Object #1011461 from MS-Papers-0032-0276

5 pages written 19 Aug 1855 by Josiah Flight in Te Henui to Sir Donald McLean in Auckland Region

From: Inward letters - Josiah Flight, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0276 (45 digitised items). 43 letters addressed from Mangoraka, Te Ika Moana, Resident Magistrate's Office, New Plymouth, Henui, 1846-1872, and undated. Also letter from A D Flight, 6 Mar [187-], New Plymouth to Sir Donald McLean; letter from Josiah Flight to Thomas Kelly, 22 Jul 1870 re Cape Egmont Flax CompanyAlso poem addressed to `My dear Donald McLean' entitled `No Land' (on verso) written by Josiah Flight

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)

Henui
19th August 1855


My dear Sir,

The present critical posture of affairs, in connexion with our position with the Natives; and their own welfare, especially considered as it may be affected by the arrival of our new Governor, induces me again to occupy your time and attention by writing you some of my cogitations on this subject; though from your silence I might be almost left to suppose that my letters to you were worse than superfluous. Assured however that our views are on this matter alike as to the one great axiom of desiring the greatest good to the greatest number I will make no further apology and will venture another flight (pardon the pun) of my pen to you. I have with no little anxiety and as much regret watched the growth of the late troubles amongst our Aboriginal neighbours, and perceiving no other alternatives am obliged to come to the conclusion that all pacific and expostulatory means having failed to bring the natives to view the acts and wishes of our Parent Government as tending to promote their best interests, the time has arrived when a severe chastisement has become necessary to make the unruly portion of the native community feel that they will no longer be permitted to disturb the peace, and impede the improvement and welfare of the whole family. You will I trust pardon my briefly tracing the policy of our Government towards the Aboriginal inhabitants of this Country with regard to the acquisitions of land when I assure you I do so from the desire I have that as I am not so intimately acquainted with the subject as yourself I may have the advantage of being set right by you on any portion of it wherein my views may be erroneous. In colonizing New Zealand, the Company who undertook it did so on the fundemental condition that the land necessary for

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English (ATL)

their purposes was only to be obtained by purchase from the Aboriginal occupiers of the soil. The treaty of Waitangi too, clearly laid down that principle of the English Government as the foundation of their relations with the Natives. The first Governor in carrying that principle into practice so far assisted the Company as to pay a sum of money to the conquerors of this district for the extinguishment of their claim to it on the right so obtained. The Home Government jealously watching over this principle, of right to the soil, by the natives sent out a Commission to enquire into the manner into which the Company as well as others had pretendedly or otherwise acquired considerable tracts of land in New Zealand. Mr. Spain entrusted with that Commission amongst other awards made one in reference to this place wherein he declared that the purchase was a valid one, and appeared especially to rely on the payment made to the Waikatos. Shortly afterwards our second Governor carried away by his feelings in favour of those who had by war been dispossessed of their lands reversed Mr. Spain's decision, and so far as he was able put the former Native occupants in possession. Our late Governor knowing how dangerous it would be to adopt a line of policy towards the Natives opposed to that of his predecessor exerted himself to repurchase that which Mr. Spain had decided, had been previously rightly obtained and would not in any instance use other means to acquire possession of land. The Waikatos have however never relinquished their Sovreignty (if I may use such an expression) to this District, for when through the interference of the Wesleyan Missionaries the Puketapus had their freedom given them, and they were allowed to return again to their former homes it was on condition, that the latter should do so for the purpose of cultivating the land and living on peaceable and friendly terms with the Europeans. I believe up to this day the Waikatos look on the occupation of this land more as a permissive one than any other. So long as the natives merely refused to sell their lands, so long were we bound religiously to respect the promise made that they should not be interfered with, and we had only patiently to wait until they became convinced that it would be for their interests to sell them, but when a sectional part, banded with other tribes, to forcibly prevent those who were disposed to sell, from doingso; and when this combination assumed the form of a league the ramifications of which are widely extending; a league established

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English (ATL)

for the avowed purpose of using violent even deadly means if necessary to prevent any further sale of lands to the Europeans, may we not expect that if that league is not put down, their success will embolden them to take another adverse step, and attempt to dispossess us of what we now hold; thus bringing on that war of races; which the present opportunity if rightly directed may enable us to prevent. I will now give you my views of the course which appears to me may be taken. Wirimu Kingi having falsified his promise to the Governor by taking part with Katatori so soon as His Excellency left this Settlement, and having in conjunction with Katatori brought up the Ngatiruanuis, should be got rid of. As the Waikatos have already received payment for the land, and virtually given up the possession of it to the Puketapus, they cannot be treated with as owners; but as they have never put us in possession and still assert their rights as conquerors I think they might successfully be called on to settle this matter by removing those turbulent Chiefs together with some of the ringleaders in the massacre of Rawiri and his people; and thus put us in possession of the land: the portion of Puketapus remaining friendly to us receiving payment for the land in the same manner, and at the same rate as though no disturbance had taken place: the Waikatos receiving a payment for their time and trouble in coming down to effect this purpose. I would allow the same privilege to the friendly Natives in the repurchase of land as that which was given at the time of the purchase of the Hua and Waiwakaiho blocks. The league too must be broken up, and as a large number of the Ngatiraanuis have been the most active in forming and extending it I think if possible they should be made to share in the punishment. Surely such a consummation cannot be weighed by any money valuation, when we reflect on the great good that would accrue to the natives from breaking up their present mode of herding together, and locating them on seperate and individual holdings, where the labours of the Missionary and the Schoolmaster might be brought into salutary and useful exercise; where the native woman would have a better chance of taking her proper place in her family, and be brought to exercise that humanizing influence without which our best plans for raising the social state of the Maori race will prove unavailing. We

