Object #1026059 from MS-Papers-0032-0276

4 pages written 22 Mar 1858 by Josiah Flight in New Plymouth District to Christopher William Richmond 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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Page 1 of 4. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

(Copy). New Plymouth,

22nd March, 1858.



My dear Sir,

The present critical state of affairs in connexion with the Natives is such that I offer no apology for inflicting a letter upon you at a time when I am aware that you are overwhelmed with business in preparing for the approaching meeting of the General Assembly

On Saturday last I received from Mr. Turton a letter from which I extract the following communication.

"Sorry to hear of all your new disturbances. They were originally the origin of the King movement in Waikato, and now it is reviving again in all its strength. The 2nd leading chief told me, that they saw either that we were afraid to interfere in their fatal quarrels; or that we failed to do so, under design of allowing them to kill each other, and thus the more readily conquer the remainder, But that in either case, it was necessary that they should from themselves into a distinct power, since they could no longer have any reliance upon the Queen's authority. And now, they say, that if the Government act so cruelly towards their race, any longer, by non-interference, they will be obliged to send down to Taranaki, and act independently of it".

Last week Mr. H. Halse informed me that in conversation with some Waikato Natives they had told him it was their intention to come down early next month for the purpose of interposing between the two hostile parties, and preventing any further fighting, or rather, putting

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English (ATL)

down by force whichever party, that wished to continue the war. This information strongly impressed me when considering the letter of Ihaia and his people, offering to place themselves under the protection of British law and power, and submitting themselves thereto.

Of course only an unconditional surrender could be listened to, and when Mr. Halse returned from the Waitara and informed us that they meant by their letter only to imply that such submission referred to their future conduct, and not to the killing of Katatori, which they considered by Maori usage had been fully expiated, all idea of interfering on their behalf was abandoned, until further instructions were sent from the Government, or until a letter should be sent offering to make such an unconditional surrender. Yesterday Major Murray sent me an official communication which shews his intention of abiding strictly by the letter of his instructions, these he considers would prevent his rendering any assistance beyond the European boundaries.

Mr. Whiteley informed me last night that he had been at Ihaia's pa and in conversation with him elicited that if a judicial enquiry were to be made into the conduct of all persons on either side who had participated in the murders of the various Natives killed here, he would readily submit to such an enquiry so far as he and any of his people were concerned. Now as this would criminate the leading men on each side, they being more or less involved in these disastrous affairs than Ihaia himself, a Commission if appointed to enquire into them would bring before it such a number, that all would be likely to concur in a general amnesty, and thus if this were granted a foundation might be laid for making the British law paramount throughout New Zealand.

This accompanied with a Proclamation that no more fighting would be permitted by the Government would satisfy the Natives generally, who appear to be growing quite sick of these miserably devastating quarrels, and do more than anything

Page 3 of 4. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

else to put down the Maori King movement. I greatly fear that unless the Government now step in to put an end to this quarrel, any interference of the Waikatos may turn the scales against the English, and that we shall find those whom we might now make friends or confirm them as such, will become our decided opponents.

Mr. Whiteley further informed me that after the conversation before alluded to Ihaia had intrusted him with a duplicate of the former letter, now containing ninety five signatures, thereby confirming the wishes expressed in the original. I feel fully persuaded that were his Excellency to issue a Proclamation to the Natives declaring his intention to interfere to put an end to this quarrel; pointing out in a plain and firm manner the ills and misery attending it, and expressing his care for their welfare in so interfering, such a measure would be hailed by a very great proportion of the Natives as a boon. I am aware that great difficulties would attend the carrying of it out, but I do not believe they would be insuperable, and the end to be obtained is so noble a one that the attempt must I believe signify the man who shall make it.

Be assured that we shall never have any solid peace or enjoy quietness in New Zealand until British law be proclaimed, and maintained not only as supreme, but as the only one. The Maoris must not only be forced to submit to, but must also be brought to feel that they enjoy the protection of our laws and government; in fact they must become convinced that such laws and government are equally theirs.

Whenever this is accomplished the prosperity of the country will have been settled on a firm basis. Until then we are in constant danger of an explosion, the consequences of which it is fearful to contemplate. We have hitherto tided over these difficulties but I believe the time has now arrived, when we must once and for ever put them down, or they may become too great for us to grapple with. I trust that though crudely, I have yet expressed my views sufficiently clear, on

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English (ATL)

this subject which so continually fastens itself on my mind, as to shew that an opportunity now presents itself to save the remnants of a people, who only require the blessing of a strong, paternal Government to enable them to become in the scale of civilization, individually, one with us, and thereby to lend their aid in carrying forward the prosperity and happiness of this fair portion of Her Majesty's dominions. Secure to them equally with us, protection to their persons and property, and peace necessarily resulting, they would soon be found exerting a friendly rivalry in developing the resources of this fine country,


I am, etc., (Signed)
Josiah Flight.
C. W. Richmond, Esqr., Auckland.

