William Gisborne.

New Zealand rulers and statesmen from 1840 to 1897 online

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Fro}n 1840 to 1897








Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, B.C.





Introductory — Natives — First colonization — Governor Hobson —
Chief Justice Sir William Martin — -Attorney-General Swain-
son — Bishop Selwyn — Colonel Wakefield — -New Zealand
Company — Captain Wakefield — Wairau massacre — Raupa-
raha — Acting-Governor Shortland — Governor Fitzroy .


Governor Sir George Grey, K.C.B. — Lieutenant-Governor Eyre
— New Constitution — Progress of Colonization — Recall of
Governor Sir George Grey ....... 33


Representative institutions — Acting-Governor Wynyard— Mr.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield — Mr. James Edward FitzGerald —
Dr. Featherston — Mr. Henry Sewell — Sir Frederick Whitaker
— Sir Francis Bell — First Parliament — Responsible govern-
ment — Native policy — Sir Edward Stafford — Mr. William
Richmond — Mr. James Richmond — Sir Harry Atkinson —
Richmond-Atkinson family .... • • • 57


Sir William Fox — Sir W'illiam Fitzherbert — Mr. Alfred Domett

— Sir John Hall ......... 102

vi Contents



Session of 1856 — Stafford Ministry — Provincial Question — Native
Government — Land League — King Movement — Wi Tami-
hana — Sir Donald McLean — Mr. F. D. Fenton — Session of
1858 — Taranaki Native Question — Waitara War — Fox
Ministry — Mr. Reader Wood — Mr. Walter Mantell — Respon-
sible Government — Return of Sir George Grey as Governor
— Domett Ministry — Whitaker-Fox Ministry . . . 125


Sir Frederick Weld — Major Sir John Richardson — Major Atkin-
son — Weld Government — Discord between Governor and
General-in-Command — Colony calumniated — Mr. James
Richmond — Stafford Ministries, 1865 and 1866— Colonel Sir
George Whitmore — Governor Sir George Bowen — Sir Julius
Vogel— Mr. J. D. Ormond— Dr. Pollen— Mr. G. M. Water-
house — Governor Marquis of Normanby — Vogel Ministry —
Mr. J. Macandrew — Sir Robert Stout — Mr. Wm. Rolleston
— Governor Sir Arthur Gordon — Governor Sir W. Jervois
— Sir G. M. O'Rorke — House of Representatives — Legis-
lative Council . . . . . . . . -173


Labour Movement — Socialism — New Zealand Legislation and
Administration — Finance — Land — Constitutional Reform —
Labour — Law Reform ....... 236


Mr. John Ballance — lion. R. J. Seddon— Hon. W. P. Reeves-
Mr. John McKenzie— Mr. J. G. Ward— Captain W. R.
Russell — Mr. George Hutchison— Mr. Scobie Mackenzie —
Sir James Hector — Captain Edvvin, R.N. — Captain Fairchild
— Conclusion . . . . . . • • -277

Appendix A 3^2

Appendix B 3^4

Index 3i7


Edward Gibbon Wakefield ...... Fj

Te Wheoro (Member of the N.Z. House of Representatives)

Bishop G. A. Selvvyn. Sir William Martin

Bishop G. A. Selwyn .

Native Chief. Major Ropata

Sir George Grey .

Mr. James Edward FitzGerald

Dr. Featherston .

Mr. Henry Sewell

Sir Frederick Whitaker, K.C.M.G

vSir Thomas Gore Browne .

Sir Edward William Stafford, G.C.M.G

Mr. C. W. Richmond ....

Mr. James Richmond and Grandcliiid

Sir Harry Atkinson, K.C.M.G.

Sir William Fox, K.C.M.G. .

Sir William P'itzherbert

Mr. Alfred Domett, C.M.G.

Sir John Hall, K.C.M.G. .

Sir Donald McLean, K.C.M.G. .

Native Chief Tawhiao. (Commonly called the Maori Kin

Mr. Reader Wood

Mr. W. S. Moorhouse .

Sir Frederick Weld, G.C.M.G.

Colonel Sir G. S. Whitmore, K.C.M.G

Sir George Bowen, G.C.M.G.

Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G.

Mr. John D. Ormond .

Mr.' George M/Waterhouse .

Sir James Fergusson,[Bart. .

