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English (ATL)

have an Ordinance whereby the natives are prevented from disposing of their lands but to the Government: should we not then protect those who are willing to sell from the armed dictation of those who object to do so? And may we not fairly expect that if we do so protect them that the number of well affected natives will greatly increase so that the British law will move quickly be looked on by them as their best safeguard? I fear that you will consider me tedious on this matter, especially as I know how sensitively alive you are to the subject; but feeling as I do how momentous is the present crisis I believe you forgive my prolixity. Mr. Turton informs me that we may expect to see you soon, and as I may not have an opportunity of doing so immediately on your arrival allow me now to express the wishes of my better half in which I need not say how cordially I write that we may have the pleasure of entertaining you as our guest so long as you can make any use of our humble home. You know we cannot promise you more than a hearty welcome. Pray accept the kind regards and best wishes for your welfare from each of my family and believe me to be, my dear Sir


Yours ever fthfly
Josiah Flight
D. McLean Esqr. J. P. etc. etc. Auckland

(20th) I forgot yesterday to tell you that reports are in general circulation that the Bishop is endeavouring to patch up a kind of hollow peace between the contending parties of Natives and that he has even gone so far as to propose that Katatori and his people should be left alone and that Aramakaraka's party should retire from where they are. The Bishop's party are certainly endeavouring to get up a party to damage Mr. Turton in the eyes of the people but in this as well as their other proceedings they must fail --- "Truth is great and must prevail" and Mr. Turton has it on his side. We must not however shut our eyes or ears to the attempts that will be made to settle this matter as a little question. The drunkenness that prevails amongst the Maoris is truly awful to witness. W. King and Katatori are continually in such a state. It is quite time that some steps were taken to put a stop to this horrible state of things. J.F.

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English (ATL)


Just before posting this letter I read. your kind note of the 6th Inst. by the "Duke of Portland". Mr. H. Halse desires me to say that since posting his letter he has recd. your despatches of August 1st covering circulars to Native Chiefs.

English (ATL)