English (ATL)

(Copy). New Plymouth,

22nd March, 1858.



My dear Sir,

The present critical state of affairs in connexion with the Natives is such that I offer no apology for inflicting a letter upon you at a time when I am aware that you are overwhelmed with business in preparing for the approaching meeting of the General Assembly

On Saturday last I received from Mr. Turton a letter from which I extract the following communication.

"Sorry to hear of all your new disturbances. They were originally the origin of the King movement in Waikato, and now it is reviving again in all its strength. The 2nd leading chief told me, that they saw either that we were afraid to interfere in their fatal quarrels; or that we failed to do so, under design of allowing them to kill each other, and thus the more readily conquer the remainder, But that in either case, it was necessary that they should from themselves into a distinct power, since they could no longer have any reliance upon the Queen's authority. And now, they say, that if the Government act so cruelly towards their race, any longer, by non-interference, they will be obliged to send down to Taranaki, and act independently of it".

Last week Mr. H. Halse informed me that in conversation with some Waikato Natives they had told him it was their intention to come down early next month for the purpose of interposing between the two hostile parties, and preventing any further fighting, or rather, putting down by force whichever party, that wished to continue the war. This information strongly impressed me when considering the letter of Ihaia and his people, offering to place themselves under the protection of British law and power, and submitting themselves thereto.

Of course only an unconditional surrender could be listened to, and when Mr. Halse returned from the Waitara and informed us that they meant by their letter only to imply that such submission referred to their future conduct, and not to the killing of Katatori, which they considered by Maori usage had been fully expiated, all idea of interfering on their behalf was abandoned, until further instructions were sent from the Government, or until a letter should be sent offering to make such an unconditional surrender. Yesterday Major Murray sent me an official communication which shews his intention of abiding strictly by the letter of his instructions, these he considers would prevent his rendering any assistance beyond the European boundaries.

Mr. Whiteley informed me last night that he had been at Ihaia's pa and in conversation with him elicited that if a judicial enquiry were to be made into the conduct of all persons on either side who had participated in the murders of the various Natives killed here, he would readily submit to such an enquiry so far as he and any of his people were concerned. Now as this would criminate the leading men on each side, they being more or less involved in these disastrous affairs than Ihaia himself, a Commission if appointed to enquire into them would bring before it such a number, that all would be likely to concur in a general amnesty, and thus if this were granted a foundation might be laid for making the British law paramount throughout New Zealand.

This accompanied with a Proclamation that no more fighting would be permitted by the Government would satisfy the Natives generally, who appear to be growing quite sick of these miserably devastating quarrels, and do more than anything else to put down the Maori King movement. I greatly fear that unless the Government now step in to put an end to this quarrel, any interference of the Waikatos may turn the scales against the English, and that we shall find those whom we might now make friends or confirm them as such, will become our decided opponents.

Mr. Whiteley further informed me that after the conversation before alluded to Ihaia had intrusted him with a duplicate of the former letter, now containing ninety five signatures, thereby confirming the wishes expressed in the original. I feel fully persuaded that were his Excellency to issue a Proclamation to the Natives declaring his intention to interfere to put an end to this quarrel; pointing out in a plain and firm manner the ills and misery attending it, and expressing his care for their welfare in so interfering, such a measure would be hailed by a very great proportion of the Natives as a boon. I am aware that great difficulties would attend the carrying of it out, but I do not believe they would be insuperable, and the end to be obtained is so noble a one that the attempt must I believe signify the man who shall make it.

Be assured that we shall never have any solid peace or enjoy quietness in New Zealand until British law be proclaimed, and maintained not only as supreme, but as the only one. The Maoris must not only be forced to submit to, but must also be brought to feel that they enjoy the protection of our laws and government; in fact they must become convinced that such laws and government are equally theirs.

Whenever this is accomplished the prosperity of the country will have been settled on a firm basis. Until then we are in constant danger of an explosion, the consequences of which it is fearful to contemplate. We have hitherto tided over these difficulties but I believe the time has now arrived, when we must once and for ever put them down, or they may become too great for us to grapple with. I trust that though crudely, I have yet expressed my views sufficiently clear, on this subject which so continually fastens itself on my mind, as to shew that an opportunity now presents itself to save the remnants of a people, who only require the blessing of a strong, paternal Government to enable them to become in the scale of civilization, individually, one with us, and thereby to lend their aid in carrying forward the prosperity and happiness of this fair portion of Her Majesty's dominions. Secure to them equally with us, protection to their persons and property, and peace necessarily resulting, they would soon be found exerting a friendly rivalry in developing the resources of this fine country,


I am, etc., (Signed)
Josiah Flight.
C. W. Richmond, Esqr., Auckland.

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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