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The Long White Cloud by William Pember Reeves

Part 3 out of 6

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this attempt to federate man-eaters under parliamentary institutions.

The still-born constitution was Mr. Busby's proposed means of
checkmating a rival. In the words of Governor Gipps, this "silly and
unauthorized act was a paper pellet fired off" at the hero of an even
more pretentious fiasco. An adventurer of French parentage, a certain
Baron de Thierry, had proclaimed himself King of New Zealand, and
through the agency of missionary Kendall bought, or imagined he
bought--for thirty axes--40,000 acres of land from the natives. He
landed at Hokianga with a retinue of ninety-three followers. The
Maoris of the neighbourhood gravely pointed out to him a plot of three
hundred acres, which was all they would acknowledge of his purchase.
Unabashed, he established himself on a hill, and began the making of a
carriage-road which was to cross the island. Quickly it was found that
his pockets were empty. Laughed at by whites and natives alike, he
at once subsided into harmless obscurity, diversified by occasional
"proclamations," which a callous world allowed to drop unheeded.

Yet this little burlesque was destined to have its share in hastening
the appearance of England on the scene. Thierry had tried to enlist
the sympathies of the French Government. So also had another
Frenchman, Langlois, the captain of a whaling ship, who professed to
have bought 300,000 acres of land from the natives of Banks Peninsula
in the South Island. Partly owing to his exertions, a French company
called "The Nanto-Bordelaise Company" was incorporated, the object
of which was to found a French colony on the shores of the charming
harbour of Akaroa, on the land said to have been purchased by
Langlois. In this company Louis Philippe was a shareholder. In 1837,
also, the Catholic missionary Pompallier was dispatched to New Zealand
to labour among the Maoris. Such were the sea-routes of that day that
it took him some twelve months voyaging amid every kind of hardship
and discomfort to reach his journey's end. In New Zealand the fact
that he showed Thierry some consideration, and that he and his
Catholic workers in the mission-field were not always on the best
of terms with their Protestant competitors, aroused well-founded
suspicions that the French had their eye upon New Zealand. The English
missionaries were now on the horns of a dilemma. They did not want a
colony, but if there was to be annexation, the English flag would, of
course, be far preferable.

Moreover, a fresh influence had caused the plot to thicken, and was
also making for annexation. This was the appearance on the scene of
the "land-sharks"--shrewd adventurers, from Sydney and elsewhere, who
had come to the conclusion that the colonization of New Zealand was
near at hand, and were buying up preposterously large tracts of land
on all sides. Most of the purchases were either altogether fictitious,
or else were imperfect and made for absurdly low prices. Many of the
deeds of sale may be dismissed with the brief note, "no consideration
specified"! A hundred acres were bought for a farthing. Boundaries
were inserted after signature. Some land was bought several times
over. No less than eight purchasers claimed the whole or part of
Kapiti Island. The whole South Island was the subject of one professed
sale by half a dozen natives in Sydney. Certain purchased blocks were
airily defined by latitude and longitude. On the other hand, the
Maoris often played the game in quite the same spirit, selling land
which they did not own, or had no power to dispose of, again and
again. In some cases diamond cut diamond. In others both sides were
playing a part, and neither cared for the land to pass. The land-shark
wanted a claim with which to harass others; the Maori signed a
worthless document on receipt of a few goods. By 1840 it was estimated
that, outside the sweeping claim on the South Island, 26,000,000
acres, or more than a third of the area of New Zealand, was supposed
to have been gobbled up piecemeal by the land-sharks. The claims
arising out of these transactions were certain at the best to
cause confusion, ill-feeling, and trouble, and indeed did so. Some
legally-constituted authority was clearly wanted to deal with them.
Otherwise armed strife between the warlike Maoris and adventurers
claiming their lands was inevitable. Before Marsden's death in 1838
both he and his ablest lieutenant, Henry Williams, had come to see
that the only hope for the country and the natives lay in annexation
and the strong hand of England.


Chapter IX


Twin are the gates of sleep: through that of Horn,
Swift shadows winged, the shapes of truth are borne.
Fair wrought the Ivory gate gleams white anigh,
But false the dreams dark gods despatch thereby.

The founder of the Colony now comes on the scene. It was time he came.
The Islands were neither to fall into the hands of the French nor
remain the happy hunting-ground of promiscuous adventurers. But the
fate which ordained that Edward Gibbon Wakefield should save them from
these alternatives interposed in the way of the great colonizer
a series of difficulties from which any mind less untiring and
resourceful than his must have recoiled. The hour had come and the
man. Yet few bystanders could have thought either the hour propitious
or the man promising. The word colony was not in favour when William
the Fourth came to the throne. It was associated with memories of
defeat and humiliation in America, and with discontent and mutterings
of rebellion in Canada. Australia was scarcely more than an expensive
convict station. Against the West Indian planters the crusade of
Wilberforce was in full progress, and the very name of "plantation"
had an evil savour. South Africa promised little but the plentiful
race troubles, which indeed came. The timid apathy of the Colonial
Office was no more than the reflex of the dead indifference of the
nation. None but a man of genius could have breathed life into it.
Fortunately the genius appeared.

Though the name of Gibbon Wakefield will probably be remembered as
long as the history of Australia and New Zealand is read, the man
himself was, during most of his active career, under a cloud. The
abduction of an heiress--a mad freak for which he paid by imprisonment
and disgrace--deprived him of the hope of ordinary public distinction.
For many years he had to work masked--had to pour forth his views
in anonymous tracts and letters, had to make pawns of dull men
with respectable names. This and more he learned to do. He found
information and ideas for personages who had neither, and became an
adept at pulling strings and manipulating mediocrities. All things to
all men, plausible to the old, magnetic to the young, persuasive among
the intellectual, impressive to the weak-minded, Gibbon Wakefield was
always more than the mere clever, selfish schemer which many thought
him. Just as his fresh face and bluff British manner concealed the
subtle mind ever spinning webs and weaving plans, so, behind and above
all his plots and dodging, was the high dream and ideal to which
he was faithful, and which redeemed his life. He saw, and made the
commonplace people about him see, that colonization was a national
work worthy of system, attention, and the best energies of England.
The empty territories of the Empire were no longer to be treated only
as gaols for convicts, fields for negro slavery, or even as asylums
for the persecuted or refuges for the bankrupt and the social failures
of the Mother Country. To Wakefield the word "colony" conveyed
something more than a back yard into which slovenly Britain could
throw human rubbish, careless of its fate so long as it might be out
of sight.

His advocacy revived "Ships, Colonies, Commerce!" as England's
motto. But for colonies to be worthy, they must be, not fortuitous
congregations of outcasts, but orderly bands of representative British
citizens, going forth into the wilderness with some consciousness of
a high mission. From the outset his colonies were to be civilized
communities where men of culture and intellect need not find
themselves companionless exiles. Capital and labour, education and
religion, were all to work together as in the Mother Country, but
amid easier, happier surroundings. For Wakefield conceived of his
settlements not as soulless commercial outposts, but as free,
self-governing communities.

How was all this to be brought about? Whence was the money to come?
Whence the organizing power? At that point came in Wakefield's
conception of the sale of waste lands at a "sufficient price." He saw
the immense latent value of the fertile deserts of the Empire. He
grasped the full meaning of the truth that the arrival of a population
with money and industry instantly gives good land a value. His
discernment showed him the absurdity of giving colonial lands away
in indefinite areas to the first chance grabbers, and the mistake of
supposing that wage labour would not be required in young countries.
His theory, therefore, was that colonizing associations should be
formed in England--not primarily to make money; that these bodies
should hold tracts of land in the colonies as capital; that the
sale of these lands at a "sufficient price" to intending colonists,
selected for character and fitness, should provide the funds for
transporting the colony across the earth, for establishing it in
working order on its land, and for recruiting it with free labour.

The numerous _ex post facto_ assailants of Wakefield's theory usually
assume that he wished to keep labour divorced from the soil and in a
state of permanent political and industrial inferiority. That is sheer
nonsense. There are few more odd examples of the irony of fate in
colonial history than that the man who warred against the convict
system, fought the battle of colonial self-government, was ever the
enemy of the land-shark and monopolist, who denounced low wages, and
whose dream it was that the thrifty, well-paid colonial labourer could
and should develop into the prospering farmer, should be railed at in
the Colonies as the enemy of the labourer. The faults of Wakefield's
"sufficient price" theory were indeed grave enough. But compare them
with the lasting mischief wrought in New Zealand by Grey's unguarded
scheme of cheap land for everybody, and they weigh light in the
balance. Later on I shall return to Wakefield's system and its
defects. Here I have but to say that, as a temporary expedient for
overcoming at that time the initial difficulties of a colony, it ought
not to be hastily condemned. It has long ago been abandoned after
working both good and evil, and in the same way the schemes of Church
Settlement Wakefield made use of are now but interesting chapters of
colonial history. But we must not forget that these things were but
some of the dreams of Gibbon Wakefield. At the most he regarded them
as means to an end. His great dream of lifting colonization out of
disrepute, and of founding colonies which should be daughter-states
worthy of their great mother, has been no false or fleeting vision.
That dream, at any rate, came to him through the Gate of Horn and not
through the Ivory Gate.

By Wakefield it was that the Colonial Office was forced to annex New
Zealand. In the face of the causes making for annexation sketched in
the last chapter, the officials hung back to the last. In 1837 a body
of persons appeared on the scene, and opened siege before Downing
Street, whom even permanent officials could not ignore. They were
composed of men of good standing, in some cases of rank and even
personal distinction. They were not traders, but colonizers, and as
such could not be ignored, for their objects were legitimate and their
hands as clean as those of the missionaries. They first formed, in
1837, a body called "The New Zealand Association." At their head was
Mr. Francis Baring. Their more prominent members included John Lambton
Earl of Durham, Lord Petre, Mr. Charles Enderby, Mr. William Hutt, Mr.
Campbell of Islay, Mr. Ferguson of Raith, Sir George Sinclair, and Sir
William Molesworth. The Earl of Durham was an aristocratic Radical
of irregular temper, who played a great part in another colonial
theatre--Canada. Sir William Molesworth did much to aid the agitation
which put an end to the transportation of convicts to Australia. For
the rest, the Association thought the thoughts, spoke the words,
and made the moves of Gibbon Wakefield. Yet though he pervaded it
sleeplessly, its life was but an episode in his career. He fought
against the convict system with Molesworth and Rentoul of the
_Spectator_. He went to Canada as Lord Durham's secretary and adviser.
He was actively concerned in the foundation of South Australia, where
his system of high prices for land helped to bring about one of the
maddest little land "booms" in colonial history. And as these things
were not enough to occupy that daring, original, and indefatigable
spirit, he threw himself into the colonization of New Zealand. He and
his brother, Colonel Wakefield, became the brain and hand of the New
Zealand colonizers.

For years they battled against their persistent opponents the Church
Missionary Society and the officials of the Colonial Office. The
former, who hit very hard at them in controversy, managed Lord
Glenelg, then Colonial Secretary; the latter turned Minister after
Minister from friends of the colonizers into enemies. Thus Lord
Melbourne and Lord Howick had to change face in a fashion well-nigh
ludicrous. The Government offered the Association a charter provided
it would become a joint-stock company. Baring and his friends refused
this on the ground that they did not want any money-making element to
come into their body. Moreover, in those days joint-stock companies
were concerns with unlimited liability. The Association tried to get
a bill of constitution through Parliament and failed. Mr. Gladstone
spoke against it, and expressed the gloomiest apprehensions of the
fate which the Maoris must expect if their country were settled. New
Zealand, be it observed, was already a well-known name in Parliament.
The age of committees of inquiry into its affairs began in 1836. Very
interesting to us to-day is the evidence of the witnesses before the
committee of that year; nor are the proceedings of those of 1838,
1840, and 1844, less interesting. In the third of the four Gibbon
Wakefield, under examination, tells the story of the New Zealand
Association. In 1839 it became the New Zealand Land Company. Baffled
in Parliament, as already described, the colonizers changed their
ground, decided to propitiate the powers, and become a joint-stock
company. Having done so, and subscribed a capital of L100,000,
they tried to enlist the sympathies of Lord Normanby, who had just
succeeded Lord Glenelg at the Colonial Office. They found the new-made
Secretary of State very affable indeed, and departed rejoicing.
But, like many new-made ministers, Lord Normanby had spoken without
reckoning with his permanent officials. A freezing official letter,
following swiftly on the pleasant interview, dashed the hopes of
the Company. They were getting desperate. Lord Palmerston had, in
November, 1838, promised them to send a consul to New Zealand to
supersede poor Mr. Busby, but the permanent officials thwarted him,
and nothing was done for eight months. At last, in May, 1839, Gibbon
Wakefield crossed the Rubicon. As the Government persisted in treating
New Zealand as a foreign country, let the Company do the same, and
establish settlements there as in a foreign land! Since repeated
efforts to obtain the help and sanction of the English Government had
failed, let them go on unauthorized. Secretly, therefore, the ship
_Tory_, bearing Colonel Wakefield, as Agent for the Company, was
despatched in May to Cook's Straits to buy tracts of land for the
Company. He was given a free hand as to locality, though Port
Nicholson was hinted at as the likeliest port. With him went Gibbon
Wakefield's son, Jerningham Wakefield, whose book, _Adventures in New
Zealand_, is the best account we New Zealanders have of the every-day
incidents of the founding of our colony.

