon the waste or unoccupied lands of the natives, he will then indeed be to blame; for he will by so doing cause a union, a determined resistance on the part of all the tribes against our Government. He will cause a war from which little credit or profit will accrue to our country--a war which can only be terminated by the ruin of the present European population of New Zealand, and the total destruction of the unhappy aborigines. It is vain to suppose for one moment that the natives will either pay the tax, or submit to have their lands confiscated: they will neither do the one nor the other--but they will resist the latter at the risk of sacrificing life itself. Whoever knows their character will have no hesitation in believing they will do so. And if they do, let our military strength be ever so great, years must elapse before we can conquer the New Zealanders, a war with whom will be even worse than that which our Government waged so long, and with so little advantage, with the natives of Ceylon. Until New Zealand shall be, like Ceylon, riddled through and through with military roads, no force, however powerful, will be of any avail against the natives.
The usefulness and importance of New Zealand, as a Colony, does not by any means consist in adding it to the
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many other fields where abortive attempts are made to found Colonies according to the Wakefield system. The value of New Zealand is great in a commercial point of view, if we should never send another European settler to it. It is already a good and an extensive Colony, if properly governed. The natives are great consumers of European goods and manufactures; they are also producers to a very large extent; and if peace and order are maintained, the Colony will increase in wealth and population without any direct importation of labourers and paupers from England. Capital, and security for life and property, are alone wanted; and these are not likely to be introduced by the confiscation of the lands of the aborigines, and the war which will inevitably follow such an unwise and unjust attempt. The Government of New Zealand should be simply and purely a matter of police; it should neither interfere with the rights of the natives or Europeans, by carrying on a profitless traffic in lands or land-taxes. Land should be regarded like any other species of property, and taxed according to its value. Neither the natives nor the Europeans will willingly submit to any other system. The private settlers at the present moment pay, by the General Property-Rate Ordinance, a tax upon the full value of their lands. Why it should be attempted, as Sir Robert Peel proposes, to impose an additional tax upon lands over and above that which is paid at present, is rather difficult to understand, or to reconcile with justice. As far as the old settlers are concerned, it is surely punishment enough to have reduced them to poverty by keeping them five years out of their lands, without now, when few of them are able to make them available, imposing a tax, the effect of which will be, as in the case of the natives, to confiscate them to the Crown. If the Govern-
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ment want any additional evidence of the misery and ruin in which their policy has involved the settlers of New Zealand, they have it abundantly in the fact of Captain Fitz Roy having brought a Bill before his Council with the view of imposing fines upon all those who would not take up their grants or title-deeds within a certain day. Could he by possibility have given stronger evidence of the absolute poverty and wretchedness of the party in question, than by introducing such a measure? Can any person for a moment suppose, that these parties, who have been for five years endeavouring to prove their claims to land, would now neglect or refuse to take up their Crown grants (the very thing they were striving to obtain) if they had the means of paying the necessary fees? The truth is, that his predecessors have so ruined the unfortunate claimants, that they cannot now procure the necessary sum to pay the fees; and yet these are the people whose properties the Home Government now contemplates specially to tax for the crime of holding lands in New Zealand, and having been made paupers by the unjust acts of their own servants! It is to be hoped that Lord Stanley has too much humanity to order anything so cruel and unjust as this measure. It is surely quite enough that they should, like all the other people in the Colony, contribute to the general revenue according to the value of their properties. It is punishment enough for them to have sunk their means in lands which at the present time are unavailable, if not valueless, and from which they have never derived the slightest income.