List of Illustrations

The Marquis of Nornianby,



Dr. Pollen

• 199

Mr. James Macandrew

. 203

Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G

. 205

Sir Hercules Robinson, G.C.M.G. (Now Lord Rosmead)

. 209

Mr. W. Rolleston

. 211

Sir Arthur Gordon, G C.M.G. (Now Lord Slanmore).

• 213

Sir W. F. D Jervois, G.C.M.G., C.B

■ 215

Lord Onslow, G.C.M.G.

. 217

The Earl of Glasgow, G.C.M.G.

• 223

Sir George Maurice O'Rorke
Hon. Charles Christopher Bowen

• 235

Mr. John Ballance
Hon. R. J. Seddon

• 279
. 281

Hon. W. P. Reeves
Mr. John McKenzie
Captain W. R. Russell

, ^^287

Mr. George Hutchison
Mr. .Scobie Mackenzie

• 303

• 305

Captain Edwin, R.N.
Captain Faiichild

• 307

• 309


Page 26, lines 4 and 13, for Nyapuhi read Ngapuhi.

Pages 55 and 56, speech of Hone Heke to be in inverted commas,
down to end of line 4, page 56.

Page 89, line 4 from bottom, y^r 1S65 read 1875.

Page loi, line i, after Simon insert Maccabeus.

Page 132, line 20, yir unconditional transfer ;-t'(Z// anomaly.

Page 154, line 16, for Waikonaiti read Waikouaiti ; and, same
Y\ne,for Waigongorau 7-ead Waigongoro.

Page 200, line ^, for 1876 read 1896.

Page 202, line \^, for hyperbole 7-ead hyperbola.

Page 215, line 2, for 1880 7-ead 1889.

Page 225, line 2, add, The Earl of Ranfurly has lately been
appointed as his successor.

Page 228, line 22, after himself insert and his House.

Page 231, line 23,/^;- not 7'ead now; line 26, /i;;- governor 7-ead
council ; erase rest of line 26 and lines 27 and 28 to full stop in
latter line ; line 2g,fnr present re^^/ former.

Page 235, line 3 from bottom, et-ase the Right Hon. Sir Charles

Page 249, line 10, between was and 1894, at the end of and
between 1894 and being, i/tsert 1993 ; and, in next line, for 1S94
7-ead 1893.

Page 258. line 9, for authority 7-ead authorities ; and line 27,
for ;i^4,i27 610 ;r^?i/;{^4, 127,619.

Page 268. line i\,for scenes read waters.

Page 283, line 5, after Sir William Fox i/tsei-i and in this
latter case he was not born to the office in the sense of natural
fitness for it, but in the sense of succession to it as the great leader
of the Opposition.

Page 2S4, line 14, add. He has lately been appointed by Her
Majesty a member of the Privy Council.

Page 304, line i'j,for Patia read Patea.

Page 321, Index, ez-ase Richmond, Judge Simon, loi, 232.

Index, page 322, line 4, for Seddon, Hon. P. J., read Seddon,
Hon. R. J.


Page 121, line Q,for these read \h\s.

Page 153, line 14 from hoiiom, for repellant re^K/ repelling.
Page 218, line 5 from bottom, /"or Uriwera read Urewera ; also
same correction in Index, page 322, in same name.
Page 246, line 8 from bottom, /!;;• 6745 >'t'ad 62^<-).



Indoductory — Natives — First colonization— Governor liolison — Chief
Justice Sir William Martin — Attorney-General Swainson — Bishop
Selwyn — Co'onel Wakefield— New^ Zealand Company — Captain
Wakefield — Wairau massacre — Rauparaha — Acting-Governor
Shortland — Governor Fitzroy.

In 1886, my work on " New Zealand Rulers and States-
men from 1840 to 1885 " was published. My object then
was to interweave the political history of New Zealand
from its foundation as a British Colony with slight
personal sketches of the public characters of the chief
political men in New Zealand, who have been prominently
engaged, from time to time, in the leading events of that
history. And in the hope of adding interest in the
personality of those men, I inserted, when practicable,
their portraits.

