§ LORD LYTTELTON
, in rising to ask the intention of Her Majesty's Government with respect to a loan for which the New Zealand Government had requested the guarantee of this country, and to call the attention of the House to the present state of the Native question in New Zealand, said, that he should also include in his Motion a question upon the Suppression of Rebellion Bill, an important Act which had been passed by the New Zealeand Legislature. He believed that it could not be said that since he brought the latter subject before the House a year ago, or since it was introduced three years ago by his noble Friend on the cross-benches (Earl Grey), just before Governor Sir George Grey had undertaken the management of the colony for the second time, any improvement had taken place in the condition of the Native population of New Zealand. So far from that being the case, the Natives had, on the contrary, deteriorated, numerically, socially, and religiously. It was to be very much doubted if they were half as numerous at the present time as they were some years ago, or if their number now exceeded 50,000, and this, too, had occurred in spite of the cessation of internal warfare. In a blue-book published on the affairs of New Zealand, he found the following description of the social state of the Native population by Mr. Gorst, then resident among the Waikato Tribes: —Persons long resident in this district inform me that the Natives have steadily grown poorer since the 'King movement' commenced. However this may be, the fact and the cause of their present poverty are plain enough. A great many of the European traders have either left the district or ceased to trade; those who remain are unanimous in declaring that for £100 they took formerly they do not take £10 now. The Natives in this neighbourhood, once the greatest wheat-growing district in the Waikato, are now planting scarcely any wheat; they have sold nearly all their horses and cattle, and most of their pigs; their houses have fallen into ruin; their clothes are ragged; their mills, ploughs, and thrashing machines are left to go to decay, while the owners are travelling about to 'huis' and 'tangis,' or spending their days in sitting watching a boundary line that they may pounce upon stray cattle. In the coming winter there will probably be serious scarcity of food. At Peria, in November last, William Thompson and his tribe were living exclusively on fern root; they are the most generous and hospitable of Natives, but at that time they had not a pig or a potato either for themselves or their guests;Archdeacon Hare had said forty years ago 781 that it was possible at some far distant time that the proudest memorial of this country might be found in the Christian empire of New Zealand, and since that time greater success had in that country attended missionary efforts than in probably any other part of our dominions. But now, he regretted to find that in a letter published in The Times not long ago, Bishop Selwyn had stated that the Natives were decaying both in morality and religion His noble Friend upon the cross-benches (Earl Grey) when he brought forward this subject upon a former occasion made two recommendations. One of those recommendations was to take back the power of control over native affairs from the Colonists into the hands of the Crown. The noble Lord (Lord Lyveden) opposed that proposition, which indeed he (Lord Lyttelton) did not think would have been justified by the circumstances of the case; nor did he believe that his noble Friend would now venture seriously to propose such a course. Whatever misfortunes had occurred, they were not owing, he believed, to the establishment of a constitutional Government in New Zealand. And it was at all events impossible that such a course could be adopted; there was no instance where self-government once conferred upon a colony had been taken away. The other suggestion of his noble Friend was adopted, and Sir George Grey, who had distinguished himself as a colonial Governor in South Australia and New Zealand, had been again sent to New Zealand as Governor. For his own part he had never been able to participate in the sanguine hopes entertained as to the results of that appointment, and certainly not much had been done as yet to justify the expectation. A mere change of Government in itself produced a bad effect upon the minds of the Natives, as anything like vacillation or hesitation excited an unsatisfactory state of feeling among them. It was true that it was hard to say what more than he had done, Sir George Grey could do, but even the noble Earl must admit that as yet but little benefit had accrued from the change of Governors. Indeed, as to the proximate cause of the last war, Sir George Grey had admitted that it must be traced to an error of his own, and if the Governor had restored to the Natives some land which had been taken from them, simultaneously with the re-occupation of some land of ours, it was very possible that 782 the war would have been for a time averted. But he did not blame the Government for that not having been done, because whatever might have been the cause of the war, it was impossible in the then excited state of the Native mind that an outbreak could long have been delayed. With respect to the manner in which the war had been carried on he should not trouble the House with many remarks, as he believed that upon the whole the war had been conducted in a proper spirit. He had some doubts about the propriety of some proceedings, especially as to the eviction from some villages near Auckland of a number of infirm and aged Natives; but there was at the time a feeling of alarm for the safety of Auckland which explained that proceeding. The cause of the war was very simple. We had not governed the Natives in any way as we were solemnly bound to do. It was said that the Natives now in arms against us were rebels; and no doubt they were so— but the term rebel must be applied to them with considerable leniency. The chiefs of New Zealand were originally independent. If the Treaty of Waitangi had been signed by a majority of the chiefs of the Northern Island the opposition of the minority could have been passed over; but of the great tribe of the Waikatos hardly one chief signed the treaty. What we had undertaken to do for the Natives was briefly stated by Sir William Martin—It is plain that the framers of the treaty desired to bring all the Natives into the position of subjects of the Crown; but it is not to be conceived that they contemplated the introduction at