Objections have been raised by Sir James Graham against extending to the inhabitants of New Zealand the benefits of a Representative Government, on the plea that there are two races of people, the one of which is not in a
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condition at present to exercise the right, and that it would be unfair towards them that the other should, to their exclusion, be invested with what is, in truth, nothing but their right, and the birthright of every British subject in every part of the British dominions, excepting convict settlements, and some conquered Colonies of small importance. The fitness or unfitness of the aboriginal population has nothing whatever to do with the claims of the European settlers, which would not be in the least strengthened or weakened by the existence or non-existence of the native population: the matter at issue is, simply, whether persons selected by the people would attend better to the interests of the Colony than the mere nominees, and frequently the mere tools, of the Governor? If it can be proved that the latter are the best, then it follows that New Zealand, and every other Colony, should be governed by the nominees of the Crown and Governor. The existence of a native population is no reason whatever for withholding from New Zealand a Representative Government, based upon proper qualifications on the part of the electors and elected. If the aborigines attain to these qualifications, then by all means let any and every one of them who does so have a voice and an interest in the representation. In New Zealand there is, at the present moment, an excellent basis for qualification and representation in the Property-Rate Ordinance. The qualification of members, as well as the number of the votes of the electors, might be fixed and determined by the amount of money they pay in direct taxes. Those who contribute nothing should have no votes; and those who do contribute should be entitled to a certain number of votes, in proportion to the amount of taxes paid by them. The Pro-
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perty-Rate Ordinance embraces the two elements of representation, life and property. The Government might, therefore, with great facility, found upon it a proper representative qualification, without any injury whatever to the aboriginal population, who, the moment they contributed towards the maintenance of Government by becoming rate-payers, would become entitled to vote at the elections. There is no injustice in admitting or excluding them on that principle, and there is, therefore, no reason for withholding the benefits of Representative Government from the Europeans because the natives do not choose to qualify.
The municipal institutions, so favourably spoken of by Sir Robert Peel, will never give satisfaction. It is a useless and expensive attempt at setting up an imperium in imperio, which is certain to prove a failure. These complicated attempts at Government merely tend to impoverish an already poor and ruined country, and give the people not the slightest control over the extravagance or profligacy of their rulers. It is nothing else than a device for throwing on the shoulders of the people the expense of maintaining a lot of useless officers, such as sheriffs, gaolers, police magistrates, clerks, bailiffs--together with prisons, court-houses, &c. &c. Let the people of New Zealand demand their rights, according to Mr. Burge, and if the Government withhold them, then let them refuse to pay taxes, and have the question fairly tried before a court of law in England. It is worth their while to contribute money themselves for the purpose of trying the case of the first person whose property shall be sold by the Government for refusal to pay the taxes. This will bring the matter to issue either one way or another; it will de-
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cide whether or not British subjects lose their birthright by going to a Colony. If so, few persons will feel disposed to go to New Zealand.
The attempt of the New Zealand Company to prove to the Government that it was possessed of the Divine and Discovery right of robbing the aborigines of New Zealand is so outrageous, so inconsistent with morality, and so contrary to the first professions and pretended practice of the Company itself, that it is deserving of some notice. The self-interest of the Company appears in this case to have altogether overcome its humanity, and sense of right and wrong. The Agents and Shareholders of the Company have striven hard to force the Government of this country to resume the old buccaneering system of Spain, and for no other reason than because they themselves have duped a number of our countrymen by sending them to New Zealand to occupy lands never purchased by their Agent. That, and that alone, is the reason of the change in the views of the New Zealand Company. The right which they contend for is not, however, in existence; it is a right that never did exist. It has its origin in the falsehood and impudent pretensions of ancient priestcraft. The Pope of Rome, who pretended to be the Vicegerent of Christ, and who claimed for his Master all the kingdoms of the earth, did certainly, during the dark ages of the world, claim, by virtue of his office, a right to the whole earth. A portion of that right he preposterously yielded to Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, whose agents availed themselves of it for the perpetration of every species of violence and robbery on the Continent and Islands of America. But what has Protestant England, or any other nation of Europe, to do with the infamous falsehoods of an old Romish Pop2? Does that justify them in perpetrating such a
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daylight robbery as seizing upon the lands of the aborigines of New Zealand, or any other people whom they may choose to call uncivilised? The New Zealand Company cannot even produce a Bull from the Pope of Rome himself, conferring upon them or the Government of England the lands and properties of the inhabitants of New Zealand. The King and Queen of Spain had even a better pretence for robbery and killing the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians, than they have for plundering the New Zealanders. The morality and Christianity of England have indeed become very scarce, when such a question would be deliberately debated in her National Assembly--and not only debated, but actually recommended to the Government by a Select Committee of the House of Commons. What an example to set before the other nations of Europe, especially France, which is now rioting and intoxicated with the blood of the victims of Africa and the innocent inhabitants of Tahiti!! Let the aristocracy of England, however, beware how they enlighten the people on the rights of property. It is quite possible that their own doctrines in reference to the lands of the aborigines of New Zealand may be, some of these days, brought to bear upon their own landed possessions. There are waste and unoccupied lands in England as well as New Zealand, and the question may be asked, why these lands should be left waste and uncultivated, while there are thousands and tens of thousands who are perishing from want simply because they cannot obtain ground sufficient to grow the necessaries of life? The right which is claimed against the native chiefs of New Zealand and their possessions might with equal justice be urged against the aristocracy of England, and their parks and pleasure-grounds. It is nothing else than the right of the man who has not,
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to take from him who has--the plea on which the robber and thief might excuse themselves for the commission of robbery and theft.