As that work is out of print, I propose now, ten years
afterwards, to revise it, and embody it in a new work on
the same lines, bringing a series of sititilar sketches to
the close of i8q6. The advice of friends, whose opinion
I highly value, has induced me to take this course ; but


2 Nnv Zealand Rulers and Statesmen

I do so with considerable reluctance and hesitation,
owing to the comparatively much greater disadvantages
under which, from my lengthened absence from New
Zealand, and from other causes, I now labour. I make
the attempt with a sincere wish to do my best, and in
the earnest hope that my feeble effort may add, however
little, to the public interest in a colony for which, from a
long residence and many years of public life there, I
entertain a strong affection. The Colony of New Zealand
has been from the first the puzzle of politicians. Its
history is a series of grave and intricate problems. Take
for instaix:e the assumption of British sovereignty
founded upon what is called the Treaty of Waitangi ;
the native land question ; the mutual relations of the
Crown, the natives, and the colonists ; the work of
colonization in the midst of civil warfare ; self-
government ; internal defence ; the union of the two
races under conflicting conditions. These problems
were, in one sense, worked on a small scale, but their
solution involves serious issues, affecting the honour of
the Crown, and the livec, property, and welfare of those
directly concerned. The consequence has been that
public men taking part in political administration of
New Zealand have from time to time been called upon
to deal with very difficult and important questions.
Many of these men have shown, in the performance of
these duties, ability, public spirit, and other great moral
qualities of no ordinary kind. It is true that they have
only been able to prove their worth in a small and remote
country, and that their fame, unlike that of great men at
the centres of civilization, has not been spread far and
wide. But the test of statesmanship is not altogether
its exercise on a large stage, and before many witnesses.
Statesmanship consists in ascertaining sound principles
of political action, and in wisely adapting them tocircum-

C apt a 171 Cook - 3

stances of time and place ; and its reality depends not alto-
gether on the question whether it affects a small colony or
a great empire. It is this feeling which leads me to hope
that even rough sketches of the personality of prominent
New Zealand rulers and statesmen may not only be a just
tribute to themselves, but also in some measure interest-
ing and instructive to others. So far as I am aware, no
such information has been afforded by any of the books
hitherto written about New Zealand, except indirectly
in a few cases. Many of the men in question are dead ;
others have retired from public life ; and time will soon
obliterate the recollections of those who, from personal
knowledge, are able to supply what is wanted. A long
residence of many years of official and political experience
in New Zealand induced me to undertake this work, in
the hope that I may be able, however imperfectly, to
give some record of those who have taken leading parts
in the politics of that country. Portraits of many of
them are also given, with the object of adding interest
to that record.

The birth of New Zealand as a British Colony was
strange and troublesome. Mrs. Mother-Country, as
represented by the Colonial Office, did not seem glad
that a Colony was born into the world. Outside
Downing Street, however, preparation had long been
made for this event. Captain Cook, the great English
navigator, had for all practical purposes discovered New
Zealand in 1769, and in the same year he took possession
of the island in the name of King George III. Moreover,
when New South Wales was declared in 1787 a part of
the British dominions, New Zealand, though not named,
was within the proclaimed boundary. Captain Cook
found a fine country, sparsely inhabited by a barbarous
race of cannibals. Forty years after Captain Cook's death
English missionaries occupied the Bay of Islands, almost

B 2

4 New Zealand Rulers and Statesmen

at the northern extremity of the North Island, a place
which afterwards became historical in connection with
the first recognized colonization of the country. In 1830
the natives were roughly estimated to number about
100,000 souls, of whom all but 3000 or 4000 lived in the
North Island. The different tribes were scattered over
widely separated districts, and their occupation consisted
in cultivating" fertile patches of land, in fishing, and in
fighting each other. They were naturally warlike ; their
inter-tribal wars, before Europeans came, were incessant,
and their customs in warfare were savage and ferocious.
Physically, the natives are middle-sized and well formed ;
their skin is of an olive-brown colour, and their hair is
generally black. Their voices are pleasant, and their
gestures, when not under warlike excitement, are grace-
ful and dignified. The}' have wonderful memories, and
are natural orators. They show great aptitude for
European customs. They have always recognized among
themselves tribal tenure of land, and each tribe holds
communally among its various sections, lands, forests,
cultivations, and fisheries, the respective boundaries of
which are all named and are well known among the
tribes generally. Missionary influence rapidl}' spread,
and whole tribes became converts to Christianit}'. The
tranquillity thus produced gave rise to regular attempts
on the part of many persons, mostly British subjects, to
settle in the country and to obtain from the natives
enormous tracts of land for nearly nominal considerations.
The British Government were fully aware of what was
going on, and when further inaction on their part became
impossible, they took no definite course, but vaguely did
as little as they could, and did that little badly. The old
farce of allowing their hand to be forced was solemnly
re-enacted. A British resident, Mr. James Busby, with
no power and with uncertain responsibility, was appointed