Henui
19th August 1855


My dear Sir,

The present critical posture of affairs, in connexion with our position with the Natives; and their own welfare, especially considered as it may be affected by the arrival of our new Governor, induces me again to occupy your time and attention by writing you some of my cogitations on this subject; though from your silence I might be almost left to suppose that my letters to you were worse than superfluous. Assured however that our views are on this matter alike as to the one great axiom of desiring the greatest good to the greatest number I will make no further apology and will venture another flight (pardon the pun) of my pen to you. I have with no little anxiety and as much regret watched the growth of the late troubles amongst our Aboriginal neighbours, and perceiving no other alternatives am obliged to come to the conclusion that all pacific and expostulatory means having failed to bring the natives to view the acts and wishes of our Parent Government as tending to promote their best interests, the time has arrived when a severe chastisement has become necessary to make the unruly portion of the native community feel that they will no longer be permitted to disturb the peace, and impede the improvement and welfare of the whole family. You will I trust pardon my briefly tracing the policy of our Government towards the Aboriginal inhabitants of this Country with regard to the acquisitions of land when I assure you I do so from the desire I have that as I am not so intimately acquainted with the subject as yourself I may have the advantage of being set right by you on any portion of it wherein my views may be erroneous. In colonizing New Zealand, the Company who undertook it did so on the fundemental condition that the land necessary for their purposes was only to be obtained by purchase from the Aboriginal occupiers of the soil. The treaty of Waitangi too, clearly laid down that principle of the English Government as the foundation of their relations with the Natives. The first Governor in carrying that principle into practice so far assisted the Company as to pay a sum of money to the conquerors of this district for the extinguishment of their claim to it on the right so obtained. The Home Government jealously watching over this principle, of right to the soil, by the natives sent out a Commission to enquire into the manner into which the Company as well as others had pretendedly or otherwise acquired considerable tracts of land in New Zealand. Mr. Spain entrusted with that Commission amongst other awards made one in reference to this place wherein he declared that the purchase was a valid one, and appeared especially to rely on the payment made to the Waikatos. Shortly afterwards our second Governor carried away by his feelings in favour of those who had by war been dispossessed of their lands reversed Mr. Spain's decision, and so far as he was able put the former Native occupants in possession. Our late Governor knowing how dangerous it would be to adopt a line of policy towards the Natives opposed to that of his predecessor exerted himself to repurchase that which Mr. Spain had decided, had been previously rightly obtained and would not in any instance use other means to acquire possession of land. The Waikatos have however never relinquished their Sovreignty (if I may use such an expression) to this District, for when through the interference of the Wesleyan Missionaries the Puketapus had their freedom given them, and they were allowed to return again to their former homes it was on condition, that the latter should do so for the purpose of cultivating the land and living on peaceable and friendly terms with the Europeans. I believe up to this day the Waikatos look on the occupation of this land more as a permissive one than any other. So long as the natives merely refused to sell their lands, so long were we bound religiously to respect the promise made that they should not be interfered with, and we had only patiently to wait until they became convinced that it would be for their interests to sell them, but when a sectional part, banded with other tribes, to forcibly prevent those who were disposed to sell, from doingso; and when this combination assumed the form of a league the ramifications of which are widely extending; a league established for the avowed purpose of using violent even deadly means if necessary to prevent any further sale of lands to the Europeans, may we not expect that if that league is not put down, their success will embolden them to take another adverse step, and attempt to dispossess us of what we now hold; thus bringing on that war of races; which the present opportunity if rightly directed may enable us to prevent. I will now give you my views of the course which appears to me may be taken. Wirimu Kingi having falsified his promise to the Governor by taking part with Katatori so soon as His Excellency left this Settlement, and having in conjunction with Katatori brought up the Ngatiruanuis, should be got rid of. As the Waikatos have already received payment for the land, and virtually given up the possession of it to the Puketapus, they cannot be treated with as owners; but as they have never put us in possession and still assert their rights as conquerors I think they might successfully be called on to settle this matter by removing those turbulent Chiefs together with some of the ringleaders in the massacre of Rawiri and his people; and thus put us in possession of the land: the portion of Puketapus remaining friendly to us receiving payment for the land in the same manner, and at the same rate as though no disturbance had taken place: the Waikatos receiving a payment for their time and trouble in coming down to effect this purpose. I would allow the same privilege to the friendly Natives in the repurchase of land as that which was given at the time of the purchase of the Hua and Waiwakaiho blocks. The league too must be broken up, and as a large number of the Ngatiraanuis have been the most active in forming and extending it I think if possible they should be made to share in the punishment. Surely such a consummation cannot be weighed by any money valuation, when we reflect on the great good that would accrue to the natives from breaking up their present mode of herding together, and locating them on seperate and individual holdings, where the labours of the Missionary and the Schoolmaster might be brought into salutary and useful exercise; where the native woman would have a better chance of taking her proper place in her family, and be brought to exercise that humanizing influence without which our best plans for raising the social state of the Maori race will prove unavailing. We have an Ordinance whereby the natives are prevented from disposing of their lands but to the Government: should we not then protect those who are willing to sell from the armed dictation of those who object to do so? And may we not fairly expect that if we do so protect them that the number of well affected natives will greatly increase so that the British law will move quickly be looked on by them as their best safeguard? I fear that you will consider me tedious on this matter, especially as I know how sensitively alive you are to the subject; but feeling as I do how momentous is the present crisis I believe you forgive my prolixity. Mr. Turton informs me that we may expect to see you soon, and as I may not have an opportunity of doing so immediately on your arrival allow me now to express the wishes of my better half in which I need not say how cordially I write that we may have the pleasure of entertaining you as our guest so long as you can make any use of our humble home. You know we cannot promise you more than a hearty welcome. Pray accept the kind regards and best wishes for your welfare from each of my family and believe me to be, my dear Sir


Yours ever fthfly
Josiah Flight
D. McLean Esqr. J. P. etc. etc. Auckland

(20th) I forgot yesterday to tell you that reports are in general circulation that the Bishop is endeavouring to patch up a kind of hollow peace between the contending parties of Natives and that he has even gone so far as to propose that Katatori and his people should be left alone and that Aramakaraka's party should retire from where they are. The Bishop's party are certainly endeavouring to get up a party to damage Mr. Turton in the eyes of the people but in this as well as their other proceedings they must fail --- "Truth is great and must prevail" and Mr. Turton has it on his side. We must not however shut our eyes or ears to the attempts that will be made to settle this matter as a little question. The drunkenness that prevails amongst the Maoris is truly awful to witness. W. King and Katatori are continually in such a state. It is quite time that some steps were taken to put a stop to this horrible state of things. J.F.

Just before posting this letter I read. your kind note of the 6th Inst. by the "Duke of Portland". Mr. H. Halse desires me to say that since posting his letter he has recd. your despatches of August 1st covering circulars to Native Chiefs.

Part of:
Inward letters - Josiah Flight, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0276 (45 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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