The disputes between the New Zealand Company and the Government maybe complicate and difficult to adjust; but that is no reason for a national outrage of the principles of humanity. If Lord John Russell enter into an unauthorised agreement with the New Zealand Company, --if, as they assert, he guaranteed them the possession of certain lands before he knew that they had fairly purchased them, --that is surely a lame excuse for a national robbery. The claims of the New Zealand Company upon this country do not depend upon the conduct of Lord John Russell, or any other Minister of the Crown. It is in vain for them to urge an agreement with Lord John Russell as a claim against the country. The case of the New Zealand Company is a very simple one, and may be easily understood if divested of the mass of useless paper in which it has been enshrouded by Mr. Buller and Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield. The New Zealand Company, or their Agent, in common with many other British subjects, purchased, or alleged to have purchased, lands in New Zealand when it was an independent Colony. After these purchases were made, the Government of England, for certain purposes, deemed it advisable to obtain possession of New Zealand as a Colony. After New Zealand was so obtained, it was still further deemed necessary to institute an inquiry into the titles of parties holding or claiming lands in New Zealand, with the view of ascertaining how far they had fairly become possessed of them. An Act professing this for its object was passed by the Legislative Council of New South Wales (New Zealand being at the time a dependency of that Colony). That Act laid down
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certain principles and certain rules for the guidance of the Commissioners appointed to investigate the claims. One of these principles was, that the Crown had an absolute right to all lands purchased by all British subjects from the inhabitants of New Zealand (no exception being made in favour of the Company). The Commissioners were, however, authorised to recommend grants of certain portions of these lands in favour of the purchasers, in every case proportioned to the amount of money paid to the natives. The remainder of the lands were, as a matter of course, declared to be vested in the Crown.
All the private settlers were dealt with by this rule, and the New Zealand Company were in precisely the same position, excepting that in their case, as being a colonising body, it was deemed politic to grant them a charter, the terms and conditions of which were, however, little different from those of the private settlers, and by no means relieving them from the necessity of proving their title to the land claimed by them: in fact, a special Commissioner, Mr. Spain, was appointed by the Home Government to investigate their claims. The agreement of Lord John Russell, so far from presupposing that the New Zealand Company were to be placed on a different footing, as respected the necessity of proving a primary purchase, actually required that any lands "assigned to them should be taken in that part of the Colony to which they had laid claim, in virtue of contract made by them with the natives, or others, antecedently to the arrival of Captain Hobson." It was precisely the same as the assurance made to the other settlers--"that they would not be dispossessed of any lands equitably purchased from the aborigines." The same assurance which encouraged the private settlers to continue the occupation and cultivation of their lands,
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was intended, in a similar manner, and to the same extent, to encourage the New Zealand Company to continue their colonising operations. They, in the first place, assured Lord John Russell that they had fairly purchased certain tracts of country. On the faith of that assurance, Lord John Russell, as the Minister of the Crown, agreed that for the amount expended by them "on the purchase of lands in New Zealand from the natives, chiefs, and others-- in the taking up, chartering, and despatching ships for the conveyance of emigrants thither," &c. &c, they "shall be secured by a grant from the Crown to them, under the public seal of the Colony, of as many acres of land as shall be equal to four times the number of pounds sterling which they shall be found to have expended in the manner and for the purposes above mentioned." To show still more clearly that this arrangement was made on the faith of a primary purchase having been made by the Company, the eleventh clause of the agreement asserts the same right on the part of the Crown as was claimed in the case of the private settlers: ---"The Company forego and disclaim all title, or pretence of title, to any lands purchased or acquired by them in New Zealand, other than the lands so to be granted," &c. Can it for a moment be supposed, whatever Lord John Russell may say now to suit party purposes, that he intended by that agreement to give to the New Zealand Company any lands that he did not believe them to have previously fairly purchased? Had he not presumed that the New Zealand Company had fairly purchased these lands, is it not reasonable to think that he would either have restricted the Governor to purchase for them the lands in question, or to seize upon them in accordance with the new doctrines? He neither did the one nor the other:
