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England and the Maori Wars

Chapter 13 — War “Atrocities” And The Fall Of Grey

page 289

Chapter 13
War “Atrocities” And The Fall Of Grey

It had been for some time obvious that relations between Sir George Grey and the Colonial Office were so strained that an early break was not unlikely, but the events which produced the final rupture were not the least strange in this decade of unexpected happenings.

On June 30, 1866, Grey acknowledged the receipt of a confidential despatch from Cardwell (dated April 26) enclosing copies of a letter from the Rev. T. W. Weare and extracts of a letter written to him by his brother, Colonel H. E. Weare, C.B.

“These letters,” he wrote, “contain the gravest allegation against myself, the Government of the country, and against the General Commanding the Queen's Forces, and the officers and men composing those forces. Generally I would remark that they are, in so far as Her Majesty's Forces are concerned, charges of enormous and atrocious cruelties, practised either by the troops or with their knowledge, such as partially disembowelling prisoners and then roasting them whilst still alive, etc. Now what is done by Colonel Weare, C.B., under such circumstances? Does he, justly filled with righteous indignation, instantly report these acts to the Governor or the Government of the country that an immediate stop may be put to them and their perpetrators punished? No, he does not do this. Does he instantly write to the Government at Home, forwarding his letter through the Governor and pray that instant orders may be sent out to put a stop to such atrocities? No, he does not do this. Or does he, as a just man and officer should have done, openly, boldly and instantly make an official report of these alleged atrocious acts to his General, and at once stop them in this way?

“No, he does none of these things, but in private letters addressed to a person in England, he details horrid atrocities which he states have been committed, and alleges that since page 290 the leaving of Sir Duncan Cameron the true sentiments of the Governor and his Government have come out towards the Maoris, in their urging on General Chute to all these atrocities, and that he hopes the degrading and brutalizing manner in which this war is being conducted may be known in England, and the troops no longer allowed to be demoralized by the colonists for their sole [sic] selfishness. That is, according to the system pursued when Sir Duncan Cameron was in this country, by private letters, or statements to editors of newspapers, or other persons, even sometimes from officers at his Headquarters or on his Staff, and indeed by Sir Duncan Cameron's own confidential and private letters, to persons in authority at Home, people in England were to be prejudiced in the most violent manner against myself, my ministers and the people of this country. Ample proof of the justice of the statements I thus make will be found in previous despatches of mine. The result of this system was, for the Empire, a disastrous war, great and unnecessary loss of life, and expenditure of money. For the colony almost ruin. For those who pursued it a large participation in honours and rewards; for myself repeated censures at least implied, and an absence for years of that public sympathy from those in authority, so requisite to enable a man to struggle with cheerfulness and hope against great difficulties; whilst, unjust and wrong as was the conduct of those who were the cause of my experiencing this treatment, I am not aware that they were ever subjected to the slightest censure or reproof.

“I could have wished that Her Majesty's Government had, in this case of Colonel Weare's letters, so manifestly a shameful one, at last peremptorily put a stop to a system at once so unjust and pernicious, by refusing in accordance with the rules laid down for the guidance of Her Majesty's service, and hitherto for so long a series of years carefully and beneficially observed, to receive reports made in this manner, and by directing and requiring Colonel Weare to make them through the proper channel, and at the same time at least subjecting him to the reproof which he so justly deserved, for having made statements privately against his superior officers, which he should have made instantly and openly or not at all.… On page 291 reconsidering these imputations and the manner in which they have been made, you will, I am sure, agree with me that I ought not to be expected to make a complete reply to them, and that I act for the good of Her Majesty's service in respectfully but decidedly declining to do so.… For my part I will not deign to deny such a charge so made, for it is only by denial such a charge can be met; and with all due respect for your position, I must maintain my own, and I decline to answer or in any way notice the imputation against myself. I also think that I ought not to lower my Ministers by attempting to make a complete reply to such an imputation, so made as against myself and them. Nor will I make any reply to the imputation that in consequence of pressure from myself and the Government, Major-General Chute and Her Majesty's Forces have committed atrocities in this country. If I had been base enough to have desired that they should commit attrocities, I should have known better the noble nature of many of the officers and men of Her Majesty's Forces than to have desired to have striven to put a pressure on them to attain such ends. Let any man try to do so who doubts what the result will be. If in consequence of treacherous murders committed on their messengers of peace, and on officers or men, they have judged any act of severity necessary as an example, and to save life hereafter, I feel assured, with sorrow and sadness they came to that conclusion.

“Though I have thought it due to myself and my position so decidedly to refuse to notice the imputations to which I have been directed to furnish a complete reply, I beg to state that if any cases of cruelty are brought to my notice, I will see that the fullest inquiry is made into them, and that ample justice is, in as far as possible, done. I will also throw no obstacle in the way of the fullest publicity being given to your despatches, and to Colonel Weare's allegations against myself, the Government and the troops. Everyone shall have full freedom to make complaint of cruel acts, or of pressure put upon them directly or indirectly by myself or my Ministers, to force or induce them to commit acts of cruelty, and a patient hearing of his or their complaint shall be secured to them, and page 292 full copies of all such complaints, if any, of the evidence taken upon them, and the decision come to, shall without delay be transmitted to you.