Arriving in August among the whalers then settled in Queen Charlotte's
Sound, Colonel Wakefield enlisted Dicky Barrett's services, and,
passing on to Port Nicholson, entered into a series of negotiations
with the Maori chiefs, which led to extensive land purchases.
Ultimately Colonel Wakefield claimed that he had bought twenty
millions of acres--nearly the whole of what are now the provincial
districts of Wellington and Taranaki, and a large slice of Nelson.
It is quite probable that he believed he had. It is certain that the
Maoris, for their part, never had the least notion of selling the
greater portion of this immense area. It is equally probable that such
chiefs as Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, who were parties to the bargain,
knew that Wakefield thought he was buying the country. Fifty-eight
chiefs in all signed the deeds of sale. Even if they understood what
they were doing, they had no right, under the Maori law and custom,
thus to alienate the heritage of their tribes. Had Colonel Wakefield's
alleged purchases been upheld the Company would have acquired
nine-tenths of the lands of no less than ten well-known tribes. The
price paid for this was goods valued at something less than L9,000.
The list of articles handed over at the Wakefield purchases is
remarkable enough to be worth quoting:--

300 red blankets.
200 muskets.
16 single-barrelled guns.
8 double-barrelled guns.
2 tierces tobacco.
15 cwt. tobacco.
148 iron pots.
6 cases soap.
15 fowling pieces.
81 kegs gunpowder.
2 casks ball cartridges.
4 kegs lead slates.
200 cartouche boxes.
60 tomahawks.
2 cases pipes.
10 gross pipes.
72 spades.
100 steel axes.
20 axes.
46 adzes.
3,200 fish-hooks.
24 bullet moulds.
1,500 flints.
276 shirts.
92 jackets.
92 trousers.
60 red nightcaps.
300 yards cotton duck.
200 yards calico.
300 yards check.
200 yards print.
480 pocket-handkerchiefs.
72 writing slates.
600 pencils.
204 looking glasses.
276 pocket knives.
204 pairs scissors.
12 pairs shoes.
12 hats.
6 lbs. beads.
12 hair umbrellas.
100 yards ribbons.
144 Jews' harps.
36 razors.
180 dressing combs.
72 hoes.
2 suits superfine clothes.
36 shaving boxes.
12 shaving brushes.
12 sticks sealing wax.
11 quires cartridge paper.
12 flushing coats.
24 combs.

The purchasing took three months. While it was going on Henry Williams
and other missionaries urged the chiefs not to sell. But with the
goods spread out before them--especially the muskets--the chiefs were
not to be stopped. The Wakefields justified the transactions on the
ground that population would rapidly make the ten per cent. of the
country reserved for the natives more valuable than the whole. Gibbon
Wakefield talked airily to the parliamentary committee next year of a
value of 30s. an acre, which, on a reserve of two million acres, would
mean three million sterling for the Maoris! Nothing can justify the
magnitude of Colonel Wakefield's claims, or the payment of fire-arms
for the land. But at the bottom of the mischief was the attempt of
the missionaries and officials at home to act as though a handful of
savages--not then more, I believe, than 65,000 in all, and rapidly
dwindling in numbers--could be allowed to keep a fertile and healthy
Archipelago larger than Great Britain. The haste, the secrecy,
the sharp practice, of the New Zealand Company were forced on the
Wakefields by the mulish obstinacy of careless or irrational people.
Their land-purchasing might have taken place legally, leisurely,
and under proper Government supervision, had missionaries been
business-like, had Downing-Street officials known what colonizing
meant, and had Lord Glenelg been fitted to be anything much more
important than an irreproachable churchwarden.

Meanwhile the Company had been advertising, writing, canvassing, and
button-holing in England, had kept a newspaper on foot, and was able
to point to powerful friends in Parliament and in London mercantile
circles. By giving scrip supposed to represent plots and farms in its
New Zealand territory, it secured numbers of settlers, many of whom
were men of worth, education, and ability. The character of the
settlers which it then and afterwards gave New Zealand may well be
held to cover a multitude of the Company's sins. Towards the end of
1839 its preparations were complete, and, without even waiting to hear
how Colonel Wakefield had fared, the first batch of its settlers were
shipped to Port Nicholson. They landed there on January 22nd, 1840,
and that is the date of the true foundation of the colony. But for
some weeks after that New Zealand remained a foreign country. Not for
longer, however. In June, 1839, the Colonial Office had at length
given way. What between the active horde of land-sharks in New Zealand
itself--what between the menace of French interference, and the
pressure at home of the New Zealand Company, the official mind could
hold out no longer. Captain Hobson, of the Royal Navy, was directed
to go to the Bay of Islands, and was armed with a dormant commission
authorizing him, after annexing all or part of New Zealand, to govern
it in the name of Her Majesty. In Sydney a royal proclamation was
issued under which New Zealand was included within the political
boundary of the colony of New South Wales. Captain Hobson was to act
as Lieutenant-Governor, with the Governor of New South Wales as his
superior officer. On January 29th, 1840, therefore, he stepped on
shore at Kororareka, and was loyally received by the Alsatians. The
history of New Zealand as a portion of the British Empire now begins.


Chapter X


I would rather be governed by Nero on the spot than by a Board of
Angels in London.--_John Robert Godley_.

Though Governor Hobson landed in January, the formal annexation of the
Colony did not take place until May. He had first to take possession;
and this could only be effectually done with the consent of the native
tribes. The northern chiefs were therefore summoned, and came to meet
the Queen's representative at Waitangi (Water of Weeping). Tents and
a platform were erected, and the question of annexation argued at
length. The French Bishop Pompallier appeared in full canonicals, and
it was found that chiefs under his influence had been well coached
to oppose the new departure. Behind the scenes, too, that worst of
beachcombers, Jacky Marmon, secretly made all the mischief he could.
On the other hand, Henry Williams, representing the Protestant
missionaries, threw his weight into the scale on the Governor's side
and acted as translator. While many of the chiefs were still doubtful,
if not hostile, Waka Nene, the most influential of the Ngapuhi tribe,
spoke strongly and eloquently for annexation. His speech gained the
day, and a treaty was drawn up and signed. By the preamble, Queen
Victoria invited the confederated and independent Chiefs of New
Zealand to concur in Articles to the following effect:--

(1) The Chiefs of New Zealand ceded to Her Majesty, absolutely
and without reservation, all their rights and powers of

(2) Her Majesty guaranteed to the Chiefs and Tribes of New
Zealand, full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their
Lands and Estates, Forests, Fisheries and other properties;
but the Chiefs yielded to Her Majesty the exclusive right of
Pre-emption over such lands as the proprietors thereof might
be disposed to alienate, at such prices as might be agreed

(3) Her Majesty gave to the natives of New Zealand all the Rights
and Privileges of British Subjects.

Nearly fifty chiefs signed the treaty there and then, and within six
months--so energetically did the missionaries and Government agents
carry it throughout the tribes--it had been signed by five hundred
and twelve. Only about one chief of first-class rank and importance
refused to sign it. This was that fine barbarian, Te Heu Heu, whose
home lay at the foot of the great volcanoes by Lake Taupo on the
plateau in the centre of the North Island. Te Heu Heu was the last of
the old heathen warriors. Singularly fair-skinned, and standing fully
six feet high, he looked what he was, a patriarch and leader of his
people. Scoffing at the White men and their religion, he defied
Governor and missionaries alike until his dramatic end, which came in
1846, when he and his village were swallowed up in a huge landslide.
At present, as he could neither be coerced nor persuaded, he was let
alone. For the rest, it may fairly be claimed that the Maori race
accepted the Treaty of Waitangi.

They had very good reason to do so. To this day they regard it as the
Magna Charta of their liberties. They were fully aware that under it
the supreme authority passed to the Queen; but they were quite able to
understand that their tribal lands were guaranteed to them. In other
words, they were recognised as the owners in fee simple of the whole
of New Zealand. As one of them afterwards expressed it, "The shadow
passes to the Queen, the substance stays with us."

At the same time Governor Hobson had announced to the white settlers
by proclamation that the Government would not recognise the validity
of any of their land titles not given under the Queen's authority. It
is not easy to see how else he could have dealt with the land-sharks,
of whom there had been an ugly rush from Sydney on the news of the
coming annexation, and most of whom as promptly retreated on finding
the proclamation to be a reality. But at the same time his treaty and
his proclamation were bound to paralyse settlement, to exasperate the
entire white population, and to plunge the infant colony into a sea
of troubles. Outside the missionaries and the officials every one was
uneasy and alarmed. All the settlers were either landowners, land
claimants, or would-be land purchasers. Yet they found themselves at
one and the same time left without titles to all that they thought
they possessed, and debarred from the right of buying anything more
except from the Crown. And as the Governor was without funds, and
the Crown, therefore, could not buy from the natives, there was a
deadlock. Space will not admit here of a full discussion of the vexed
question of the land clause in the Treaty of Waitangi. As a rule
civilized nations do not recognise the right of scattered handfuls of
barbarians to the ownership of immense tracts of soil, only a fraction
of which they cultivate or use. However, from the noblest and most
philanthropic motives an exception to this rule was made in the case
of New Zealand, and by treaty some sixty to seventy thousand Maoris
were given a title guaranteed by England--the best title in the
world--to some sixty-six million acres of valuable land. Putting aside
the question of equity, it may be observed that, had not this been
done, the Maoris, advised by the missionaries, would certainly have
refused their assent to the Treaty. The millions sterling which have
had to be spent in New Zealand, directly and indirectly, in acquiring
Maori land for settlement, supply of course no argument whatever
against the equity of the Treaty. When honour is in the scale, it
outweighs money. Yet had Captain Hobson been able to conceive what
was entailed in the piecemeal purchase of a country held under tribal
ownership, it is difficult to think that he would have signed the
Treaty without hesitation. He could not, of course, imagine that he
was giving legal force to a system under which the buying of a block
of land would involve years of bargaining even when a majority of its
owners wished to sell; that the ascertainment of a title would mean
tedious and costly examination by courts of experts of a labyrinth of
strange and conflicting barbaric customs; that land might be paid for
again and again, and yet be declared unsold; that an almost empty
wilderness might be bought first from its handful of occupants, then
from the conquerors who had laid it waste, and yet after all be
reclaimed by returned slaves or fugitives who had quitted it years
before, and who had been paid for the land on which they had been
living during their absence. Governor Hobson could not foresee that
cases would occur in which the whole purchase money of broad lands
would be swallowed up in the costs of sale, or that a greedy tribe of
expert middlemen would in days to come bleed Maori and settler alike.
Yet it would have been but reasonable for the Colonial Office to exert
itself to palliate the effects of the staggering blows it thus dealt
the pioneer colonists of New Zealand. They were not all land-sharks;
most of them were nothing of the sort. It was but natural that they
felt with extreme bitterness that the Queen's Government only appeared
on the scene as the friend and protector of the aborigines. For
the Whites the Government had for years little but suspicion and

It would have been only just and statesmanlike if the recognition of
Maori ownership had been accompanied by a vigorous policy of native
land purchase by the authorities. But it was not. Captain Hobson was
only scantily supplied with money--he had L60,000 sent him in three
years--and did not himself appear to recognise the paramount need for
endowing the Colony with waste land for settlement. He is said to have
held that there need be no hurry in the matter inasmuch as the steady
decrease of the Maoris would of itself solve the problem. Nearly
sixty years have passed since then, and the Maori race is by no means
extinct. But Captain Hobson, though a conscientious and gallant man,
was no more imbued with the colonizing spirit than might be expected
of any honest English naval officer. Of such money as he had he wasted
L15,000 at the outset in buying a site for a town in the Bay of
Islands on a spot which he quickly had to abandon. Moreover, he was
just what a man in his irksome and difficult position should not have
been--an invalid. Within a few weeks after the signing of the Treaty
of Waitangi he was stricken with paralysis. Instead of being relieved
he was left to be worried slowly to death at his post. To have met
the really great difficulties and the combination of petty annoyances
which beset him, the new governor should have had the best of health
and spirits. The complications around him grew daily more entangled.
In the North the excellent settlers, who with their children were to
make the province of Auckland what it is, were scarcely even beginning
to arrive. The Whites of his day there were what tradesmen call a
job lot. There were the old Alsatian; the new speculator; genuine
colonists, _rari nantes_; a coterie of officials; and the
missionaries, regarding all with distrust. The whole barely numbered
two thousand. Confronting the Whites were the native tribes, who, if
united and irritated, could have swept all before them. Hobson, a man
accustomed to command rather than to manage, was instructed to control
the Maoris by moral suasion. He was to respect their institutions
and customs when these were consistent with humanity and decency,
otherwise not. How in the last resort he was to stamp out inhuman
and indecent customs was left unexplained, though he asked for an
explanation. Certainly not by force; for it would have been flattery
to apply such a term to the tiny handful of armed men at his back.
Troops were not sent until the war of 1844. During the five years
after that the defence of New Zealand probably cost the Imperial
Government a round million, the result of the starving policy of the
first five years.