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but he actually, and almost immediately, sent out a Commissioner from England to see that these lands had been fairly purchased previously to the issuing of Crown grants in favour of the Company. And so well aware was the New Zealand Company itself of the understanding on which that agreement was made, that their Agent actually appeared before the Commissioner and attempted to prove the purchase from the aborigines; and it was not until he had completely failed in that attempt, that he bethought him, with his usual happy ingenuity, of claiming the land irrespective of a primary purchase from the natives. The fact of the New Zealand Government itself, at the very time when that agreement was entered into, being in the habit of purchasing waste and unoccupied lands from the natives with the knowledge and approbation of Lord John Russell, would still farther show that His Lordship had not then embraced the new views regarding the rights of what are called civilised nations, to seize upon and to occupy the lands of the inhabitants of uncivilised countries. Lord John Russell, in his instructions to his own officers, directs them, on the contrary, to obtain for the Government lands by equal and fair contracts with the aborigines. If, on the other hand, he had assumed that the New Zealand Company had no claim by purchase to the lands for which he proposed giving them Crown grants, and if he did not then believe in the right of the Crown to seize upon these and all other lands of the aborigines, the only other course left to him was that of instructing the Local Government to enter into arrangements with the native owners for the lands in question. Had he intended so to act, and did he believe that he was committing the country by the agreement he had made, he would doubt-
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less have applied to Parliament for a sum of money to carry out the arrangements by the purchase of the said lands from the aborigines; but he neither did the one nor the other, and it is therefore quite fair to believe that both he and the New Zealand Company thought, at the time they had made the arrangement, that the land had been fairly purchased. How could they by possibility be of a contrary opinion, when even the Agent of the Company, after he was aware of the arrangement entered into with Lord John Russell, writes to Governor Hobson to the following effect, in a letter dated August 24, 1841: -- "It is presumed in the arrangement, that the Company has acquired a valid title from the natives to a very large territory on both sides of Cook's Straits." Further, the Agent requests "that an extension of time should be awarded to the Company for the selection of their lands, until the Commission has decided on their titles." He even still further provides and proposes "that if any part of the said lands shall, upon due inquiry, be found not to have been validly purchased from them before the date of the alleged purchase by the New Zealand Company, full compensation shall be made to the natives, or the previous purchaser, as the case may be, by the New Zealand Company." Why should full compensation be made to the natives by the New Zealand Company, if the Crown and the country were bound by Lord John Russell's agreements and Mr. Pennington's award (a mere arithmetical calculation of the amount of money expended) to give unconditional grants to those lands? The Court of Directors, in a letter dated April 30, 1842, "entirely approves and commends" the conduct of the Agent in "the important negotiations with the Governor;" and "with reference to the claims of the natives alleged to be unextin-
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guished, the Directors, feeling the importance of placing the Company's title to all lands within its settlements above all doubt or question, authorise their Agent "to take such steps to that end as" he "may deem most advisable," and "for that purpose" "they place at" his "disposal the sum of £500 and 1,000 acres of land."