once among the New Zealanders of the minute and technical terms of English law; they regarded only the substance of the law—the substantial fruits of settled Government—legal protection for life, legal protection for property.That we had not given them. The papers before the House proved that Governor Browne, too much supported in that view by the Home Government, took no cognizance of local disputes or quarrels among the Natives themselves. We had destroyed the kind of local administration which they had possessed, and we had given them nothing in its place. What was chiefly wanted was a good system of police. Unless there was an efficient system of police to administer the law, whatever the law might be it would be ineffectual. With reference to the Colonial Department at home, the papers before the House contained a despatch from the noble Duke who lately held the seals of the 783 Colonial Office—and he could not mention his name without expressing the regret which every Member of their Lordships' House felt for, he feared, the more than temporary loss which the public service of the country had sustained in him. No one could be treated with more kindness and courtesy than he had received from his noble Friend, on which account he felt bound to say this. Yet he could not but regret that the long report which had been forwarded to him had been acknowledged without any suggestions whatever, contrary to his own views as stated in a recent speech, that the chief function now of the Colonial Office was to give advice. He could not help repeating the suggestion he had formerly made, that they should throw on the colony of New Zealand the cost of their wars. The present war would cost a great deal more than £1.000,000, which was to be allowed by the Government; and it was a monstrous thing that the people of a colony should be able to carry on unlimited wars in a great measure at the expense of the mother country. To the outlying settlers in the wild regions around Auckland this war was no doubt a very serious calamity; but the shopkeepers and contractors of that town, so long as they had British troops to defend them, paid for by this country, had the most direct interest in its continuance. In fact, the Commissariat expenses in Auckland were the main support of the business of that place. Adverting to the despatch which had been sent out by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State (Mr. Cardwell), he must say for himself that he thought the Government were right in promising to see the colonists through this war if they applied themselves fairly to bring it to a conclusion; but he did think that a day ought to be fixed beyond which not a single farthing of expense should be thrown on this country, for the purpose of carrying on the internal wars of New Zealand. He did not go so far as to say that we ought not to furnish them with any troops, but he was clearly of opinion that we ought not to pay for their support. With regard to the measures which had been sent home for confirmation by the Government, there was, first of all, the Suppression of the Rebellion Act. That was a very serious measure. It was unlimited in its operations, and might place under martial law even his own colony of Canterbury. He should be glad to know what notice the Govern- 784 ment had taken of that Bill, and whether they had given it their sanction. There was another Act, commonly called the Confiscation Act, under which the lands of Natives having been engaged in any act of rebellion since January 1, 1863, were to be confiscated. The Secretary of State appeared to think there were legal doubts as to the power of the colonial Parliament to pass that measure, and he should be glad to know whether that point had been settled by reference to the Law Advisers of the Crown. There were, certainly, objections to the Act, many of which were well pointed out by the Secretary of State. As to the disaffected Natives, would not the depriving them of till their lands drive them to despair? And, with regard to the friendly Natives, did not the Treaty of Waitangi give them absolute power over their own lands, declaring that no authority should interfere with their land without their consent? Besides, the project of inviting no less than 20,000 new settlers into the northern province of New Zealand was more than questionable; English emigration could not be carried on to that extent, and it was to be feared the effect would be to introduce an inferior population from Australia and elsewhere. It would also have the effect of disturbing the political proportions of the provinces, unless the seat of Government were to be removed from the northern extremity to a more central part of the colony. He confessed he should not regret if the Government had come to the determination to disallow the Confiscation Act altogether. The making of military roads through the disturbed districts, though a slower, would in the long run be as effectual a proceeding as the other measure, and would not be attended with such inconveniences. That measure, coupled after the cessation of the war with a policy of justice and fairness towards the Natives, would, he believed, give hope of a better state of things for the future. At the same time, he was not prepared to condemn what had been done by the Government; and if the present hostilities could be brought to a termination, and if the expense of future wars of that kind were thrown upon the colony of New Zealand itself, that, together with the adoption of an improved policy towards the Natives, would, he trusted, prevent the recurrence of the evils which they had lately had to deplore. He now wished to ask Her Majesty's Government, 785 What they had done with regard to the Suppression of the Rebellion Bill, and whether they thought the passing of that and the accompanying Bill was within the competence of the New Zealand Legislature? With regard to the Loan Bill, he was glad to see that the Government had not consented to the guarantee, as far as concerned the proposed confiscation.