Captain Hobson 5

at the Bay of Islands. Then the Colonial Secretary for
State, at Mr. Busby's instigation, recognized the inde-
pendence of the native race, and presented it with a
National Flag. As a set-off to this international absurdit}',
Baron de Thierry, a Frenchman, proclaimed himself
sovereign of New Zealand. Mr. Busby retorted by
creating on paper a provisional government, with himself
at the head, of the " united tribes of New Zealand," a
proceeding which Sir George Gipps, Governor of New
South Wales, well described as " a silly and unauthorized
act of paper pellet fired off at Baron de Thierry." To
make the complication worse, a report soon sprang up
that France was about to make New Zealand a convict
colony. In 1839 the New Zealand Company, founded
with the object of reviving systematic colonization, after
long and fruitless negotiation with the Colonial Office,
took the bold step of sending to New Zealand a pre-
liminary expedition, under the command of Colonel
William Wakefield, with instructions to purchase land
from the natives, and to select the site of the first settle-
ment. All this threatening crowd of circumstances at
last roused the Secretary of State to the necessity of
establishing substantial British authority in New Zealand.
Captain Hobson, an officer of the Royal Navy, was forth-
with sent out as Consul, with a dormant commission as
Lieutenant-Governor, and W'ith orders to negotiate with
the native chiefs for the cession of the sovereignty of the
Islands to the Queen of England.

Captain Hobson was the first Governor of New
Zealand, and during his brief rule of somewhat less than
three years, he found a " sea of troubles." The burden
of his office acting on an irritable temperament and a
delicate state of health was fatal to him. He died while
he was Governor on September loth, 1843, at the early
age of forty-nine. He had many good qualities ; he was

6 Neiv Zealand Rulers and Statesmen

straightforward, just, sensible, and anxious to do his
dut}'. Placed in a position of exceptional embarrassment,
he was daily beset by no common difficulties. His first
duty was to negotiate with uncivilized tribes for the
country which he was commissioned to govern. Then
he was called on to substitute peace, order, and good
government for absolute anarchy ; and to do this under
difficult and dangerous conditions. On the one hand an
aboriginal race, armed, warlike, jealous of its own position,
suspicious of interference and ignorant of English laws,
language, and habit, occupied the country. On the
other hand there was an ugly rush of promiscuous
adventurers, representing in many instances the worst
phases of civilized life, claiming to have purchased
enormous tracts of native land, eager to acquire more,
and offering in return the fatal, but too tempting, gifts
of guns and gunpowder. The Governor, without money
and without physical force, was expected to combine the
conflicting elements and to subject them to a satisfactory
system of peaceful administration. Meantime, except for
a few months during which he was subordinate to the
Governor of New South Wales, he was at a distance of
halt the globe from his official superior, and could not
expect to receive replies to his letters in less, at
the earliest, than eight months. To make his diffi-
culties greater, the country itself was practically un-
traversable, and coastal communication, except by
sailing vessel, specially despatched for each trip, was
unknown. The New Zealand Company was engaged at
the other extremity of the North Island in negotiating,
in spite of the English Government, with the natives for
the purpose of acquiring large territories and of founding
settlements. Under all these circumstances it is not
surprising that Captain Hobson should have made
mistakes, but it is surprising that he made so few. His

Captain Hobsoii J

gravest fault was his treatment of the New Zealand
Company, but in this course it must be owned he only
followed the original lead of the Colonial Office. Far
from appreciating the struggle of that Company to
introduce systematic colonization and trying to make it
useful as a powerful factor in that great work, he re-
garded it with unmitigated aversion and pursued it with

Te Whcoro (Member of the N.Z. House of Representatives).

unceasing enmity. He felt towards it as Mr. Bumble
felt towards Oliver Twist. But the New Zealand Com-
pany was no poor suffering workhouse bo}'. It had
influence in the Imperial Parliament and in the English
press ; and moreover, whatever were its faults, it had on
the whole a just cause. It stood out distinctly and by
itself from the mass of those harpies who greedily