These were the views of the Agent and Directors of the New Zealand Company before the claims to land were investigated by the Commissioner. Their ideas, however, changed when the Commissioner made the following declaration regarding Port Nicholson, the first and most important of their purchases: --"After I had examined all the natives I could find who had been parties to the conveyance to the Company, and having given it my best consideration, I came to the conclusion that if I proceeded to make my final report, it must have been most unfavourable generally to the Company's title, and left it, or rather its purchasers, in possession of a very inconsiderable portion of the district." So well aware was the Agent of the Company of the invalidity of his claims, that the Commissioner says he actually proposed that he should make his "report without resorting to the tedious mode of examining native witnesses," but simply holding a kororo, or general talk, with some of the natives of the district. The Commissioner naturally, and perhaps justly, accounts for the mistakes committed by the Company's Agent because "of the limited extent of information in the possession of the Agent of the Company, at the time of his arrival, as to the native custom in selling land." Every person who has purchased land in New Zealand must concur in the opinion that it requires much time and labour to discover the real owners of even a very limited quantity of land. How, then, can it be supposed that Colonel Wakefield, in
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less than three months, could have effected the purchase of the immense tracts which he claimed? It is well known that he had never even visited same of the districts which he reported to the Directors he had purchased on behalf of the Company. But whatever loss the blunders or mistakes of their Agent may have entailed upon the New Zealand Company, and however numerous the parties may be who have suffered through the unjustifiable conduct of that Company in selling lands that they never purchased, there is still no reason whatever why this country or this Government should be called upon either to violate a national contract, or to advance a large sum of money, in order to put the New Zealand Company in possession of lands which they should have fairly purchased before they sold them. The claim of the Company against the Government is not one whit stronger than that of any other private settler in New Zealand; and which of them, if he had failed, like the Company, in proving his title, would have ventured to claim compensation from the House of Commons for his own folly or misdeeds? Why, then, should the New Zealand Company do so? Very shame, because of the numerous and highly-respectable persons whom they have ruined by their proceedings, should have prevented them--if they had any--from appearing so frequently before a British public. Lord Stanley, if he has any regard for the welfare of the inhabitants of the Colonies over which he presides, should immediately, by way of warning and example to others, institute an inquiry into the conduct of the New Zealand Company towards their settlers, and, by the sad disclosures which must inevitably follow such a just proceeding, overwhelm them in that flood of public indignation which they now so ingeniously attempt to direct towards himself.
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Before concluding these remarks, it may be right to notice some of the aspersions which the friends and supporters of the New Zealand Company have attempted to cast on the Missionaries, and Church Missionaries of New Zealand in particular. The Missionaries of New Zealand are accused, among various other crimes, of exercising the most extraordinary political influence over the Government of the Colony. A charge more unfounded than this could not by possibility be preferred. To my certain knowledge, the Missionaries and Church Missionaries exercise no political influence whatever in New Zealand. With the exception of their unfortunate interference with the natives in persuading some of them to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, they have in no other respect taken any part, or exercised the slightest influence over the politics of the Colony. That, and that alone, is the only part of the political conduct of the Missionaries which is deserving of censure. They would, however, be very wrong if they shut their eyes to any attempts made by the New Zealand Company, or any other parties, to inflict injury upon the objects of their long and special care. They may have complained because the New Zealand Company attempted to seize upon and to occupy lands not fairly purchased from the aborigines; as the friends and guardians of the natives, it was their duty to do so; and that is, most likely, the cause of the great enmity of the New Zealand Company towards them. The Missionaries are accused, not of neglecting the natives, but of exercising too much watchfulness over their interests. It is doubtless rather inconvenient to certain parties that they should have done so; but does it not subject the parties complaining to the imputation of not having themselves altogether acted fairly in all their transactions with the aborigines? Why do not
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the other purchasers of land in New Zealand complain of the conduct of the Missionaries? Have they not the powers of perception as well as the Agents of the New Zealand Company? Besides the crime of attending to the interests of the natives, the Church Missionaries in particular are still further charged with the offence of not neglecting the interests of themselves and their families. They are accused of having made very extensive purchases of land from the aborigines. That they made rather extensive purchases of land from the aborigines, no person can deny; but I, for my part, can see no greater crime in a New Zealand Missionary attempting to provide for his family in the only way which was open for him to do so, than in a Clergyman of the Church of England, or any other church, doing the same thing at home. Why should a Missionary be supposed to be divested of all regard for his family, and of every anxiety to promote their interests? What other provision could a New Zealand Missionary make for his son, but that of establishing him on a farm in the country where he was born and brought up? I must say, the charge of land-jobbing comes with rather a bad grace from the New Zealand Company, which has itself so closely followed the example of the Missionaries-- with, perhaps, the simple difference, that the Missionaries invariably paid, and paid well, for their lands, and that the New Zealand Company seek to obtain them without any payment.
Let the Missionaries be all looked after, and blamed. where blame is justly due; but let them not be unfairly charged with sins which they have not committed. The New Zealand Company unfairly connect the Missionaries with the department of Protectors of Aborigines, established and maintained by Government: but although
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the Chief of that department, Mr. Clarke, was at one time a Missionary of the Church of England, it does not fairly follow that the Missionaries are still responsible for Mr. Clarke's conduct. Then why should they be made parties to every quarrel that the Company may have with Mr. Clarke and his establishment?