The Second Year of One of England's Little Wars
G. — To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator
To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator.
At Page 11 of Mr. Richmond's “Memorandum,” in reply to Sir W. Martin's Taranaki Question, I find the following words:— “Tipene's assertions about Tamati Raru (Teira's father) are ridiculous falsehoods. Raru has throughout been one of the principal sellers, his son Teira being merely the spokesman of the part. With his own hands he helped to cut the boundary line of the block; he has, throughout the war, borne arms against King; and his is the first signature to the Deed of Cession.” As I made, in my published letter of May last, assertions somewhat similar to Tipene's, I think it as well to examine the value of Mr. Richmond's summary mode of disposing of them by calling them “ridiculous falsehoods.” My own statement was, that Tamati Raru “refused to sell, and co-operated with William King in opposing his own son up to the very commencement of hostilities.” Tipene's assertions are, that on two occasions when the proposed sale of Waitara was discussed, Raru protested against his son's proceedings; that on no public occasion was he ever known to speak in support of them; and that when the survey was attempted, he took no part in it. Now let it be observed how Mr. Richmond meets these assertions. He begins by saying that they are “ridiculous falsehoods.” Well, this sort of answer—never very convincing—when coming from Mr Richmond, is worthless. He proceeds to say that Raru has throughout been one of the principal sellers; but this is just the point to be proved by Mr. Richmond, not to be asserted in opposition to Tipene. The latter professes to have been a witness to what he relates, and to have actually heard what he vouches for—that Raru opposed, but never assented to the sale. Mr. Richmond, on the contrary, does not even profess to have any personal knowledge of the matter. Mr Richmond's assertion is no refutation of Tipene's statements. Mr Richmond continues—page 55
“With his own hands he helped to cut the boundary line of the block.” Now, then, it will, perhaps, be said, he must be right, for he enters into particulars; he says Raru did it “with his own hands.” It is extremely painful to be obliged to expose a gross attempt at deception in a person occupying Mr Richmond's public position. Will it be believed that Mr. Richmond is now referring to a different survey, one made in March, after the military occupation of Waitara; whereas he very well knew, that the survey spoken of by Tipene—the survey—the notorious survey—the only one which tested the wishes of those who desired, and those who refused, to sell, was the one attempted on the 20th February. That Mr. Richmond could have had no doubt as to which survey was intended, is clear from the circumstance that Taupahi, who put his name to Tipene's paper, for the purpose of corroborating this one fact of which he was cognisant, actually alludes to it as “the survey of Parris.” I must characterise this as a lamentable rather than a “ridiculous” falsehood. Mr. Richmond goes on to say—“His is the first signature to the Deed of Cession.” This will, of course, have appeared conclusive to many persons. And it will now be assumed that I can have nothing further to say on behalf of Tipene or myself. But, stop; it is Mr. Richmond who makes this assertion. We have already seen how important it is to be gifted with the facility of ignoring a month—what an advantage may be gained in a State Paper to be read in England, by confounding what occurred in March with what took place in February. The first inquiry then is—when was the Deed of Cession signed? I anticipate the answer, “Of course,” it will be said, “before the publication of martial law, and before the military occupation of the land conveyed by the Deed.” I need now do no more than direct attention to the fact, extorted from Mr Richmond in the House of Representatives, during a debate on the 9th August, namely, that, the Deed of Cession was not executed at the time the survey alluded to was made, nor, in fact, till some time after actual hostilities had taken place. The statement will be found in a report of Mr. Fox's speech of that day, Mr. Richmond having interrupted him in order to make it. It will be seareely necessary to add, that the denial by Tipene, an actual witness, of Raru's participation in the sale of Waitara, prior to the survey of the 20th February, is in no degree whatever invalidated or affected by Mr. Richmond's false assertions to the contrary; or that Raru's signature, placed at the head of those attached to the Deed of Cession, and obtained after the war began, proves how necessary the Government perceived the sanction of his name to be, in order to give validity to the purchase of even that small portion of the block described by Teira in his letter to the Governor as “only sufficient for three or four tents to stand upon,” but which he had professed to cede, when it appeared more than probable that their irregular proceedings would be eventually dragged to light. It will hardly be thought necessary to account for the motives that subsequently induced a father, when he found that, hostilities having commenced and neutrality being impossible, he was obliged to make his election, to determine in siding with his disobedient son.
Your obedient servant,