[Illustration: VIEW OF NELSON


Moreover, for the reasons already sketched, the English in New Zealand
formed a house divided against itself. The differences in the north
between Maoris' officials, Alsatians of the old school, and settlers
of the new, were sufficient to supply the Governor with a daily dish
of annoyance. But the main colony of New Zealand was not in the north
round Governor Hobson, but in Cook's Straits. There was to be found
the large and daily increasing antagonistic element being brought in
by the New Zealand Company. With an energy quite unchecked by any
knowledge of the real condition of New Zealand, the directors of the
Company in London kept on sending out ship-load after ship-load of
emigrants to the districts around Cook's Straits. The centre of their
operations was Port Nicholson, but bodies of their settlers were
planted at Wanganui, at the mouth of the fine river described in
the first chapter; at New Plymouth, hard by the Sugar-Loaves, in
devastated almost empty Taranaki; and at pleasant but circumscribed
Nelson in the South Island. Soon these numbered five times as many
Whites as could be mustered in the north. Upon them at the very outset
came the thunderbolt of Governor Hobson's proclamation refusing
recognition to their land purchases. Of this and of the land clause
in the Treaty of Waitangi the natives were made fully aware by the
missionaries. Rauparaha, before told of and still the most influential
chief near Cook's Straits, was exactly the man to take advantage of
the situation. He had taken the muskets and gunpowder of the Company,
and was now only too pleased to refuse them the price they thought to
receive. It was, as already said, impossible to justify all, or nearly
all, of Colonel Wakefield's gigantic purchase. But it was certainly
incumbent on the Government to find a _modus vivendi_ with the
least possible delay. On the one hand they had thousands of decent,
intelligent English colonists newly landed in a savage country, and
not in any way responsible for the Company's haste and ignorance. The
settlers at any rate had paid ample value for their land. They had
given L1 for each acre of it. Angry as the English Government had been
with the New Zealand Company for the defiant dispatch of its settlers,
Lord John Russell had instructed Hobson's superior, Sir George Gibbs,
that the emigrants should be regarded with kindness and consideration.
On the other side were the native tribes, who, as the price of land
went in those days, had certainly received the equivalent for a
considerable territory. There was room for an equitable arrangement
just as there was most pressing need for promptitude. Speed was the
first thing needful, also the second, and the third. Instead of speed
the settlers got a Royal Commission. A Commissioner was appointed, who
did not arrive until two years after the Governor, and whose final
award was not given for many months more. When he did give it, he cut
down the Company's purchase of twenty million acres to two hundred and
eighty-three thousand. As for land-claims of private persons, many of
them became the subjects of litigation and petition, and some were not
settled for twenty years. Why three or four Commissioners were not
sent instead of one, and sent sooner, the official mind alone knows.
Meantime, the weary months dragged on, and the unfortunate settlers of
the Company were either not put in possession of their land at all, or
had as little security for their farms as for their lives. They
were not allowed to form volunteer corps, though living in face of
ferocious and well-armed savages. Yet the Governor who forbade them
to take means to defend themselves had not the troops with which to
defend them. To show the state of the country it may be noted that
the two tribes from whom Colonel Wakefield bought the land round
Port Nicholson quarrelled amongst themselves over the sale. The
Ngatiraukawa treacherously attacked the Ngatiawa, were soundly beaten,
and lost seventy men. At first, it is true, settlers and natives got
on excellently well together. The new-comers had money, and were good
customers. But as time went on, and the settlers exhausted their funds
and hopes, they ceased to be able to buy freely. And when they found
the Maoris refusing to admit them to the farms for which they had paid
L1 an acre in London, feeling grew more and more acute. The Company's
settlement at Port Nicholson was perversely planted just on that place
in the inner harbour which is exposed to the force of the ocean. It
had to be shifted to a more sheltered spot, and this the natives
denied they ever sold. That was but one of a series of disputes which
led to murder and petty warfare, and were hardly at an end seven
years later. The settlers, though shut out of the back country, did,
however, hold the townland on which they had squatted, and which is
now the site of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Cooped up in their narrow plots by the sea, Colonel Wakefield and his
settlers established a provisional Government. Captain Hobson,
hearing probably some very exaggerated account of this, sent down his
Lieutenant, Mr. Willoughby Shortland, in a Government vessel, with
sailors and marines, to put down this act of insubordination. Mr.
Shortland, who suffered from the not uncommon failing of a desire to
magnify his office made the process as ridiculous as possible. He
began by stealthily sending a scout on shore at daybreak to haul down
the Company's flag in Wellington and hoist the Union Jack instead.
Then he landed amongst the settlers, who had gathered to welcome him,
in the fashion of a royal commander sent to suppress a rebellion.
The settlers consoled themselves by laughing at him. Apart from one
circular visit occupying two months, Captain Hobson himself kept
sedulously away from the southern settlements, and stayed in the
north, then a longer journey away from Wellington than Australia is
now. Under the rather high-sounding title of Chief Protector of
the Aborigines, Mr. Clarke, a missionary, was appointed to be the
Governor's adviser on native matters; yet Mr. Clarke, the settlers
complained, was a larger land claimant than any of themselves. It
is not to be wondered at if a feeling grew up among the New Zealand
settlers directed against both officials and missionaries, which at
times intensified to great bitterness, and which took many years to
die down. Even now its faint relics may be observed in a vague feeling
of dislike and contempt for the Colonial Office.

The New Zealand Company, however, cannot be acquitted of blame in more
respects than one. The foundation of the Wakefield theory rested on a
secure supply of useful land. This not available, the bottom dropped
out of the whole scheme. When in New Zealand the Company's estate was
put into chancery, the Wakefield system could not, of course, work.
Not only were the Company's purchases such as could not be sustained,
not only did the directors hurry out thousands of settlers without
proper knowledge or consideration, but they also committed a capital
error in their choice of localities for settlements. Wellington, with
its central position and magnificent harbour, is undeniably the key
of New Zealand. It was in after years very properly made the seat of
government, and is always likely to remain so. But it was an almost
criminal error on the part of the Company to plump down its settlers
in districts that were occupied and certain to be stubbornly held by
warlike natives. Nearly the whole of the South Island had no human
occupants. Shut off by the Kaikoura mountains from the more dangerous
tribes, the east and south-east of that island lay open to the first
comer. Moreover, the country there was not only fertile, but in
large part treeless, and therefore singularly suited for rapid and
profitable settlement. It is quite easy to see now that had the New
Zealand Company begun its first operations there, a host of failures
and troubles would have been avoided. The settlement of the North
Island should not have been begun until after an understanding had
been come to with the Imperial authorities and missionaries, and on a
proper and legal system of land purchase. This and other things the
Company might have found out if it had taken early steps to do so. The
truth is that the first occupation of New Zealand was rushed, and,
like everything else that is done in a hurry, it was in part done very

So little was known or thought of the South Island that sovereignty
was not proclaimed over it until four months after the Governor's
arrival in the north, and even then the royal flag was not hoisted
there. The consequence was a narrow escape from an attempt by the
French to plant a colony at Akaroa in Banks Peninsula. The French
frigate _L'Aube_ put in at the Bay of Islands in July, 1840, bound for
the south. Her captain, hospitably entertained by Hobson, let fall
some incautious words about the object of his voyage. Hobson took the
alarm, and promptly dispatched the _Britomart_ to hoist the English
flag at Akaroa. Thanks to bad weather, the _Britomart_ only reached
the threatened port a few days before the Frenchmen. Then it was found
that an emigrant ship, with a number of French settlers, was coming
with all the constituent parts of a small colony. The captain of
_L'Aube_, finding himself forestalled, good-humouredly made the best
of it. A number of the immigrants did indeed land. Some of them were
afterwards taken away to the Marquesas Islands in the South Seas:
others remained permanently settled at Akaroa. There around a bay,
still called French Bay, they planted vineyards and built cottages in
a fashion having some pathetic reminiscences of rural France. There
they used to be visited from time to time by French men-of-war; but
they gave no trouble to any one, and their children, by removal or
intermarriage, became blended with the English population which in
later days surrounded them.

Captain Hobson had to choose a capital. After throwing away much good
money at Russell in the Bay of Islands, he saw that he must come
further south. A broader-minded man might have gone at once to
Wellington, and planted himself boldly amongst the English settlers.
But the prejudice of the officials and the advice of the missionaries
combined with Hobson's own peculiar views of the Cook's Straits
colonists, to keep him in the north. From his despatches it is clear
that he regarded the immigrants in the south--one of the finest bodies
of settlers that ever left England--as dangerous malcontents of
anarchical tendencies. As he would not go to Wellington and take his
natural position at the head of the main English colony and at
the centre of New Zealand, he did the next best thing in going to
Auckland. In pitching upon the Waitemata isthmus he made so good a
choice that his name is likely to be remembered therefore as long as
New Zealand lasts. By founding the city of Auckland he not only took
up a strategic position which cut the Maori tribes almost in half, but
selected a very fine natural trading centre. The narrow neck of land
on which Auckland stands between the winding Waitemata on the east and
the broader Manu-kau Harbour on the west, will, before many years, be
overspread from side to side by a great mercantile city. The unerring
eye of Captain Cook had, seventy years before, noted the Hauraki Gulf
as an admirable position. Hobson's advisers, in choosing it as his
seat of Government, are said to have been the missionary, Henry
Williams, and Captain Symonds, a surveyor. As the capital of New
Zealand it was the wrong place from the first. From every other
standpoint the selection was a master-stroke. Twenty-four years later
Auckland ceased to be the capital of the Colony; but though in this
she had to yield to the superior claims of Wellington, she could
afford to lose the privilege. First in size and beauty, she is to-day
second to no other New Zealand city in prosperity and progress.

In 1841, however, by way of making as bad a start as possible, little
Auckland began with a land boom. Forty-four acres were sold at auction
by the Government for L24,275. Small suburban lots a few months later
fetched L45 an acre, and cultivation lots L8 an acre. For one or two
picked city frontages as much as L7 10s. a foot was paid. The hanging
up of the northern land claims, and the inability of the Government to
buy native land while it refused to let private persons do so, joined,
with a trade collapse in Australia, to make the condition of the
Auckland settlers soon almost as unenviable as that of their
fellow-colonists in the Company's settlements.

Governor Hobson died at Auckland after ruling New Zealand for a little
less than three years. His best monument is the city which he founded,
and the most memorable verdict on his life is written in a letter
addressed by a Maori chief to the Queen. "Let not," said this
petition, "the new Governor be a boy or one puffed up. Let not a
troubler come amongst us. Let him be a good man like this Governor who
has just died." When these words were written, the judgment of the
English in New Zealand would have been very different. But time
has vindicated Hobson's honesty and courage, and in some important
respects even his discernment. He anticipated the French, baffled the
land-sharks, kept the peace, was generous to the Maori, and founded
Auckland. No bad record this for the harassed, dying sailor, sent to
stand between his own countrymen and savages at the very end of
the earth, and left almost without men or money! If under him the
colonists found their lot almost unbearable, the fault was chiefly
that of his masters. Most of his impolicy came from Downing Street;
most of his good deeds were his own. It must be remembered that he was
sent to New Zealand, not to push on settlement, but to protect the
natives and assert the Queen's authority. These duties he never

Chapter XI


"Awhile he makes some false way, undebarred
By thwarting signs, and braves
The freshening wind and blackening waves,
And then the tempest strikes him; and between
The lightning-bursts is seen
Only a driving wreck,
And the pale master on his spar-strewn deck."