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, that the Question to which the noble Lord had called attention was one of the greatest importance, and also one of the greatest difficulty. Indeed, the best mode of conducting relations with the aborigines was one of the most difficult problems of Colonial Government, and there could be no doubt that our relations with the Natives of New Zealand were in a most unsatisfactory state. With respect to the commencement of the present war, there was no doubt that, whatever course might have then been taken, the minds of the Natives were in such a state that it would have been impossible to avert the outbreak, and that outbreak had been commenced by a violent outrage on the part of the Natives. He thought that, under the trying circumstances of the war, the government of Sir George Grey was entitled to the highest praise, and he was sure that the House would admit that, as far as the exertions both of our naval and military forces in New Zealand were concerned, nothing could have been more decisive and satisfactory, or at the same time more humane, than the manner in which the operations had been carried on. He agreed with the noble Lord to a great extent in what he had said as to calling upon the colonial community to pay the expenses resulting from their own policy, and to defray the cost of wars that were not Imperial but colonial in their character. With respect to the establishment of a European police in the Native districts, the practical difficulty arose from the anomalous position of the Native chiefs, who were undoubtedly subjects of the Queen, and yet retained some portion of their own forms of Government. Some further action on the part of the Government might be desirable, but the matter was one requiring great consideration before a decision was come to upon it. As to the formation of military roads, that was no doubt a suggestion which deserved attention. But it was quite clear that at the present moment the great thing to be desired was to put an end to the war, completely to assert our 786 authority over the Maories, and then immediately to set to work upon the adoption of a healing policy, conceived in a spirit of fairness towards the English colonists, and also of justice and forbearance towards the Natives. The noble Lord asked what course the Government had taken with regard to the Suppression of the Rebellion Bill. When the Bill reached this country it was referred to the Law Officers of the Crown, who gave their opinion that it was not ultra vires. With respect to the grant of a general amnesty, it was most undesirable to take any step which might weaken the authority of the Colonial Government, or interfere with its responsibility.
§ LORD LYVEDEN
thought the state of affairs in New Zealand was such as to justify some decisive measures. In the history of that colony, from its first administration, they had an example of every species of colonial misgovernment. It was seized in a hurried manner, and then first settled by a company, one of the most reckless and unscrupulous societies that he ever came across, whose only object was to wheedle emigrants and to seize the land of the Natives. For this purpose one of them told him they had applied for a "Bishop," as they thought it would "take." Continual wars soon arose between the settlers and the Natives; and the missionaries also acted with much indiscretion. The disputes were all about land—the only object of those who went to the colony, and the only object for the sake of which the Natives rebelled. That state of things lasted for about twenty years, when the cry arose for representative institutions and responsible government for the colonies; and these concessions could not well have been withheld from New Zealand, and having once been granted could not be withdrawn. The natural consequence of this state of things was, the Maories again broke out into rebellion. General Cameron and other officers were intrusted with the conduct of the war, and now the Colonial Legislature had passed a series of measures, one of which was the Confiscation Bill—a Bill for the Confiscation of all the lands of the rebellious Natives. The only argument used in justification of this sweeping measure was that it was no more than the Natives expected, because in their tribal disputes the conquered tribe lost its land. The whole land question was admirably stated by Sir William Martin in a paper recently presented to their Lordships. It appeared 787 that the Natives had lost all confidence in the English authorities, and no longer put faith in their promises. How were things to be set right? He was afraid that the extermination of the Natives would be the ultimate result. Such had been the case wherever the Anglo-Saxons had been brought into contact with savage races. Such had been the result in Australia, and the same result was in course of accomplishment in New Zealand, where, however, they were a more intelligent and active race; and this being so, our object should be to soften the fate of the Natives as much as possible. It could not be expected that the Natives should have any kindly feeling towards the colonists—they had dispossessed them of their land, and they would never forgive them. Their position had been well likened by Sir William Martin to that of the native Irish, and to the Native races of other conquered countries—the conquered race never forgot or forgave their conquerors, and maintained a traditional arid determined hostility towards them. His own impression was that, as matters now stood, there were only two courses open to us. One was to allow the Natives to establish a kingdom of their own in some part of New Zealand and to set aside the sovereignty of the Queen; and the other was to confiscate all the remaining land in their possession. The latter was the object of the Bill for which the Royal Assent was now sought. He approved the suggestion of the Colonial Secretary that the operation of the Act should be limited to two years; but, at the same time, he felt quite certain that it would be continued beyond that period. Some resolute action should at once be taken on the part of the Colonial Office to prevent the mother country becoming responsible for the cost of future wars. As long as the settlers imagined that the Imperial purse was open to them, they would readily engage in war with the aborigines. He trusted, therefore, that the Colonial Secretary would not carry into effect any scheme for guaranteeing a loan for the colony. The difference to the colonists of a guarantee would not be more than 1 per cent; but, on the other hand, a guarantee would induce them to believe that we intended to support and favour them in every possible way, and there would be no end to wars with the Natives. New Zealand possessed representative institutions, and it ought to defray its own charges. Further aid and encouragement from the mother country, 788 while doing no good to the Natives, but rather hastening their destruction, would eventually prove injurious to the colonists themselves.
