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The constitution of New Zealand: despatch from Sir George Grey to the Right Hon. Earl Grey online

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authorised to apply 15 per cent, of the laiid
fund to such purposes ; and that the General
Government alone would have the power of
treating with the natives for the purchase of
their lands. I do not consider it necessary to
repeat here any arguments in support of what
appears an evident truth, — that the question of the
control and management of the large native
population living beyond the limits of European
settlement, who by being either left immersed in
barbarism, or being roused to war, might entail
great expense and loss of life and property, both
upon Great Britain and every part of these islands
— is a general question which possesses at present
an interest for the whole Empire, and for the whole
colony, rather than for any particular province.

75. Having now fully reported upon the form of
constitution which I think should be given to these
islands, and upon the nature of the Executive
Governments which would best conduce to the
effective working of such institutions, I have, in
reference to these parts of the subject, only to
report, that in order to admit of the immediate
introduction of the institutions I have recommended,
or of any other form of government which Her
Majesty's Government may be pleased to adopt, I
shall only make any appointments under the
Provincial Councils Ordinance, which I may find it
necessary to make before I can receive your Lord-
ship's reply to this despatch, subject to the condition
that they are mere temporary appointments, the
tenure of which is likely almost immediately to
terminate.

7G. I have further to report that, in as far as
depends upon me, all general laws necessary for
the immediate introduction of such institutions
have been already enacted by the General Legisla-
ture ; that the revenues of the country are in a most
satisfactory state ; and that such economy has been
exercised that each Provincial Legislature would
enter upon its functions, not only free from debt,
but with some surplus revenue at its disposal. The
enclosed circular despatch,* which I have had

* Circular from the Colonial Secretary of New Munster, dated 4th

September, 1851.



CONSTITUTION ACT. 39

addressed to the principal officers of the Govern-
ment at the respective settlements, will show that I
have made the necessary financial arrangements to
bring the proposed system of representative institu-
tions into immediate operation. The whole of these
islands are now in a state of complete tranquillity ;
every settlement is in a prosperous condition ;
the native race are loyal, contented, and daily
increasing in wealth, and the Local Government
now possesses very considerable influence over
them. I also believe the proposed form of institu-
tions could gradually be introduced in such a
manner that not the 'slightest shock or change in
the condition of the colony would be experienced.
Probably, therefore, no more suitable moment could
be chosen for giving a fitting constitution to this
country ; and I think that if the Queen is advised
to avail herself of this opportunity. Her Majesty
will have the happiness of conferring upon her
subjects in this country a boon which will be re-
garded by them with lasting gratitude.

77. In submitting the foregoing plan for your
Lordship's consideration, I should state that I have
no doubt, if it should be tried by the test of ex-
perience, it will from time to time be found capable
of receiving considerable improvements ; but I
think it presents the advantage of being admirably
adapted to the present state of New Zealand, and
of at the same time containing those elements which
will enable it, without any sudden or startling
change being made, to be immediately brought
into operation, and then afterwards to be adapted
to the changing circumstances of a young and
rapidly increasing country.

78, Should Her Majesty's Government determine
to introduce the proposed form of institutions into
New Zealand, then I beg respectfully to state, that
I think the best mode of eftecting this would be,
after obtaining such farther sanction as might be
required from Parliament, to adopt the same course
as was pursued in 1840, of conferring the proposed
constitution on New Zealand in the form of a
Charter, and Royal Instructions, divided into
chapters, as the clear division of subjects into
chapters, and the plain and simple language, un=



40 THE NEW ZEALAND CONSTITUTION ACT.

embarrassed by technicalities, which could be so
conveniently and appropriately used in Royal
Instructions drawn on the model of those of 184G,
would bring the whole subject entirely within the
comprehension of the numerous individuals upon
whom the beneficial working of such a constitution
would depend.

I have, &:c.,
(Signedj G. Grey.

The Right Hon. Earl Grey,



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Online LibraryGreat Britain. Colonial OfficeThe constitution of New Zealand: despatch from Sir George Grey to the Right Hon. Earl Grey → online text (page 4 of 4)