In 1842 it took eight months before an official, when writing from
New Zealand to England, could hope to get an answer. The time was far
distant when the results of a cricket match in the southern hemisphere
could be proclaimed in the streets of London before noon on the day of
play. It was not therefore surprising that Hobson's successor did not
reach the Colony for more than a year after his death. Meantime the
Government was carried on by Mr. Secretary Shortland, not the ablest
of his officials. He soon very nearly blundered into war with the
Maoris, some of whom had been killing and eating certain of another
tribe--the last recorded instance of cannibalism in the country.
The Acting-Governor was, however, held back by Bishop Selwyn, Chief
Justice Martin, and Swainson the Attorney-General, a trio of whom more
will be said hereafter. The two former walked on foot through the
disturbed district, in peril but unharmed, to proffer their good
advice. The Attorney-General advised that what the Acting-Governor
contemplated was _ultra vires_, an opinion so palpably and daringly
wrong that some have thought it a desperate device to save the
country. He contended that as the culprits in the case were not among
the chiefs who had signed the Treaty of Waitangi, they were not
subject to the law or sovereignty of England. Though it is said that
Dr. Phillimore held the same opinion, the Colonial Office put its foot
upon it heavily and at once. Her Majesty's rule, said Lord Stanley,
having once been proclaimed over all New Zealand, it did not lie with
one of her officers to impugn the validity of her government.

Mr. Shortland's day was a time of trial for the land claimants. After
nearly two years' delay Mr. Spain, the Commissioner for the trial
of the New Zealand Company's claims, had landed in Wellington in
December, 1841, and had got to work in the following year. As the
southern purchases alone gave him work enough for three men, Messrs.
Richmond and Godfrey were appointed to hear the Auckland cases. By the
middle of 1843 they had disposed of more than half of 1,037 claims.
Very remorselessly did they cut them down. A well-known missionary who
had taken over a block of 50,000 acres to prevent two tribes going
to war about it, was allowed to keep 3,000 acres only. At Hokianga a
purchaser who claimed to have bought 1,500 acres for L24 was awarded
96 acres. When we remember that among the demands of the greater
land-sharks of the Colony had been three for more than a million acres
each, three for more than half a million each, and three for more
than a quarter of a million each, we can appreciate what the early
Governors and their Commissioners had to face. The Old Land Claims,
now and afterwards looked into, covered some eleven million acres.
Of these a little less than one twenty-second part was held to have
passed from the natives, and was divided between the Crown and the
claimants. A number of the Church of England missionaries had to go
through the ordeal with the rest. Some twenty-four of these, together
with members of their families, had, between 1830 and 1843, bought
about 216,000 acres of land from the natives. The Commissioners cut
down this purchase to about 66,000 acres. Even then there was some
litigation and much bitterness. Some of the very missionaries who had
been most prominent in thwarting and denouncing the land purchases of
the New Zealand Company were themselves purchasers of land. As may
be imagined, the criticisms directed at them were savage, noisy, and
often unjust and exaggerated. Years afterwards Governor Grey became
involved in this miserable controversy, which only slowly died away
when he passed ordinances that did much to settle doubtful and
disputed claims.

Not all the missionaries laid themselves open to these attacks.
Neither Hadfield, Maunsell, nor the printer Colenso were amongst the
land-buyers, and the same honourable self-denial was shown by all the
Catholic missionaries, and by all the Wesleyans but two. Nor were the
lay land-claimants always ravenous. Maning, the Pakeha Maori, had paid
L222 for his 200 acres at Hokianga. At Tauranga L50 had been given for
a building site fifty feet square, in a _pa_. At Rotorua the price
given for half an acre had been L12 10s. Many of the most monstrous
claims, it may be noted, were never brought into court.

In the Cook's Straits settlements Mr. Spain strove to do equity. The
very sensible plan was adopted of allowing the Company to make some
of their incomplete purchases good by additional payments. But this,
which might have brought about a tolerable adjustment in 1840, led to
little but delays and recriminations in 1843. After three years of
stagnation the Company was as exasperated and impecunious as the
settlers. The positions of Colonel Wakefield in Wellington, and his
brother and fellow-agent, Arthur Wakefield, in Nelson, were almost
unbearable. It is hardly to be wondered at that the latter, in June,
1843, committed the very great mistake which led to the one misfortune
from which the unhappy Colony had so far escaped--war.

In the north-east corner of the South Island lies the grassy valley of
the Wairau. Rich in alluvial soil, open and attractive to the eye, and
near the sea, it wanted only greater extent to be one of the finest
districts in the Islands. The Company claimed to have bought it from
Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, whose ownership--for they did not live in
it--was based on recent conquest, and on occupation by some members
of their tribe. The chiefs denied the sale, and, when the Company's
surveyors came into the valley, warned them off, and burned down the
huts they had put up. Commissioner Spain was coming almost at once to
try the dispute as to the title. But the delays and vexations of the
previous years had infuriated Captain Wakefield. He looked upon the
chiefs as a pair of "travelling bullies" who wanted but firmness to
cow them. With hasty hardihood he obtained a warrant for the arrest of
Rauparaha on a charge of arson, and set out to arrest him, accompanied
by the Nelson police magistrate, at the head of a _posse_ of some
fifty Nelson settlers very badly equipped. Rauparaha, surrounded by
his armed followers, was found in a small clearing backed by a patch
of bush, his front covered by a narrow but deep creek. The leaders
of the arresting party crossed this, and called on the chief to give
himself up. Of course he defied them. After an argument the police
magistrate, an excitable man, made as though to arrest him. There was
a scuffle; a gun went off, and in the conflict which followed the
undisciplined settlers, fired upon by hidden natives, and divided by
the stream, became panic-stricken, and retreated in confusion, despite
Wakefield's appeals and entreaties to them to stand. As he could do
nothing with them, Wakefield held up a white handkerchief, and with
four gentlemen and four labourers gave himself up to Rauparaha. But
Rangihaeata had a blood-feud with the English. A woman-servant of
his--not his wife--had been accidentally shot in the fray. Moreover,
some time before, another woman, a relative of his, had been murdered
by a white, who, when tried in the Supreme Court, had been acquitted.
Now was the hour for vengeance. Coming up wild with rage, Rangihaeata
fell upon the unresisting prisoners and tomahawked them all. Captain
Wakefield, thus untimely slain, was not only an able pioneer leader,
but a brave man of high worth, of singularly fine and winning
character, and one of whom those who knew him spoke with a kind of
enthusiasm. Twenty-two settlers in all were killed that day and five
wounded. The natives, superior in numbers, arms, and position, had
lost only four killed and eight wounded. So easily was the first
tussle between Maori and settler won by the natives. In the opinion of
some the worst feature of the whole unhappy affair was that something
very like cowardice had been shown on the losing side. Naturally the
Wairau Massacre, as it was called, gave a shock to the young Colony.
The Maoris triumphantly declared that the _mana_ (prestige) of the
English was gone.

A Wesleyan missionary and a party of whalers buried the dead. No
attempt was ever made to revenge them. Commissioner Spain visited
Rauparaha, at the request of the leading settlers of Wellington, to
assure him that the matter should be left to the arbitrament of the
Crown. The Crown, as represented by Mr. Shortland, was, perhaps, at
the moment more concerned at the defenceless position of Auckland, in
the event of a general rising, than at anything else. Moreover,
the philo-Maori officials held that Rauparaha and Rangihaeata were
aggrieved persons. A company of fifty-three Grenadiers was sent to
Wellington and a man-of-war to Nelson. Strict orders were given to
the disgusted settlers not to meet and drill. On the whole, in the
helpless state of the Colony, inaction was wisest. At any rate Mr.
Shortland's successor was on his way out, and there was reason in
waiting for him. Now had come the result of Hobson's error in fixing
the seat of government in Auckland, and in keeping the leading
officials there. Had Wellington been the seat of government in 1843,
the Wairau incident could hardly have occurred.

Not the least of poor Mr. Shortland's troubles were financial. He
inherited debts from his predecessor. Indeed, the New Zealand Treasury
may be said to have been cradled in deficits. In 1841 Hobson's
expenditure had been L81,000 against a revenue of L37,000, most of
which was the product of land sales. In 1842 the revenue was L50,000,
of which only L11,000 came from land sales; and in 1843 this source of
income fell to L1,600. The southern settlers complained, truly enough,
that whilst they found much of the money, nearly all of it was spent
in Auckland. In 1844--if I may anticipate--Mr. Shortland's successor
had the melancholy duty of warning the Colonial Office that to meet an
inevitable outlay of L35,000 he could at the best hope for a revenue
of L20,000. Mr. Shortland himself, in 1843, tried to replenish the
treasury chest by borrowing L15,000 in Sydney. But New Zealand, which
has lately borrowed many times that sum at about three per cent.
interest, could not then raise the money at fifteen per cent. Mr.
Shortland next drew bills on the English treasury, which were
dishonoured, though the mother country afterwards relented so far as
to lend the sum, adding it to the public debt of the Colony. Finally,
the Governor, who on arrival superseded Mr. Shortland, made a
beginning by publicly insulting that gentleman. With proper spirit the
Secretary at once resigned, and was sent by Downing Street to govern a
small island in the West Indies.

If neither Captain Hobson nor Mr. Shortland found official life in New
Zealand otherwise than thorny, their career was smooth and prosperous
compared to that of the Governor who now appears on the scene.
Admiral--then Captain--Robert Fitzroy will have a kind of immortality
as the commander of the _Beagle_--Darwin's _Beagle_. His scientific
work as a hydrographer at the Admiralty is still spoken of in high
terms. He was unquestionably a well-meaning sailor. But his short
career in New Zealand is an awful example of the evils which the
Colonial Office can inflict on a distant part of the Empire by a bad
appointment. It is true that, like his predecessors, Fitzroy was not
fairly supported by the authorities at Home. They supplied him with
neither men nor money, and on them therefore the chief responsibility
of the Colony's troubles rest. But a study of his two years of rule
fails to reveal any pitfall in his pathway into which he did not
straightway stumble.

Captain Fitzroy was one of those fretful and excitable beings whose
manner sets plain men against them, and who, when they are not in
error, seem so. Often wrong, occasionally right, he possessed in
perfection the unhappy art of doing the right thing in the wrong way.
Restless and irascible, passing from self-confidence to gloom, he
would find relief for nerve tension in a peevishness which was the
last quality one in his difficult position should have shown. An
autocratic official amid little rough, dissatisfied communities of
hard-headed pioneers was a king with no divinity to hedge him round.
Without pomp, almost without privacy, everything he said or did became
the property of local gossips. A ruler so placed must have natural
dignity, and requires self-command above all things. That was just
the quality Captain Fitzroy had not. It was said that the blood of a
Stuart king ran in his veins; and, indeed, there seemed to be about
the tall, thin, melancholy man something of the bad luck, as well as
the hopeless wrong-headedness, of that unteachable House.

For he landed at Auckland in November, 1843, to find an ample legacy
of trouble awaiting him. The loyal and patriotic address with which
the Aucklanders welcomed him was such as few viceroys have been
condemned to receive at the outset of their term of office. It did not
mince matters. It described the community as bankrupt, and ascribed
its fate to the mistakes and errors of the Government. At New Plymouth
a similar address declared that the settlers were menaced with
irretrievable ruin. Kororareka echoed the wail. Nor was the welcome of
Wellington one whit more cheerful--a past of bungling, a present of
stagnation, a future of danger: such was the picture it drew. It
was not much exaggerated. On the coasts of New Zealand some twelve
thousand colonists were divided into eight settlements, varying in
population from 4,000 at Wellington to 200 at Akaroa. Not one of them
was defensible in military eyes. There were no troops, no militia, no
money. Neither at Wellington nor Nelson had more than one thousand
acres of land been cleared and cultivated. Labourers were riotously
clamouring for work or rations. Within fifty miles of Wellington was
Rauparaha, who, had he appealed to his race, could probably have
mustered a force strong enough to loot and burn the town. Some
wondered why he did not; perhaps Hadfield's influence amongst his
tribe supplied the answer.