THE EARL OF CLANCARTY
My Lords. I have listened with much interest to the speech of the noble Lord who commenced this discussion, and to what has fallen from the noble Lords that followed him, and I concur with them in deploring the state of things that now exists in New Zealand. It is plain that the policy that has been pursued towards the Natives has rendered the question of the manner in which the future Government of that colony is to be conducted one of great difficulty. I had not the advantage of hearing clearly the speech of the noble Earl the President of the Council, in consequence of the low and colloquial tone in which he addressed himself rather to the noble Lord whom he was answering than to the House; but I presume the views of the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, so ably expressed in his despatch of the 26th of April, as to the impolicy of one of the Bills sent hither for the Royal Assent, entitled the New Zealand Settlement Act, 1863, may be considered as the views of the Government upon the subject. In the objections Mr. Cardwell has pointed out as condemnatory of the policy proposed to be pursued under that Act, I most fully concur; but I regret, that in the face of those objections he should have concluded his despatch by conveying the sanction of the Government to the passing of the Bill. The Governor, Sir George Grey, is indeed recommended to act upon it with great caution and forbearance, and great confidence is placed in his judgment and discretion. But, however humanely and wisely the Act may be administered, it will, if it becomes the law of New Zealand, remain for ever as a damning record of confiscation and injustice towards the Natives. The Bill proposes among other things that neutral and even loyal men shall be dispossessed of their property, if others of the same tribe have taken up arms against the Government. Would such a proposition be tolerated for a moment in England as that an estate, held in copartnership, should be wholly confiscated, because one or more of the proprietors had been guilty of high treason? Certainly not; and yet the case is exactly analogous. What hope could we have then that the New Zealanders, whose 789 views of right and wrong are quite as clear as our own, should ever become reconciled to a Government so regardless of justice? It is, moreover, very questionable whether those that have been, and may still be, in arms against the Colonial Government, can properly he designated as rebels; they are, I believe, more correctly noticed in Mr. Cardwell's despatch as insurgents, for whatever outrages may be laid to their charge they have ever been in retaliation for wrong, they have never been the aggressors in any war; and in the present ease they have risen in insurrection against what they, with some reason, regarded as an invasion of their just rights, the tribal rights that had been secured to them. If the rights of Englishmen had been similarly assailed, our past history warrants me in saying they would have been similarly defended; and is it any wonder that a brave, though a savage nation, should take up arras in their own defence? Subjects of the Crown they could hardly be considered when, as testified by Sir William Martin, late Chief Justice of New Zealand, in his very interesting and instructive paper on the relation of the Government to the Native population, the Queen's authority has never at any time been established over them, or exercised, except for the protection of the settlers; and it is totally contrary to the principle of constitutional Government to expect that the Natives should have respect for laws passed by a Legislature in which the settlers alone are represented. The grasping and unscrupulous spirit of the New Zealand Government, so constituted, may be gathered from the Bills now sent over for approval. What hope, I would ask, can there be of ever attaching the New Zealanders to British rule, if the proposed Act for territorial confiscation be carried into effect? The consequence of it must be a perpetual conflict between the settlers and Natives until the latter are exterminated. I hope that the disgrace of sanctioning such a policy may not be incurred. If the power of England is to be exercised for the civilization and improvement of the savage races, it must ever be directed by a strict regard for justice and good faith, for thus only can a beneficial influence be established. This rule, unhappily, has not been followed, and it will be difficult to restore confidence between Natives and settlers and to repair the mischiefs of mis-government. I do not 790 say that the Islands have derived no benefits under the Sovereignty of the British Crown. Through the enterprise of the colonists many substantial improvements have been made; European seeds and animals of various kinds, and farming implements have been sent out, whereby the value of the land has been greatly enhanced and its capabilities exhibited; but all this must of necessity have increased the reluctance of the Natives to part with it. It is true also that, through the agency of English missionaries, the inestimable boon of Christianity has been extended to the New Zealander; but this has only rendered it the more incumbent on the Colonial Government, in all its relations with the Native population, to exemplify the spirit of Christianity, and not to mar a good work by wrong or injustice. The papers that have been laid upon the table, especially the admirable and candid review by Sir William Martin of our past and present relations with New Zealand, are, unhappily, a confession that the conduct of the British settlers and of the Colonial Government towards the Natives has not been such as to gain their respect, or to warrant any claim to their confidence; but they are also suggestive of a course of policy by which disaffection may be subdued, the true interests of the Colony promoted, and the Queen's subjects of different races ultimately united. Even the Legislative Assembly of New Zealand, composed as it must be of persons little fitted by education to deal with the important interests confided to them, and many of them; mere adventurers, unscrupulously eager to get possession of the lands in the hands of the Natives, yet includes some members who raised their voices against the Confiscation Act, now sent hither for the Royal Assent, Surely such men as have had the moral courage to remonstrate against the injustice and rapacity of the majority, and who, in their rejected resolutions, propounded a just and conciliatory policy, are well entitled to have their views considered by the Home Government at this important crisis in the affairs of the colony. It, in fact, depends upon the course of policy now to be determined on by Her Majesty's Government, whether the Natives of New Zealand shall have justice done to them and become incorporated with equal rights and privileges with the rest of the Queen's subjects, or whether a brave nation shall be doomed to extermination.