8 Neii' Zealand Rulers and Statesmen

clutched at all land for selfish purposes. The aim of the
latter \vas to make money quocunijiie modo^ the aim oi
the Company was colonization. And at last it gained
its aim. Curiously enough it is partly owing to the
course taken by Captain Hobson and to the persistence
of the Company, that New Zealand, differing in that
respect from other colonies, has been colonized from
separate centres under distinct and different conditions.
This circumstance, trivial as it may seem, has been the
effective cause of the rapid growth of the Colony and of
its wonderful vitality. To revert, however, to Captain
Hobson, it is only right to say that in the main his
administration was very creditable to himself. He
succeeded in quickly obtaining the cession of sovereignty
to the Queen in the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi.
And, however unfavourably jurists may criticize that
treaty, there is no doubt that its moral influence has
done much to secure the loyalty of many native tribes,
and that it has been and is still regarded by them as
the charter of their liberties. Captain Hobson also
selected Auckland as the seat of government ; and,
altogether apart from political questions, he selected at
the time one of the best sites in the Colony for a large
town. His promptitude preserved Akaroa from the
French flag. He vindicated the law b}^ the trial and
execution of the murderer Maketu. He established
government and had excellent laws passed for the ad-
ministration of justice and for regulating property and
civil rights. Governor Hobson died an unpopular man.
At Auckland people were dissatisfied because he could
not sanction large public expenditure. In the South
the settlers of the New Zealand Compan}- detested him
because he had not made Wellington the seat of govern-
ment. But in his case, as in the case of many other
public men, justice has been posthumous. His memory

Captain. Hobson 9

is now generally respected, and the correctness ot his
judgment under extraordinarily difficult circumstances is
generally admitted. At the time of his death the natives
who knew him well held him in high esteem. In a
petition from some chiefs to Her Majesty for another
Governor there were these touching words : " Let him
be a good man, as this Governor who has just died."

Bishop G. A. .s^

bir William Martin.

Three men of high standing and closely connected
with the early history of New Zealand began their public
career in the time of Governor Hobson ; these were
Chief Justice Martin, Attorney-General Swainson, and
Bishop Selwyn. Mr. Martin, afterwards Sir William
Martin, was the first Chief Justice of New Zealand. He
was a man of high attainments ; able as a lawyer, dis-

10 New Zealand Rulers and Statesmen

tinguished as a scholar and linguist, endowed with a mind
of great power, earnest thoughtfulness, and possessed of
a large fund of information. He had moral qualities of high
order, and his disposition was remarkable and modest and
gentle. His nature was altogether one of light and sweet-
ness. As a judge he was beyond praise. He was patient,
just, sagacious, and firm. He gave invaluable aid in pre-
paring the first legislation of the Colony. His physical
frame was weak, and he suffered much from ill-health. To
this, and to the requirements of his judicial position, may
probably be owing an imperfection in his character. He
was too much a man of the closet, and too little a man
of the world, and he rather inclined in some matters to
what was philosophical more than to what was practical.
He had an enthusiastic love for the native race, and he
did mvich for its welfare. He held strong views on the
native land question and on the mutual relations of the
two races, and communicated those views from time to
time to successive Governors. Much of what he wrote
on native subjects was based on sound principles ; but in
many cases he did not make enough allowance for
practical necessities. He dwelt more on what ought to
be done than on what could be done. It is certain,
however, that his views as a whole had a wholesome
influence both in the Colony and in England, and aided
to restrain public men, who glibly spoke of settling the
native question once for all, from rushing into foolish
policies and dangerous experiments. Sir William Martin
retired from the New Zealand bench in 1857, and after
a life of much great and good work died in England in
1880 at the age of seventy-two.

Mr. William Swainson, the first Attorney-General of
New Zealand, was an able lawyer, but an indifferent
politician. He conducted admirably cases in the Supreme
Court, and was very skilful in drafting laws in simple

Mr. Willia)ii Swainson 1 1

and effective language. But as a statesman he was not
a success. He had a prudish horror of pubhcity, and
of the profane crowd. He hked to sit behind tlie
throne and to pull the strings. Sinuous and secretive in
his nature, he worked unseen. He prided himself on
being a safe man, and yet he was often a dangerous
counsellor in public affairs. He almost persuaded
Acting-Governor Shortland to renounce the Queen's
sovereignty over part of New Zealand. He allowed
Governor Fitzroy to issue illegal grants of land, and to
waive illegally the Crown right of pre-emption. He
induced Acting-Governor Wynyard to play fast and
loose in 1854 with responsible government, and to com-
mit grave absurdities. For instance, on his advice that
Acting-Governor strained at the gnat of entire respon-
sible government in the absence of ofificial instruction,

Online LibraryWilliam GisborneNew Zealand rulers and statesmen from 1840 to 1897 → online text (page 1 of 24)