Governor Fitzroy began at his first _levee_ at Wellington by scolding
the settlers, inveighing against the local newspaper, and grossly
insulting Gibbon Wakefield's son when he was presented to him. At
Nelson he rated the magistrates after such a fashion that they threw
up their commissions. He then went to Rauparaha's _pa_ at Waikanae
near Kapiti. A dozen whites were with the Governor; five hundred
Maoris surrounded the chief. After lecturing the latter for the
slaughter of the captives at Wairau, Fitzroy informed him that, as the
slain men had been the aggressors, he was to be freely forgiven. Only
one utterly ignorant of the Maori character could have fancied that
this exaggerated clemency would be put down to anything but weakness.
Even some missionaries thought that compensation should have been
demanded for the death of the prisoners. As for the settlers, their
disgust was deep. Putting together the haste, violence, and want of
dignity of his proceedings, they declared the new Governor could not
be master of his own actions. That Gibbon Wakefield's brother should
have been savagely butchered and not avenged was bad enough; that his
fellow-settlers should be rated for their share in the disaster seemed
a thing not to be endured. The Maoris grew insolent, the settlers
sullen, and for years afterward a kind of petty warfare lingered on in
the Wellington district.

Governor Fitzroy was no more successful in Taranaki. There the
Company, after claiming the entire territory, had had their claim cut
down by the Commissioners' award to 60,000 acres. But even this was
now disputed, on the ground that it had been bought from a tribe--the
Waikato--who had indeed conquered it, and carried away its owners as
slaves, but had never taken possession of the soil by occupation. When
Colonel Wakefield bought it, the land was virtually empty, and the few
score of natives living at the Sugar-Loaves sold their interest to him
readily enough. But when the enslaved Ngatiawa and Taranaki tribesmen
were soon afterwards released through the influence of Christianity,
they returned to the desolated land, and disputed the claim of the
Company. Moreover, there were the Ngatiawas, who, led by Wiremu Kingi,
had migrated to Cook's Straits in the days of devastation. They
claimed not only their new possessions--much of which they sold to the
Company--but their old tribal lands at Waitara, from which they had
fled, but to which some of them now straggled back. On this nice point
Captain Fitzroy had to adjudicate. He decided that the returned slaves
and Ngatiawa fugitives were the true owners of the land. Instead
of paying them fairly for the 60,000 acres--which they did not
require--he handed the bulk of it back to them, penning the unhappy
white settlers up in a miserable strip of 3,200 acres. The result was
the temporary ruin of the Taranaki settlement, and the sowing of the
seeds of an intense feeling of resentment and injustice which bore
evil fruit in later days.

Nor did Captain Fitzroy do any better with finance than in his land
transactions. His very insufficient revenue was largely derived from
Customs duties. Trade at the Bay of Islands had, by this time, greatly
fallen away. Whalers and timber vessels no longer resorted there as in
the good old Alsatian days. Both natives and settlers grumbled at
the change, which they chose to attribute to the Government Customs
duties. To conciliate them, the Governor abolished Customs duties at
Kororareka. Naturally a cry at once went up from other parts of the
Colony for a similar concession. The unhappy Governor, endeavouring
to please them all, like the donkey-owner in AEsop's Fables, abolished
Customs duties everywhere. To replace them he devised an astounding
combination of an income-tax and property-tax. Under this, not only
would the rich plainly pay less in proportion than the poor, but a
Government official drawing L600 a year, but owning no land, would pay
just half the sum exacted from a settler who, having invested L1,000
in a farm, was struggling to make L200 a year thereby. The mere
prospect of this crudity caused such a feeling in the Colony that he
was obliged to levy the Customs duties once more. His next error was
the abandonment of the Government monopoly of land purchase from the
Maoris. As might be expected, the pressure upon all rulers in New
Zealand to do this, and to allow private bargaining with the natives
for land, has always been very strong, especially in the Auckland
district. Repeated experience has, however, shown that the results are
baneful to all concerned--demoralizing to the natives, and by no means
always profitable to the white negotiators. When Fitzroy proclaimed
that settlers might purchase land from the natives, he imposed a duty
of ten shillings an acre upon each sale. Then, when this was bitterly
complained of, he reduced the fee to one penny. Finally, he fell back
on the desperate expedient of issuing paper money, a thing which he
had no right to do. All these mistakes and others he managed to commit
within two short years. Fortunately for the Colony, he, in some of
them, flatly disregarded his instructions. The issue of paper money
was one of the few blunders the full force of which Downing Street
could apprehend. Hence his providential recall.

Before this reached him he had drifted into the last and worst of his
misfortunes, an unsuccessful war, the direct result of the defeat at
the Wairau and the weakness shown thereafter. It was not that he and
his missionary advisers did not try hard enough to avert any conflict
with the Maoris. If conciliation pushed to the verge of submission
could have kept the peace, it would have been kept. But conciliation,
without firmness, will not impress barbarians. The Maoris were far too
acute to be impressed by the well-meaning, vacillating Governor. They
set to work, instead, to impress him. They invited him to a huge
banquet near Auckland, and danced a war-dance before their guest with
the deliberate intention of overawing him. Indeed, the spectacle of
fifteen hundred warriors, stripped, smeared with red ochre, stamping,
swaying, leaping, uttering deep guttural shouts, and brandishing their
muskets, while their wild rhythmic songs rose up in perfect time, and
their tattooed features worked convulsively, was calculated to affect
even stronger nerves than the Governor's.

It was among the discontented tribes in the Bay of Islands, where
Alsatia was now deserted by its roaring crews of whalers and cheated
of its hoped-for capital, that the outbreak came.

In the winter of 1844, Hone Heke, son-in-law of the great Hongi,
presuming on the weakness of the Government, swaggered into
Kororareka, plundered some of the houses, and cut down a flagstaff
on the hill over the town on which the English flag was flying. Some
White of the beach-comber species is said to have suggested the act
to him by assuring him that the flag-staff represented the Queen's
sovereignty--the evil influence which had drawn trade and money away
to Auckland. Heke had no grievance whatever against the Government or
colonists, but he and the younger braves of the Northern tribes
had been heard to ask whether Rangihaeata was to do all the
_Pakeha_-killing? At the moment Fitzroy had not two hundred soldiers
in the country. He hurried up to the scene of disturbance. Luckily
Heke's tribe--the Ngapuhi--were divided. Part, under Waka Nene, held
with the English. Accepting Nene's advice Fitzroy allowed Heke to pay
ten muskets in compensation for the flagstaff, and then foolishly gave
back the fine as a present and departed. Nene and the friendly chiefs
undertook to keep peace--but failed, for Heke again cut down the
flagstaff. This, of course, brought war definitely on. The famous
flagstaff was re-erected, guarded by a block-house, and a party of
soldiers and sailors were sent to garrison Kororareka. As H.M.S.
_Hazard_ lay off the beach in the Bay and guns were mounted in three
block-houses, the place was expected to hold out. Heke, however,
notified that he would take it--and did so. He marched against it with
eight hundred men. One party attacked the flagstaff, another the town.
The twenty defenders of the flag-staff were divided by a stratagem by
which part were lured out to repel a feigned attack. In their absence
the stockade was rushed, and, for the third time, the flagstaff hewn
down. During the attack the defenders of the town, however, under
Captain Robertson of the _Hazard_, stood their ground and repulsed a
first attack. Even when Robertson fell, his thigh-bone shattered by
a bullet, Lieutenant Philpotts, taking command, had the women and
children sent safely on board the ships, and all was going well when
the outnumbered garrison were paralysed by the blowing up of their
powder magazine. The townsmen began to escape, and a council of war
decided to abandon the place. This was done. Lovell, a gunner, would
not leave his piece until he had spiked it, and was killed, but not
before doing so. Bishop Selwyn, landing from his mission ship in the
Bay, had been doing the work of ten in carrying off women and children
and succouring the wounded, aided therein by Henry Williams. To
Selwyn, as he toiled begrimed with smoke and sweat, came running a
boy, young Nelson Hector, whose father, a lawyer, was in charge of a
gun in position on one of the hillsides outside the town. The boy had
stolen away unnoticed, and crept through the Maoris to find out for
his father how things stood. The bishop offered to take him on board
with the women, but the youngster scouted the notion of leaving his
father. "God bless you, my boy!" said the big-hearted Selwyn; "I have
nothing to say against it"; and the lad, running off, got back safely.
Out in the Bay the American corvette _St. Louis_ lay at anchor. Her
men were keen to be allowed to "bear a hand" in the defence. Though
this could not be, her captain sent boats through the fire while it
was still hot to bring off the women and children, and gave them
shelter on board. Anglo-Saxon brotherhood counted for something even
in 1845. The scene became extraordinary. The victorious Maoris,
streaming gleefully into the town, began to plunder in the best of
good tempers. Some of the townspeople went about saving such of their
goods as they could without molestation, indeed, with occasional help
from the Maoris, who considered there was enough for all. Presently
a house caught fire, the flames spread, and the glowing blaze, the
volumes of smoke, and the roar of the burning under the red-lit sky,
gave a touch of dignity to the end of wicked old Kororareka.

Loaded with booty, Heke's men went off inland in high spirits. Three
vessels crowded with the ruined Alsatians sailed to Auckland, where
for a while the astonished people expected nightly to be roused
from their beds by the yells of Ngapuhi warriors. Our loss had been
thirty-one killed and wounded, and it was small consolation to know
that, thanks to the ship's guns, the Maoris' had been three times as
great. The disaster was a greater blow to the English _Mana_ than even
the Wairau Massacre. But the settlements showed spirit everywhere,
and under the stress of the time the Governor forgot some of his
prejudices. Even those much-suspected people, the Wellington settlers,
were allowed to form themselves into a militia at last.

Thanks to the divisions among the Ngapuhi, Heke did not follow up his
victory. Troops were procured from Sydney, but they had no artillery.
The natives relied on their _pas_ or stockades. These, skilfully
constructed by means of double or triple rows of heavy palisades,
masked by flax and divided by shallow ditches which did duty for
rifle-pits, could not be carried without being breached by cannon. A
fruitless attack upon one of them soon demonstrated this. The _pa_,
called Okaihau, though strong in front, was weak in the rear. Four
hundred soldiers, supported by as many Ngapuhi friendlies under Waka
Nene, marched against it. Fruitlessly Nene advised the English Colonel
to assail the place from behind. The Colonel, who had seen Nene
yelling in a war-dance, and looked upon him as a degraded savage,
approached the front, where Okaihau was really strong. As he had no
guns he tried the effect of rockets, but though terrified by the
strange fire, the defenders gained heart when they found that the
rockets hit nothing. They even charged the English in the open with
long-handled tomahawks, and only fell back before a bayonet charge
in regular form. After skirmishing all day and losing fifty-four in
killed and wounded with but negative results, the English retreated to
Auckland to request artillery. Waka Nene carried on the fighting on
his own account, and in a skirmish with him Heke was badly wounded.
Guns were fetched from Australia, and Heke's men were brought to bay
at their principal _pa_, Ohaeawai. Colonel Despard commanded the
besiegers, who outnumbered the defenders by more than three to one.
After bombarding the palisades for some days, the colonel, in defiance
of the advice of his artillery officer--who declared there was no
practicable breach--ordered an assault. Two hundred soldiers and
sailors were told off for the duty, and at four o'clock on a
pleasant, sunny afternoon they charged up a gentle, open slope to the
simple-looking stockade. Only two or three got inside. In a quarter of
an hour half the force were shot down, and the survivors only saved by
the bugle-call which Despard ordered to be sounded. Forty, including a
captain and two lieutenants, were killed on the spot or died of their
wounds. Sixty-two others were wounded. Gallant Lieutenant Philpotts,
the first through the stockade, lay dead, sword in hand, inside the
_pa_. At the outset of the war he had been captured by the natives
whilst scouting, and let go unharmed with advice to take more care in
future. Through no fault of his own he had lost Kororareka. Stung by
this, or, as some say, by a taunt of Despard's, he led the way at
Ohaeawai with utterly reckless courage, and, to the regret of the
brave brown men his enemies, was shot at close quarters by a mere boy.
The wounded could not be removed for two days. During the night
the triumphant Maoris shouted and danced their war-dance. They
tortured--with burning kauri gum--an unfortunate soldier whom they
had captured alive, and whose screams could be plainly heard in the
English camp. Despard, whose artillery ammunition had run short,
remained watching the _pa_ for several days. But when he was in a
position to renew his bombardment, the natives quietly abandoned the
place by night, without loss. According to their notions of warfare,
such a withdrawal was not a defeat.