§ EARL GREY
said, this was a very serious and painful question. Very disastrous events had taken place in New Zealand. One of its most flourishing settlements had been ruined, an immense amount of property had been destroyed; there had been a frightful expenditure of life and treasure, and a war, which promised to become one of extermination, was now raging between the original inhabitants and the settlers. It behoved their Lordships to consider how it was that the present state of things had arisen. Ten years ago the colony was enjoying the utmost prosperity. The Native inhabitants were then contented and loyal subjects of Her Majesty; education and religion had been widely spread among them, and were daily becoming more general. They were advancing in all the arts of civilization; and the settlers were becoming more and more intimately acquainted with them. Friendly relations subsisted between the two races; and through the united exertions of both the colony was making great progress. Now, to what was it that the lamentable change that had occurred was attributable? With the view of explaining the causes of the unhappy contrast presented by the present and the former state of things, he would briefly review some of the chief events in the history of New Zealand. It had been justly said that the colonization of that country had been begun in a most irregular manner. It was notorious that the Governments of a former day were extremely anxious to prevent British subjects from settling there, but that was found to be impossible; and during the Administration of Lord Melbourne the first steps were taken for establishing our authority in those Islands. But the difficulty which had from the first existed with regard to land soon grew to be serious, and ultimately a war broke out between the settlers and the Natives. At that critical time the noble Earl behind him (the Earl of Derby), then the Secretary of State, took the wise and certainly the most successful measure of sending out Sir George Grey, then the Governor of South Australia, who with the assistance of a not very large military force suppressed the rebellion. In August, 1847, the last sparks of the insurrection were extinguished, and tranquillity was restored. It had been intended to establish representative institutions in New Zealand, and an Act of Parliament had been passed for that purpose in 1846; but Sir George Grey was of opi- 792 nion that this step had been prematurely taken, considering the excitement caused by the war, and he recommended that the proposed change in the form of government should be deferred. That advice was taken, and it was his (Earl Grey's) duty to submit to their Lordships a Bill suspending the measure for the adoption of representative government in New Zealand, which was passed in both Houses without opposition. That Bill vested considerable powers in the hands of the Governor; and it was to the fair and impartial exercise of those powers in regard both to Maories and settlers, that the happy state of the colony between 1847 and 1855 was due. The country was prosperous in almost every respect. Even the decrease of the Native population which had given rise to a good deal of anxiety ceased, and the natural increase seemed to be again beginning. Unfortunately, it was supposed that the welfare of the colony now rested on so secure a foundation that considerable changes might be made, without any danger, in the state of the Government. In 1852, by the advice of Sir George Grey, the design of conferring representative institutions on the colony was resumed, and might probably have been carried into effect with safety and advantage if the change had been made judiciously. Unfortunately, however, a clause was introduced into the Bill which virtually took the Executive power out of the hands of the Crown, by making the Superintendents, who were really Lieutenant Governors of the several provinces into which the colony was divided, elective, instead of being officers appointed by the Crown and removable by the Crown. The Governor could only act through these officers, over whom he could exercise no real control from the tenure by which they held their appointments. The Act of 1852 thus took the Executive power from the hands of the Government, and passed it to the nominees of the settlers. Even that would not, however, have been sufficient to produce the misfortunes which ensued, had it not been subsequently determined, under the Administration of Lord Aberdeen, to establish what was called a responsible Government in New Zealand, which meant that the Governor was to be controlled by Ministers who were responsible to the Colonial Legislature. In theory this form of Colonial Government might be the same as our own constitution, but it was different in practice. The Colonial Legis- 793 lature was elected by a suffrage which was almost universal, and it was to a body thus constituted that, practically, the administration of the colony was transferred. There was no possibility of constituting in a colony a branch of the Legislature possessing anything like the weight or authority of the House of Lords, nor could the Governor be placed on a level with the Sovereign in this country. Hence generally in the colonies, responsible government meant party government in the hands of a complete democracy, and with no check whatever to any conceivable abuse of their authority by the party for the time being in power. He was persuaded that in the earlier stages, at all events, of colonies, this system would not be found to work well. This opinion was confirmed by all that had occurred in Australia. But in those colonies this system of Government was, at least, free from the objection of creating a tyranny in the hands of one part of the population over the other, as the Aborigines were there so few in number and so barbarous. But in New Zealand, the Natives were a considerable majority of the population, and were fully capable of understanding the injustice done to them, and yet they were excluded from all share or participation in the government. By an interpretation of the law, which in his own belief was erroneous, the Maories were excluded from sitting in the Assembly, and also from voting in the election of Members; for it was held that land held by a Native carried with it no vote; and therefore the Natives, though some