Such are the facts of one of the worst repulses sustained by our
arms in New Zealand. It will scarcely be believed that after this
humiliation Captain Fitzroy, on missionary advice, endeavoured to make
peace--of course, without avail. Heke became a hero in the eyes of
his race. The news of Ohaeawai reached England, and the Duke of
Wellington's language about Colonel Despard is said to have been
pointed. But already the Colonial Office had made up its mind for a
change in New Zealand. Fitzroy was recalled, and Captain Grey, the
Governor of South Australia, whose sense and determination had lifted
that Colony out of the mire, was wisely selected to replace him.

Chapter XII


"No hasty fool of stubborn will,
But prudent, wary, pliant still,
Who, since his work was good,
Would do it as he could."

Captain Grey came in the nick of time. That he managed because he
wasted no time about coming. The despatch, removing him from South
Australia to New Zealand, reached Adelaide on the 15th of October,
1845, and by the 14th of November he was in Auckland.

He arrived to find Kororareka in ashes, Auckland anxious, the
Company's settlers in the south harassed by the Maoris and embittered
against the Government, the missionaries objects of tormenting
suspicions, and the natives unbeaten and exultant. The Colonists had
no money and no hope. Four hundred Crown grants were lying unissued in
the Auckland Land Office because land-buyers could not pay the fee of
L1 apiece due on them.

But the Colonial Office, now that it at last gave unfortunate New
Zealand a capable head, did not do things by halves. It supplied him
with sufficient troops and a certain amount of money. The strong hand
at the helm at once made itself felt. Within a month the circulating
debentures were withdrawn, the pre-emptive right of the Crown over
native lands resumed, the sale of fire-arms to natives prohibited, and
negotiations with Heke and his fellow insurgent chief, Kawiti, sternly
broken off.

The Governor set to work to end the war. High in air, on the side of
a thickly-timbered hill, lay Kawiti's new and strongest _pa_,
Rua-peka-peka (the Bat's Nest). Curtained by a double palisade of
beams eighteen feet high by two feet thick, strengthened by flanking
redoubts, ditches, and traverses, honeycombed with rifle-pits
and bomb-proof chambers below ground, "large enough to hold a
whist-party," it was a model Maori fortification of the later style.

[Illustration: SIR GEORGE GREY

Photo by RUSSELL, Baker St., W.]

Against it the Governor and Despard moved with 1,200 soldiers and
sailors, a strong native contingent, and what for those days and that
corner of the earth was a strong park of artillery. The first round
shot fired carried away the _pa's_ flagstaff; but though palisades
were splintered and sorties were repulsed, the stubborn garrison
showed no sign of yielding, and the Bat's Nest, for all our strength,
fell but by an accident. Our artillery fire, continued for several
days, was--rather to the surprise of our Maori allies--not stopped
on Sunday. The defenders, Christians also, wishing to hold divine
service, withdrew to an outwork behind their main fort to be out of
reach of the cannon balls. A few soldiers and friendly natives, headed
by Waka Nene's brother, struck by the deserted aspect of the place,
crept up and got inside before they were discovered. The insurgents,
after a plucky effort to retake their own fortress, fled with loss.
Our casualties were but forty-three. The blow thus given ended the
war. Heke, weakened by his wound, sued for peace. Even tough little
Kawiti wrote to the Governor that he was "full." Grey showed a
wise leniency. Waka Nene was given a pension of L100 a year, and
ostentatiously honoured and consulted. As time went on the
Ngapuhi themselves re-erected the historic flagstaff in token of
reconciliation. From that day to this there has been no rebellion
amongst the tribes north of Auckland. Heke's relation and name-sake,
Hone Heke, M.H.R., is now a member of the New Zealand House of
Representatives, which he addresses in excellent English, and only in
May of this year the good offices' of Mr. Hone Heke were foremost in
quelling what threatened to be a troublesome riot among the Ngapuhi on
the Hokianga.

The petty warfare against Rangihaeata in the Cook's Straits district
took longer to end. It was a series of isolated murders, trifling
skirmishes, night surprises, marchings and counter-marchings. Their
dreary insignificance was redeemed by the good-tempered pertinacity
shown by our troops in enduring month after month of hardship and
exposure in the rain-soaked bush and the deep mud of the sloughs,
miscalled tracks, along which they had to crawl through the gloomy
valleys. And there was one story of heroism. An out-post of the
fifty-eighth regiment had been surprised at dawn. The bugler, a lad
named Allen, was raising his bugle to sound the alarm, when a blow
from a tomahawk half severed his arm. Snatching the bugle with the
other hand, he managed to blow a warning note before a second tomahawk
stroke stretched him dead. Grey adopted the Fabian plan of driving the
insurgents back into the mountain forests and slowly starving them out
there. In New Zealand, thanks to the scarcity of wild food plants and
animals, even Maoris suffer cruel hardships if cut off long from their

Rauparaha, now a very old man, was nominally not concerned in these
troubles. He lived quietly in a sea-coast village by the Straits,
enjoying the reputation earned by nearly fifty years of fighting,
massacring and plotting. The Governor, however, satisfied himself that
the old chief was secretly instigating the insurgents. By a cleverly
managed surprise he captured Rauparaha in his village, whence he was
carried kicking and biting on board a man-of-war. The move proved
successful. The _mana_ of the Maori Ulysses was fatally injured in the
eyes of his race by the humiliation. The chief, who had killed Arthur
Wakefield and laughed under Fitzroy's nose, had met at length a
craftier than himself. Detained at Auckland, or carried about in
Grey's train, he was treated with a studied politeness which prevented
him from being honoured as a martyr. His influence was at an end.

Peace quickly came. It is true that at the end of the year 1846 there
came a small outbreak which caused a tiny hamlet, now the town of
Wanganui, to be attacked and plundered. But the natives, who retired
into the bush, were quietly brought to submission by having their
trade stopped, and in particular their supply of tobacco cut off.
Fourteen years of quiet now followed the two years of disturbance.
During the fighting from the Wairau conflict onwards, our loss
had been one hundred and seven Whites killed and one hundred and
seventy-two wounded. To this must be added several "murders" of
settlers and the losses of our native allies. Small as the total was,
it was larger than the casualties of the insurgents.

For his success Governor Grey was made Sir George, and greatly pleased
the natives by choosing Waka Nene and Te Whero Whero, our old Waikato
acquaintance, to act as esquires at his investiture. But it was in
the use he made of the restored tranquillity that he showed his true
capacity. He employed the natives as labourers in making roads, useful
both for war and peace. They found wages better than warfare. As
navvies, they were paid half a crown a day, and were reported to do
more work as spade-men than an equal number of soldiers would. At no
time did the Maoris seem to make such material progress as during the
twelve peaceful years beginning with 1848.

With his brown subjects, Grey, after once beating them, trod the paths
of pleasantness and peace. The chiefs recognised his imperturbable
courage and self-control, and were charmed by his unfailing courtesy
and winning manners. He found time to learn their language. The study
of their character, their myths, customs, and art was not only to him
a labour of love, but bore practical fruit in the knowledge it gave
him of the race. So good were the volumes in which he put together
and published the fruits of his Maori studies, that for nearly half a
century students of Maori literature have been glad to follow in
the way pointed out by this busy administrator. Few men have ever
understood the Natives better. He could humour their childishness and
respect their intelligence. When a powerful chief refused to allow one
of the Governor's roads to be pushed through his tribe's land, Grey
said nothing, but sent the chief's sister a present of a wheeled
carriage. Before long the road was permitted. But on the all-important
question of the validity of the land clause in the treaty of Waitangi,
the Governor always gave the Maoris the fullest assurance. Striving
always to keep liquor and fire-arms from them, he encouraged them to
farm, helped to found schools for them, and interested himself in the
all-important question of their physical health, on which he consulted
and corresponded with Florence Nightingale.

After a good deal of tedious litigation Grey was able to settle nearly
all the outstanding land claims. By a misuse of one of Fitzroy's
freakish ordinances land-grabbers had got hold of much of the land
near Auckland. Grey was able to make many of them disgorge. His
influence with the Maoris enabled him to buy considerable tracts of
land. By him the Colonial Office was persuaded to have a reasonable
force retained for the protection of the Colony. He put an end to the
office of "Protector of the Aborigines," the source of much well-meant
but unpractical advice. When Earl Grey sent out in 1846 a constitution
prematurely conferring upon the Colonists the right of governing
themselves--and also of governing the Maoris--Sir George had the moral
courage and good sense to stand in the way of its adoption. For this,
and for refusing to allow private purchase of native land, he was
bitterly attacked; but he stood his ground, to the advantage of both
races. Especially in the settlements of the New Zealand Company
was the agitation for free institutions carried on with vigour and

It is scarcely needful now to scan in detail the various compromises
and expedients by which Grey vainly endeavoured to satisfy
the Colonists, first with nominated councils, then with local
self-governing powers; or how, finally, he completely changed front,
went further than Lord Grey, and drafted and sent home a constitution
which, for that day, seemed the quintessence of Radicalism.

Meanwhile he remained an autocrat. Even an autocrat has his advisers,
and in some of them he was fortunate. Mr. William Swainson, his
Attorney-General, was an English lawyer of striking abilities of more
than one kind. Fortunately one of these lay in drafting statutes. On
him devolved the drawing-up of the laws of the infant Colony. In doing
so he ventured to be much simpler in language and much less of a slave
to technical subtleties than was usual in his day. By an ordinance
dealing with conveyancing he swept away a host of cumbrous English
precedents relating to that great branch of law. Other excellent
enactments dealt with legal procedure and marriage. Mr. Swainson's
ordinances were not only good in themselves, but set an example in New
Zealand which later law reformers were only too glad to follow and
improve upon. Another official of ability and high character was Sir
William Martin, Chief Justice, long known, not only as a refined
gentleman and upright judge, but as an enthusiastic and unswerving
champion of what he believed to be the rights of the Maori race. But
a more commanding figure than either Martin or Swainson was George
Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of the Colony. No better selection
could have been made than that by which England sent this muscular
Christian to organize and administer a Church of mingled savages and
pioneers. Bishop Selwyn was both physically and mentally a ruler of
men. When young, his tall, lithe frame, and long, clean-cut aquiline
features were those of the finest type of English gentleman. When old,
the lines on his face marked honourably the unresting toil of the
intellectual athlete. Hard sometimes to others, he was always hardest
to himself. When in the wilderness, he could outride or outwalk his
guides, and could press on when hunger made his companions flag
wearily. He would stride through rivers in his Bishop's dress, and
laugh at such trifles as wet clothes, and would trudge through the
bush with his blankets rolled up on his back like any swag-man. When
at sea in his missionary schooner, he could haul on the ropes or take
the helm--and did so.[1] If his demeanour and actions savoured at
times somewhat of the dramatic, and if he had more of iron than honey
in his manner, it must be remembered that his duty lay in wild places
and amongst rough men, where strength of will and force of character
were more needed than gentler virtues. For more than a generation he
laboured strenuously amongst Maoris and Europeans, loved by many and
respected by all. He organized the Episcopal Church in New Zealand
upon a basis which showed a rare insight into the democratic character
of the community with which he had to deal. The basis of his system is
found in the representative synods of clergy and laity which assemble
annually in each New Zealand diocese. The first draft of this Church
constitution came indeed from the brain and hand of Sir George Grey,
but for the rest the credit of it belongs to Selwyn.

[Footnote 1: The lines with which Mr. Punch in December, 1867, saluted
"Selwyn the pious and plucky," then just translated to Lichfield, had
truth in them as well as fun:--

"Where lawn sleeves and silk apron had turned with a shiver,
From the current that roared 'twixt his business and him,
If no boat could be come at he breasted the river,
And woe to his chaplain who craned at a swim!

* * * * *

"What to him were short commons, wet jacket, hard-lying
The savage's blood-feud, the elements' strife,
Whose guard was the Cross, at his peak proudly flying,
Whose fare was the bread and the water of life?"]

Among the many interesting figures on the stage of the New Zealand of
the first generation three seem to me to rise head and shoulders above
the crowd--Gibbon Wakefield, Grey, and Selwyn, the founder, the ruler,
the pastor. Nor must it be supposed, because these towered above their
fellow-actors, that the latter were puny men. Plenty of ability found
its way to the Colony, and under the stress of its early troubles wits
were sharpened and faculties brightened. There is nothing like the
colonial grindstone for putting an edge on good steel. Grey, Selwyn,
and Wakefield, as unlike morally as they were in manner, had this in
common, that they were leaders of men, and that they had men to lead.
That for thirty years the representatives of the English Government,
from Busby to Browne, were, with the exception of Grey, commonplace
persons or worse, must not blind us to the interest of the drama or to
the capacity of many of the men whom these commonplace persons were
sent to guide.