of them were very wealthy, had no votes. Some of the missionaries (if he was correctly informed), suggested that this was unjust, and that provision ought to be made for giving some share in the representation to the Natives; but that proposition was deliberately rejected. The result of this system of government was to hand over the Native population to the unchecked dominion of the white population. What could they expect from such' a system? They knew that what took place in Ireland when the Catholics were under the dominion of the Protestants was an opprobium to our history; and in New Zealand it was worse, for there the evils of allowing a minority to govern the majority were aggravated by the contemptuous feeling which Englishmen, especially those of the less educated classes, habitually entertain towards the coloured races, whom 794 they contumeliously describe as "niggers." The oppression of the inferior race was the inevitable result of what was done; and he conceived that the Government which allowed all power to be engrossed by the settlers over the Natives were responsible for the consequences which had ensued, and which were now witnessed. The papers which had been laid before Parliament contained the clearest evidence that the calamities of New Zealand were entirely due to the cause he had described. In 1854, and even so late as the beginning of 1855, the Governor represented the Natives as loyal and attached subjects of the Crown. But responsible Government came into operation in 1855, and towards the close of that year a change had already taken place. The Governor then described the Natives as becoming discontented, suspicious, and alarmed, as well they might be; for, looking at the manner in which they were governed, it was not difficult to find ample cause for distrust and alarm. In the first place, a stop was virtually put to all measures which had been contemplated for their benefit. There was no further extension of schools, or hospitals, or of those improvements which tended gradually to civilize a Native population, and to bring them under a European system of government. Moreover, the New Zealanders found that the persons in whom they confided were deprived of all situations of trust and power, and that other men, with very opposite sentiments, were put in their place. The Governor himself said, in one of his despatches, that there was among the settlers a perfect passion for land, which they were determined to obtain, by fair means, if possible, but, if not, then by foul. These sentiments were expressed by some of the colonial newspapers in terms most calculated to alarm the Maories, who were ready enough to perceive that the persons for whom these newspapers were written, and whose opinions they expressed, had become the virtual rulers of the country. Up to this time the Governor had been endeavouring gradually to extend the exercise of his authority over the Natives for the purpose of maintaining peace and order among them, and the institution of an effective police with this view had been contemplated. But after responsible Government was established, nothing more was done in this direction; and it was one of the just complaints of the Natives, that the Government made no attempt to guard 795 them from the evils of violence and wrong among themselves, and never interfered to prevent crimes, unless Europeans were murdered, or some outrage was committed against white men. Further than this, the misconduct of some European traders in their endeavours to introduce spirits was a great source of disorder. The Natives endeavoured to suppress that cause of evil, but the Ministers who held power under the system of responsible Government counteracted their efforts and prevented them from doing so. It was impossible but that this state of things should produce a very bad feeling, which, no doubt, contributed to cause what was called the "Native King movement." At first, however, there was nothing at all hostile to British rule in that movement: the object of the Natives was only to establish some means of preserving order among themselves, and to create some authority to perform those necessary functions which, so far as they were concerned, had been entirely neglected by the Colonial Government. So completely was this understoood to be the real meaning of the movement, that at first it was rather encouraged than discouraged by the Colonial Government. While things were in this condition, the Colonial Legislature and Government repealed the wholesome law passed by Sir George Grey to restrain the importation of arms and gunpowder for the Natives. Those who had the chief influence in the Assembly carried this measure for the sake of the gain to be made by the trade in arms and ammunition, and this at the very time they were provoking the Maories to war. For the measures of the new Administration soon caused again that jealousy of the Maories on the subject of land, which in the early days of the colony had been the source of so much difficulty. After the war of 1846 the policy of the Government had been successful in appeasing their fears on this subject, and so long as the Natives saw that their interests were really attended to — so long as not only the words but the acts of the Government showed that the Queen's subjects of both races were considered equally entitled to her protection—so long as the Natives were assured that the lands sold by them would be held by the Crown as trustees for the common good of both races, they parted with them without reluctance. Though there might be a difficulty in buying some particular portions of lands, which for particular reasons the Natives were unwil- 796 ling to dispose of, there was no difficulty in purchasing for almost a nominal price a far larger extent of land than the settlers could possibly occupy with any advantage to themselves. But when nothing was done for their benefit, and they were told that their land would be taken from them by force if they did not part with it willingly—when they came to regard the Government not as their protector, but as pursuing a grasping policy, and caring only for the interests of the colonists—no wonder the feelings of the Natives became changed, and the difficulties in the purchase of land increased. Then the colonial newspapers were found full of insulting expressions towards the Maories for their refusal to sell land, and they were told that, if they did not sell it, it would be taken from them by force. Angry passions were aroused on both sides; and at this point a question arose respecting the sale of a particular block of land, the validity of which was disputed. Among all well-informed and impartial persons there was an unanimous opinion that, to take forcible possession of this land would be an act of the greatest impolicy, as well as injustice;' and the present Governor has by further inquiry been so satisfied of the invalidity of the purchase made by his predecessor, that he had by formal proclamation disclaimed the purchase and abandoned the land to the Natives. Doubtful, however, as was the validity of the transaction at the time, it was determined to take forcible possession of the land. The Natives did not proceed to any act of violence, but merely remained in a state of passive resistance in occupation of the land. But, notwithstanding this, the troops were ordered out, and, before a single act of violence was committed by the Maories, a fire from Armstrong guns was opened upon the Native pahs and villages, and possession was taken of the land. Such was the beginning of the war; while the Natives cautiously abstained from the use of arms, the British authorities were the first to employ them to enforce a claim which at the time was doubtful, and has since been admitted to be bad. When we had thus broken the peace he did not deny that, in the course of the war which followed, the Maories committed many acts of unjustifiable violence. Property was destroyed, settlers were murdered, and in some few cases women and children were killed. But, considering that these people had so lately risen from the condition of mere savages, 797 that within a comparatively short period they had practised cannibalism, that their traditions pointed to wars carried on with unsparing ferocity, and considering also what provocation they had received, it was matter of surprise that the war had been carried on with so few atrocities. He feared too that on our side we were not guiltless in this matter. An article quoted from one of the New Zealand papers, The Southern Cross, described the surprise of a Native village by a party of irregular troops, who, guided by the sound of the bell which was summoning the Maories to Christian worship, crept up to the place where they were assembling, opened fire without any warning, and killed a considerable number of Natives. Great credit was taken for the fact that, though women and children were mixed up with the men, none were killed; and the spirit in which this article was written, the praise given to those who effected the surprise, for their success in inflicting so heavy a loss upon the Natives, spoke volumes as to the manner in which the war had been carried on. In the present war the British forces had been very much increased. There were 10,000 men of Her Majesty's regular army, with a force of seamen and marines landed by our ships of war, and a large number of colonial militia and volunteers, making fully 20,000 Europeans engaged in this war; while, on the other hand, the Native population had been greatly reduced. It must be admitted that, so far as could be judged from the accounts that had been published, the tactics of General Cameron seemed to have been very able, and that they had been admirably seconded by the force under his command; and by the latest advices it appeared that though the war is by no means over, the strength of the Natives had been broken. Our duty now is to consider what course we should pursue. Two courses were open for our adoption. We could either endeavour to conciliate the Maories, or we could destroy them. We could either take some step to mitigate the severity of the dominion to which the Native population was subjected, or we could leave the Natives to the unchecked control of the settlers—and we all knew how that control had been exercised. It appeared that practically the Government had determined on a policy of unmixed severity and coercion, for he could not discover that any single step had been taken to mitigate the animosity of the Natives. More than that, the New Zealand Legisla- 798 ture had passed three Acts, the very character of which afforded ample indication, if such were needed, of the manner in which the Natives were treated by the settlers. The objections to the Confiscation Act had been ably stated by the Colonial Secretary, who had pointed out the obvious injustice and impolicy of the measure; but it had not been disallowed—only a hope was expressed that Sir George Grey would see that it was carried out in as unobjectionable a manner as possible. Was it right that the Government should allow itself to become a party to such a measure, and that it should lend its soldiers and sailors to the carrying out of its provisions? Ought it not rather to disallow an act which it had pronounced to be so justly deserving of condemnation? The Government, however, preferred to sanction the measure, trusting to the Governor not to allow its provisions to be carried into effect. He maintained that such a course was not fair to Sir George Grey, because they required him to prevent the operation of the Act that had been passed by the New Zealand Legislature on the advice of his Ministers; they required him by his personal vigilance not to allow it to be put in force. They might anticipate the natural result of such a course. The very first time that Sir George Grey might decline to sanction any measure his Ministers proposed to adopt under this law, they would send in their resignation, and he would not find others to take their places. Sir George Grey would find himself absolutely powerless—a mere puppet, in fact, in their hands, for he could not by any possibility help himself. All this time the Government at home would be laying the flattering unction to their soul that they had in no way allowed themselves to become parties to the injustice contemplated by the Act. But, although they declined to assume the direct responsibility themselves, they were virtually intrusting the power to the hands of those by whom they knew it would be employed. With regard to the loan which was proposed, did anybody believe that, in the present state of affairs in New Zealand, the money could be repaid? This