Of the trio referred to, Grey is the greatest figure, and most
attractive and complex study. Of such a man destiny might have made a
great visionary, a capable general, an eloquent tribune, or a graceful
writer. He had in him the stuff for any of these. But the south wing
of the British Empire had to be built, and the gods made Grey a social
architect in the guise of a pro-consul. Among the colonies of the
southern hemisphere he is already a figure of history, and amongst
them no man has played so many parts in so many theatres with so much
success. Not merely was he the saviour and organizer of New Zealand,
South Australia, and South Africa; not merely was he an explorer of
the deserts of New Holland, and a successful campaigner in New Zealand
bush-warfare, but he found time, by way of recreation, to be an
ethnologist, a literary pioneer, and an ardent book-collector who
twice was generous enough to found libraries with the books which had
been the solace and happiness of his working life. A mere episode of
this life was the fanning of the spark of Imperialism into flame in
England thirty years ago. There are those who will think the eloquence
with which he led the New Zealand democracy, the results he indirectly
obtained for it, and the stand which at the extreme end of his career
he made with success for a popular basis for the inevitable Australian
Federation, among the least of his feats. To the writer they do not
seem so. Before a life so strenuous, so dramatic, and so fruitful,
criticism--at least colonial criticism--is inclined respectfully to
lay down its pen. But when we come to the man himself, to the mistakes
he made, and the misunderstandings he caused, and to the endeavour to
give some sort of sketch of what he _was_, the task is neither easy
nor always pleasant. I have known those who thought Grey a nobler
Gracchus and a more practical Gordon; and I have known those who
thought him a mean copy of Dryden's Achitophel. His island-retreat,
where Froude described him as a kind of evangelical Cincinnatus,
seemed to others merely the convenient lurking-place of a political
rogue-elephant. The viceroy whose hated household the Adelaide
tradesmen would not deal with in 1844, and the statesman whose visit
to Adelaide in 1891 was a triumphal progress, the public servant whom
the Duke of Buckingham insulted in 1868, and the empire-builder whom
the Queen delighted to honour in 1894, were one and the same man.
So were the Governor against whom New Zealanders inveighed as
an arch-despot in 1848, and the popular leader denounced as
arch-demagogue by some of the same New Zealanders thirty years
afterwards. In a long life of bustle and change his strong but mixed
character changed and moulded circumstances, and circumstances also
changed and moulded him. The ignorant injustice of some of his Downing
Street masters might well have warped his disposition even more than
it did. The many honest and acute men who did not keep step with Grey,
who were disappointed in him, or repelled by and embittered against
him, were not always wrong. Some of his eulogists have been silly. But
the student of his peculiar nature must be an odd analyst who does
not in the end conclude that Grey was on the whole more akin to the
Christian hero painted by Froude and Olive Schreiner than to
the malevolent political chess-player of innumerable colonial

Grey had the knightly virtues--courage, courtesy, and self-command.
His early possession of official power in remote, difficult,
thinly-peopled outposts gave him self-reliance as well as dignity.
Naturally fond of devious ways and unexpected moves, he learned to
keep his own counsel and to mask his intentions; he never even seemed
frank. Though wilful and quarrelsome, he kept guard over his tongue,
but, pen in hand, became an evasive, obstinate controversialist with
a coldly-used power of exasperation. He learned to work apart, and
practised it so long that he became unable to co-operate, on equal
terms, with any fellow-labourer. He would lead, or would go alone.
Moreover, so far as persons went, his antipathies were stronger than
his affections, and led him to play with principles and allies. Those
who considered themselves his natural friends were never astonished to
find him operating against their flank to the delight of the common
enemy. Fastidiously indifferent to money, he was greedy of credit;
could be generous to inferiors, but not to rivals; could be grateful
to God, but hardly to man.

When he landed in New Zealand, he was a pleasant-looking, blue-eyed,
energetic young officer, with a square jaw, a firm but mobile mouth,
and a queer trick of half closing one eye when he looked at you. For
all his activity he suffered from a spear-wound received from an
Australian blackfellow. He was married to a young and handsome wife;
and, though this was not his first Governorship, was but thirty-three.
The colonists around him were quite shrewd enough to see that this was
no ordinary official, and that beneath the silken surcoat of courtesy
and the plate-armour of self-confidence lay concealed a curious and
interesting man. The less narrow of them detected that something more
was here than a strong administrator, and that they had among them an
original man of action, with something of the aloofness and mystery
that belong to

"a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of thought alone."

None imagined that his connection with the Islands would not terminate
for half a century, and that the good and evil of his work therein
would be such as must be directly felt--to use his own pet phrase--by
unborn millions in distant days.

Chapter XIII


"Whose even thread the Fates spin round and full
Out of their choicest and their whitest wool."

The Company's settlements were no longer confined to the shores of
Cook's Straits. In 1846, Earl Grey, formerly Lord Howick, came to the
Colonial Office, and set himself to compensate the Company for former
official hostility. He secured for it a loan of L250,000, and handed
over to it large blocks of land in the South Island, which--less
certain reserves--was in process of complete purchase from its handful
of Maori owners. The Company, gaining thus a new lease of life, went
to work. In 1848 and 1850 that was done which ought to have been done
a decade sooner, and the void spaces of Otago and Canterbury were
made the sites of settlements of a quasi-religious kind. The Otago
settlement was the outcome of the Scottish Disruption; its pioneers
landed in March, 1848. They were a band of Free Kirk Presbyterians,
appropriately headed by a Captain Cargill, a Peninsular veteran and a
descendant of Donald Cargill, and by the Rev. Thomas Burns, a minister
of sterling worth, who was a nephew of the poet. Otago has this year
celebrated her jubilee, and the mayor of her chief city, Captain
Cargill's son, is the first citizen of a town of nearly 50,000
inhabitants which in energy and beauty is worthy of its name--Dunedin.
For years, however, the progress of the young settlement was slow.
Purchasers of its land at the "sufficient price"--L2 an acre--were
provokingly few, so few indeed that the regulation price had to be
reduced. It had no Maori troubles worth speaking of, but the hills
that beset its site, rugged and bush-covered, were troublesome to
clear and settle, the winter climate is bleaker than that of northern
or central New Zealand, and a good deal of Scottish endurance and
toughness was needed before the colonists won their way through to the
more fertile and open territory which lay waiting for them, both on
their right hand and on their left, in the broad province of Otago.
Like General Grant in his last campaign, they had to keep on "pegging
away," and they did. They stood stoutly by their kirk, and gave it a
valuable endowment of land. Their leaders felt keenly the difficulty
of getting good school teaching for the children, a defect so well
repaired later on that the primary schools of Otago are now, perhaps,
the best in New Zealand, while Dunedin was the seat of the Colony's
first university college. They had a gaol, the prisoners of which in
early days were sometimes let out for a half-holiday, with the warning
from the gaoler, Johnnie Barr, that if they did not come back by eight
o'clock they would be locked out for the night.[1] The usual dress of
the settlers was a blue shirt, moleskin or corduroy trousers, and a
slouch hat. Their leader, Captain Cargill, wore always a blue "bonnet"
with a crimson knob thereon. They named their harbour Port Chalmers,
and a stream, hard by their city, the Water of Leith. The plodding,
brave, clannish, and cantankerous little community soon ceased to be
altogether Scotch. Indeed, the pioneers, called the Old Identities,
seemed almost swamped by the flood of gold-seekers which poured in in
the years after 1861. Nevertheless, Otago is still the headquarters
of that large and very active element in the population of the Colony
which makes the features and accent of North Britain more familiar to
New Zealanders than to most Englishmen.

[Footnote 1: An amusing article might be written on the more primitive
gaols of the early settlements. At Wanganui there were no means of
confining certain drunken bush-sawyers whose vagaries were a nuisance;
so they were fined in timber--so many feet for each orgie--and
building material for a prison thus obtained. When it was put up,
however, the sawyers had departed, and the empty house of detention
became of use as a storehouse for the gaoler's potatoes.

In a violent gale in the Southern Alps one of these wooden "lock-ups"
was lifted in air, carried bodily away and deposited in a neighbouring
thicket. Its solitary prisoner disappeared in the whirlwind. Believers
in his innocence imagined for him a celestial ascent somewhat like
that of Elijah. What is certain is that he was never seen again in
that locality.

A more comfortable gaol was that made for himself by a high and very
ingenious provincial official. Arrested for debt, he proclaimed his
own house a district prison, and as visiting Justice committed himself
to be detained therein.]

The next little colony founded in New Zealand dates its birth from
1850. Though it was to be Otago's next-door neighbour, it was neither
Presbyterian nor Scottish, but English and Episcopalian. This was the
Canterbury settlement. It owed its existence to an association in
which the late Lord Lyttelton was prominent. As in the case of Otago,
this association worked in conjunction with the New Zealand Company,
and proposed to administer its lands on the Wakefield system. Gibbon
Wakefield himself (his brother, the Colonel, had died in 1847)
laboured untiringly at its foundation, amid troubles which were
all the more annoying in that the association was in financial
difficulties from its birth.[1] Three pounds an acre was to be the
price of land in the Canterbury Block, of which one pound was to go
to the church and education, two pounds to be spent on the work of
development. The settlers landed in December, 1850, from four vessels,
the immigrants in which have ever since had in their new home the
exclusive right to the name of Pilgrims. The dream of the founders of
Canterbury was to transport to the Antipodes a complete section of
English society, or, more exactly, of the English Church. It was to be
a slice of England from top to bottom. At the top were to be an Earl
and a Bishop; at the bottom the English labourer, better clothed,
better fed, and contented. Their square, flat city they called
Christchurch, and its rectangular streets by the names of the Anglican
Bishoprics. One schismatic of a street called High was alone allowed
to cut diagonally across the lines of its clerical neighbours. But the
clear stream of the place, which then ran past flax, koromiko, and
glittering toe-toe, and now winds under weeping-willows, the founders
spared from any sacerdotal name; it is called Avon. When wooden
cottages and "shedifices" began to dot the bare urban sections
far apart, the Pilgrims called their town the City of Magnificent
Distances, and cheerfully told you how new-comers from London rode
through and out of Christchurch and thereafter innocently inquired
whether the town still lay much ahead. The Canterbury dream seems a
little pathetic as well as amusing now, but those who dreamed it were
very much in earnest in 1850, and they laid the foundation stones of a
fine settlement, though not precisely of the kind they contemplated.
Their affairs for some years were managed by John Robert Godley, a
name still well remembered at the War Office, where he afterwards
became Under-Secretary. He had been the life and soul of the
Canterbury Association, and as its agent went out to New Zealand,
partly in search of health and partly with the honourable ambition
to found a colony worthy of England. He made a strong administrator.
Their Earl and their Bishop soon fled from the hard facts of pioneer
life, but the Pilgrims as a rule were made of sterner stuff, and
sticking to their task, they soon spread over the yellow, sunny
plains, high-terraced mountain valleys, and wind-swept hillsides of
their province. Their territory was better suited than Otago for the
first stages of settlement, and for thirty years its progress was

[Footnote 1: It was when he was at this work that Dr. Garnett pictures
him so vividly--"the sanguine, enthusiastic projector, fertile,
inventive creator, his head an arsenal of expedients and every failure
pregnant with a remedy, imperious or suasive as suits his turn;
terrible in wrath or exuberant in affection; commanding, exhorting,
entreating, as like an eminent personage of old he

"With head, hands, wings or feet pursues his way,
And swims, or wades, or sinks, or creeps, or flies."]

On the surface there were certain differences between the Canterbury
colonists and those of Otago, which local feeling intensified in a
manner always paltry, though sometimes amusing. When the stiff-backed
Free-Churchmen who were to colonize Otago gathered on board the
emigrant ship which was to take them across the seas, they opened
their psalm-books. Their minister, like Burns' cottar, "waled a
portion wi' judicious care," and the Puritans, slowly chanting on,
rolled out the appeal to the God of Bethel:--

"God of our fathers, be the God
of their succeeding race!"