consideration would present itself more forcibly when they remembered that it would be employed mainly for the benefit of one portion of the colony —the northern part—to which the difficulties which had arisen were confined. In his opinion, nothing could be more improper than to encourage the colony at the present time in incurring large debts without 799 having any means whatever to discharge them. They should remember that if they allowed a policy to be pursued which would incite the remaining Maori population of New Zealand to destroy the lives and property of the settlers, as far as they possibly could—and this result he regarded as certain to ensue from the sanctioning of this Act—it would be totally impossible for them to avoid protecting the British subjects in the colony. They had already had some experience of that fact. In 1861 he brought this same question before the House, and on that occasion he ventured to use the same arguments as he had employed tonight as to the cause of the war, and the manner in which it had been carried on. He then ventured to predict that unless some more decided policy were adopted, the war would be pursued until the final extinction of the Maories had been nearly or completely effected at the cost of this country. He then recommended that the representative institutions of the colony should be suspended for a time, and that the Government should be vested in Sir George Grey, who should be authorized to treat with the Maories, in order that protection should be secured to the colonists without cruelty or injustice to the Natives. This, however, his noble Friend had declared to be impossible. He had brought forward no arguments to prove this impossibility, and against his mere assertion he (Lord Grey) would appeal to the fact that, in urgent cases, the course he had recommended had been taken by Parliament. In the case of Canada, when a time of difficulty presented itself, representative institutions were suspended, and all power was vested in the hands of the Governor. The extraordinary power vested in him was used by Lord Sydenham with such discretion, that the colony was completely tranquillized, and the Government re-organized in such a manner as to enable Parliament to restore to it representative Government under improved arrangements. He lamented that a similar course had not been followed with respect to New Zealand, for he believed that if similar powers had been intrusted to Sir George Grey a long series of misfortunes might have been prevented. It was quite certain that if the settlers of New Zealand had been made to understand that they could not expect to receive the aid of the Imperial Government unless that Government had the control of affairs, they would have raised no objection. Much of the present difficulty and mis- 800 fortune had been caused by a too ready adoption of certain plausible theories. It had been said that the colonists ought to defend themselves, and that the Imperial Government ought not to interfere with them at all. The answer to that was simply that such a course was impossible. No Government, no Parliament, could leave British subjects to be destroyed in a contest with savages, and when British settlers and Native races were placed side by side within a limited territory, it was impossible to prevent struggles between them. In such a case, where the aboriginal race was brought into opposition to a highly civilized one, they might be quite assured that the result would be that the Native race would be trodden down and cast into absolute despair, and British soldiers and sailors might be called upon to discharge a duty most repugnant to them—that of assisting in the extermination of a noble and brave people. The Governor ought to be made responsible for the administration of affairs, and he should be assisted by men who should virtually hold their offices during good behaviour, and who should not be liable to lose their places at any moment of popular caprice. He thought this question should be seriously considered by Parliament at once. If Parliament did nothing, but allowed the Acts which had been passed by the Colonial Legislature to come into force, and if British troops were allowed to remain upon a vague assurance that some time or other the burden would cease, the result would be that the Natives would be driven to desperation, and it would be impossible to withdraw our troops from the colony. He thought that Parliament had a just right to complain of the manner in which this subject had been dealt with by the Government. If Her Majesty's Government had been resolved to pursue a policy so full of danger and likely to lead to such serious consequences, it was their duty in some way or other to have submitted the question to the judgment of Parliament. The papers had only been placed in the hands of Members of that House on Saturday last, and no opportunity had been given them to consider the policy of the Government. It was not right that it should be left to an independent Member to submit a Motion in order to elicit the opinion of Parliament on so important a question. It was the duty of the Government to have consulted Parliament, and that might have been done by bringing in 801 at once the Bill which it appeared was to be proposed with a view of guaranteeing a portion of the loan to be raised for New Zealand. The question whether that Bill should be agreed to would raise the whole question of the policy of the Government. It was not reasonable that a measure of such importance should be deferred until the end of the Session. If the Bill were not brought into the House of Commons until June, it could not reach their Lordships' House until the month of July, a period when there was such a pressure of business that they would have no time properly to consider the measure. In conclusion, he would only refer to a recommendation which he had made upon a former occasion, and which had been alluded to by his noble Friend who originated the discussion—namely, that Sir George Grey should be re-appointed as Governor of New Zealand; but at the time he expressly remarked, that to send him there with the limited power with which it was proposed to invest him would be utterly useless, and he would not have the means of doing good.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock, till To-morrow half past Ten o'clock.