Such men and women might not be amusing fellow-passengers on a four
months' sea-voyage,--and, indeed, there is reason to believe that they
were not,--but settlers made of such stuff were not likely to fail in
the hard fight with Nature at the far end of the earth; and they did
not fail. The Canterbury Pilgrims, on the other hand, bade farewell
to old England by dancing at a ball. In their new home they did not
renounce their love of dancing, though their ladies had sometimes to
be driven in a bullock-dray to the door of the ballroom, and stories
are told of young gentlemen, enthusiastic waltzers, riding on
horseback to the happy scene clad in evening dress and with coat-tails
carefully pinned up. But the Canterbury folk did not, on the whole,
make worse settlers for not taking themselves quite so seriously as
some of their neighbours. The English gentleman has a fund of cheery
adaptiveness which often carries him through Colonial life abreast of
graver competitors. So the settler who built a loaf of station-bread
into the earthen wall of his house, alleging that it was the hardest
and most durable material he could procure, did not, we may believe,
find a sense of humour encumber him in the troubles of a settler's
life. For there were troubles. The pastoral provinces were no
Dresden-china Arcadia. Nature is very stubborn in the wilderness, even
in the happier climes, where she offers, for the most part, merely a
passive resistance. An occasional storm or flood was about her
only outburst of active opposition in South-eastern New Zealand.
Nevertheless, an educated European who finds himself standing in an
interminable plain or on a windy hillside where nothing has been done,
where he is about to begin that work of reclaiming the desert which
has been going on in Europe for thousands of years, and of which
the average civilized man is the calm, self-satisfied, unconscious
inheritor, finds that he must shift his point of view! The
nineteenth-century Briton face to face with the conditions of
primitive man is a spectacle fine in the general, but often ludicrous
or piteous in the particular. The loneliness, the coarseness, the
everlasting insistence of the pettiest and most troublesome wants and
difficulties, harden and brace many minds, but narrow most and torment
some. Wild game, song-birds, fish, forest trees, were but some of the
things of which there were few or none round nearly all the young
pastoral settlements. Everything was to make. The climate might be
healthy and the mountain outlines noble. But nothing but work, and
successful work, could reconcile an educated and imaginative man to
the monotony of a daily outlook over league after league of stony
soil, thinly clothed by pallid, wiry tussocks bending under an
eternal, uncompromising wind; where the only living creatures in sight
might often be small lizards or a twittering grey bird miscalled a
lark; or where the only sound, save the wind aforesaid, might be
the ring of his horse's shoe against a stone, or the bleat of a
dull-coated merino, scarcely distinguishable from the dull plain round
it. To cure an unfit new-comer, dangerously enamoured of the
romance of colonization, few experiences could surpass a week of
sheep-driving, where life became a prolonged crawl at the heels of a
slow, dusty, greasy-smelling "mob" straggling along at a maximum pace
of two miles an hour. If patience and a good collie helped the tyro
through that ordeal, such allies were quite too feeble to be of
service in the supreme trial of bullock-driving, where a long whip and
a vocabulary copious beyond the dreams of Englishmen were the only
effective helpers known to man in the management of the clumsy dray
and the eight heavy-yoked, lumbering beasts dragging it. Wonderful
tales are told of cultivated men in the wilderness, Oxonians disguised
as station-cooks, who quoted Virgil over their dish-washing or asked
your opinion on a tough passage of Thucydides whilst baking a batch of
bread. Most working settlers, as a matter of fact, did well enough
if they kept up a running acquaintance with English literature; and
station-cooks, as a race, were ever greater at grog than at Greek.

Prior to about 1857 there was little or no intercourse between the
various settlements. Steamers and telegraphs had not yet appeared. The
answer to a letter sent from Cook's Straits to Auckland might come
in seven weeks or might not. It would come in seventy hours now.
Despatches were sometimes sent from Wellington to Auckland _via_
Sydney, to save time. In 1850 Sir William Fox and Mr. Justice Chapman
took six days to sail across Cook's Straits from Nelson to Wellington,
a voyage which now occupies eight hours. They were passengers in the
Government brig, a by-word for unseaworthiness and discomfort. In this
vessel the South Island members of the first New Zealand parliament
spent nearly nine weeks in beating up the coast to the scene of
their labours in Auckland. But the delight with which the coming of
steamships in the fifties was hailed was not so much a rejoicing over
more regular coastal communication, as joy because the English Mail
would come sooner and oftener. How they did wait and watch for the
letters and newspapers from Home, those exiles of the early days!
Lucky did they count themselves if they had news ten times a year, and
not more than four months old. One of the best of their stories is of
a certain lover whose gallant grace was not unworthy a courtier
of Queen Elizabeth. One evening this swain, after securing at the
post-office his treasured mail budget, was escorting his lady-love
home through the muddy, ill-lighted streets of little Christchurch.
A light of some sort was needed at an especially miry crossing.
The devoted squire did not spread out his cloak, as did Sir Walter
Raleigh. He had no cloak to spread. But he deftly made a torch of his
unread English letters, and, bending down, lighted the way across the
mud. His sacrifice, it is believed, did not go wholly unrewarded.

[Illustration: THE CURVING COAST


One first-rate boon New Zealand colonists had--good health. Out
of four thousand people in Canterbury in 1854 but twenty-one were
returned as sick or infirm. It almost seemed that but for drink and
drowning there need be no deaths. In Taranaki, in the North Island,
among three thousand people in 1858-59 there was not a funeral for
sixteen months. Crime, too, was pleasantly rare in the settlements.
When Governor Grey, in 1850, appointed Mr. Justice Stephen to
administer law in Otago, that zealous judge had nothing to do for
eighteen months, except to fine defaulting jurors who had been
summoned to try cases which did not exist and who neglected to attend
to try them. Naturally the settlers complained that he did not earn
his L800 a year of salary. His office was abolished, and for seven
years the southern colonists did very well without a judge. Great was
the shock to the public mind when in March, 1855, a certain Mackenzie,
a riever by inheritance doubtless, "lifted" a thousand sheep in a
night from the run of a Mr. Rhodes near Timaru, in South Canterbury,
and disappeared with them among the Southern Alps. When he was
followed and captured, it was found that he had taken refuge in a
bleak but useful upland plain, a discovery of his which bears his name
to this day. He was set on horseback, with his hands tied, and driven
to Christchurch, 150 miles, by captors armed with loaded pistols. That
he was a fellow who needed such precautions was shown by three bold
dashes for freedom, which he afterwards made when serving a five
years' sentence. At the third of these attempts he was shot at and
badly wounded. Ultimately, he was allowed to leave the country.

A sheep-stealer might easily have fallen into temptation in Canterbury
at that time. In three years the settlers owned 100,000 sheep; in
four more half a million. Somewhat slower, the Otago progress was to
223,000 in ten years.

Neither in Canterbury nor Otago were the plough and the spade found to
be the instruments of speediest advance. They were soon eclipsed by
the stockwhip, the shears, the sheep-dog, and the wire-fence. Long
before the foundation of New Zealand, Macarthur had taught the
Australians to acclimatize the merino sheep. Squatters and shepherds
from New South Wales and Tasmania were quick to discover that the
South Island of New Zealand was a well-nigh ideal land for pastoral
enterprise, with a climate where the fleece of a well-bred merino
sheep would yield 4 lbs. of wool as against 21/2 lbs. in New South
Wales. Coming to Canterbury, Otago, and Nelson, they taught the new
settlers to look to wool and meat, rather than to oats and wheat,
for profit and progress. The Australian _coo-ee_, the Australian
buck-jumping horse, the Australian stockwhip and wide-awake hat came
into New Zealand pastoral life, together with much cunning in dodging
land-laws, and a sovereign contempt for small areas. In a few
years the whole of the east and centre of the island, except a few
insignificant cultivated patches, was leased in great "runs" of from
10,000 to 100,000 acres to grazing tenants. The Australian term
"squatter" was applied to and accepted good-humouredly by these.
Socially and politically, however, they were the magnates of the
colony; sometimes financially also, but not always. For the price of
sheep and wool could go down by leaps and bounds, as well as up; the
progeny of the ewes bought for 30s. each in 1862 might have to go at
5s. each in 1868, and greasy wool might fluctuate in value as much as
6d. a lb. Two or three bad years would deliver over the poor squatter
as bond-slave to some bank, mortgage company or merchant, to whom he
had been paying at least 10 per cent. interest, _plus_ 21/2 per cent.
commission exacted twice a year, on advances. In the end, maybe, his
mortgagee stepped in; he and his children saw their homestead, with
its garden and clumps of planted eucalypts, willows, and poplars--an
oasis in the grassy wilderness--no more. Sometimes a new squatter
reigned in his stead, sometimes for years the mortgagee left the place
in charge of a shepherd--a new and dreary form of absentee ownership.
Meanwhile, in the earlier years the squatters were merry monarchs,
reigning as supreme in the Provincial Councils as in the jockey clubs.
They made very wise and excessively severe laws to safeguard their
stock from infection, and other laws, by no means so wise, to
safeguard their runs from selection, laws which undoubtedly hampered
agricultural progress. The peasant cultivator, or "cockatoo" (another
Australian word), followed slowly in the sheep farmer's wake. As late
as 1857 there were not fifty thousand acres of land under tillage
in the South Island. Even wheat at 10s. a bushel did not tempt much
capital into agriculture, though such were the prices of cereals that
in 1855 growers talked dismally of the low price of oats--4s. 6d. a
bushel. Labour, too, preferred in many cases, and not unnaturally, to
earn from 15s. to L1 a day at shearing or harvest-time to entering on
the early struggles of the cockatoo. Nevertheless, many workers did
save their money and go on the land, and many more would have done so
but for that curse of the pioneer working-man--drink.

The Colony's chief export now came to be wool. The wool-growers looked
upon their industry as the backbone of the country. So, at any rate,
for many years it was. But then the system of huge pastoral leases
meant the exclusion of population from the soil. A dozen shepherds and
labourers were enough for the largest run during most of the year.
Only when the sheep had to be mustered and dipped or shorn were a band
of wandering workmen called in. The work done, they tramped off to
undertake the next station, or to drink their wages at the nearest

The endowed churches, the great pastoral leases, high-priced land (in
Canterbury), and the absence of Maori troubles, were the peculiar
features of the southern settlements of New Zealand. These new
communities, while adding greatly to the strength and value of the
Colony as a whole, brought their own special difficulties to its
rulers. With rare exceptions the settlers came from England and
Scotland, not from Australia, and were therefore quite unused to
despotic government. Having no Maori tribes in overwhelming force at
their doors, they saw no reason why they should not at once be trusted
with self-government. They therefore threw themselves heartily into
the agitation for a free constitution, which by this time was in
full swing in Wellington amongst the old settlers of the New Zealand
Company. Moreover, in this, for the first time in the history of the
Colony, the settlers were in accord with the Colonial Office. As
early as 1846, Earl Grey had sent out the draft of a constitution the
details of which need not detain us, inasmuch as it never came to
the birth. Sir George Grey refused to proclaim it, and succeeded in
postponing the coming-in of free institutions for six years For many
reasons he was probably right, if only because the Maoris still much
outnumbered the Whites; yet under Earl Grey's proposed constitution
they would have been entirely governed by the white minority. Warlike
and intelligent, and with a full share of self-esteem, they were not
a race likely to put up with such an indignity. But Governor Grey's
action, though justifiable, brought him into collision with the
southern settlers. Godley, with questionable discretion, flung himself
into the constitutional controversy.

Grey was successful in inducing the Maoris to sell a fair amount of
their surplus land. During the last years of his rule and the four or
five years after he went, some millions of acres were bought in the
North Island. This, following on the purchase of the whole of the
South Island, had opened the way for real progress. The huge estate
thus gained by the Crown brought to the front new phases of the
eternal land problem. The question had to be faced as to what were to
be the terms under which this land was to be sold and leased to the
settlers. Up to 1852 the settlers everywhere, except in Auckland, had
to deal, not with the Crown, but with the New Zealand Company. But in
1852 the Company was wound up, and its species of overlordship finally
extinguished. By an English Act of Parliament its debt to the Imperial
Government was forgiven. The Colony was ordered to pay it L263,000
in satisfaction of its land lien. This was commuted in the end for
L200,000 cash, very grudgingly paid out of the first loan raised by a
New Zealand parliament. Thereafter, the Company, with its high aims,
its blunders, its grievances, and its achievements, vanishes from the
story of New Zealand.

In the Church settlements of the South the Wakefield system came into
full operation under favourable conditions. Three pounds an acre were
at the outset charged for land. One pound went to the churches and
their schools. This system of endowment Grey set himself to stop, when
the Company's fall gave him the opportunity, and he did so at the cost
of embittering his relations with the Southerners, which already were
none too pleasant. For the rest, Canterbury continued within its
original special area to sell land at L2 an acre. When Canterbury was
made a province this area was enlarged by the inclusion of a tract in
which land had been sold cheaply, and in which certain large estates
had consequently been formed. Otherwise land has never been cheap in
Canterbury. The Wakefield system has been adhered to there, has been

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