“I mentioned the subject of the atrocities of which they were accused to some Whanganui natives, stating how distressed I was at the allegations made. They replied: ‘Why should you distress yourself? It arises from jealousy. These are just such stories as we should tell amongst ourselves if we were jealous of each other's actions. We thought the Europeans were superior to us. We now see that they are as jealous a people as we are.’

“I beg that you will set your mind at rest that no open or good land is being kept for the natives between Whanganui and Mount Egmont. The Government assure me that their wants will be amply cared for. At present little or none of that country is occupied by Europeans. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, G. Grey.”1

Grey's refusal to treat Cardwell's communication on the subject of Colonel Weare's allegations as confidential drew a rebuke from Sir F. Rogers, who, in a minute of October 23, stated: “He pointedly adopts a tone of authoritative censure towards the Secretary of State, and in order to justify this, misrepresents the nature of the communication to the Secretary of State (which, as he was told, was not Col. Weare's but his brother's). I would exhibit Sir G. Grey's complaints in his own words in such a way as to bring into clear light their injustice and their want of respect…and say Mr. Cardwell would probably not have disapproved the communication of the confidential despatch to his Ministers, and would have been satisfied with the completeness of his reply to their charges, but that it was impossible to overlook the tone, which was equally inconsistent with his own position and that of the person whom he addresses; that it was to be hoped that cooler consideration would shew him the propriety of withdrawing these two despatches and cancelling his minute, and that unless this was done it would not be possible for him to retain his present position as representative of H.M. in N.Z.” Lord Carnarvon, now Secretary of State, wrote; “I agree entirely

1 C.O. 209, 196.

page 293 in Sir F. Rogers' minute. My only doubt is as to the concluding paragraph. Draft accordingly. It can then be considered.”

The despatch was dated November 1, 1866. It recapitulated the circumstances of Colonel Weare's charges and their retraction and quoted extensively from Cardwell's and Grey's despatches. It referred to the Governor's “repeated and studiously direct refusal to comply with what you represent as being the Secretary of State's instructions to you—a refusal which becomes even more pointed, because what on the 30th June you thus peremptorily refused to do in compliance with instructions, you seem in fact to have done independently of such instructions on the 29th. I wish it were open to me to misunderstand the character of that refusal or to put a more favourable construction upon it. My strong sense of the public services which you have at various times rendered and of your high character, my recollection even of the circumstances attending your temporary recall from the Governorship of the Cape during my former connection with this department,1 all combine to make it personally very painful to me that my first communication of importance to you from this Office should be a despatch of this nature.

“I endeavour to make every allowance for the feelings of an officer who is conscious that he has rendered important services to H.M. and who conceives himself to have been left without due protection from cruel and unfounded imputations. But it is wholly impossible that the Government of the colonies can be carried on, if such language as you have addressed to my predecessor is to be applied on such grounds as you have alleged by an officer representing Her Majesty (I repeat my words) to the Minister whose function it is to communicate to him Her Majesty's commands. I will add no more now. I hope that a cooler consideration of this painful question will have convinced you of the impropriety of the language that you have used and will lead you to take what appears to me the course which is due not less to yourself than to others, viz. that of recalling both your minutes of June 13 and your despatch of the 30th. In this hope I now refrain from considering

1 Carnarvon was Under-Secretary to Bulwer Lytton in 1858.

page 294 what would be the duty of Her Majesty's Government should you unfortunately come to a different conclusion.”

On July 3 Grey wrote that he had received from Major-General Chute the copy of a letter from Colonel Weare stating that his letters were private, “written to a near relative in the freedom of family correspondence” and “that these letters merely mentioned certain camp rumours that were in circulation at the time.” “He now believed that there were no grounds for the rumours that certain prisoners were disembowelled and then thrown on the fire alive, or that a Maori was shot by soldiers of the 14th Regiment after an officer had tried to save his life.” Grey said that the letter confirmed the view which he from the first took of the case and shewed that the course he pursued in relation to it was the proper one.

Colonel Weare's letter was dated June 6, 1866. In it he said: “I certainly myself understood that the Major-General did not wish prisoners.”1

In a long despatch of January 12, 1867, Grey wrote: “I think that Colonel Weare, in attributing to me such wicked motives, and a connivance in shocking crimes, brought about at my instigation, and in then passing me by without calling attention to them, and in allowing such crimes to continue unchecked, until people in England could be appealed to, when it would be too late to stop that which should have been instantly repressed, virtually reaffirmed the wickedness of my motives, and made it apparent that it would, in his belief, have been useless to appeal to me. I also think that Her Majesty's Government, in leaving this point unnoticed and taking his charges up, did not do me justice. The imputations made against me were—that, entertaining the most wicked hatred of the native race, I had concealed my real feelings whilst there was any one in the colony to keep me in check, but that after General Cameron had left the colony, my own true sentiments and those of my Government towards the Maoris had come out in our urging General Chute on to atrocities—that most shocking atrocities were being committed under pressure from the Colonial authorities, and that Her Majesty's troops were

1 C.O. 209, 196. For Rusden's view of Weare's allegations, see his History of New Zealand, II, 354–61.

page 295 allowed to be demoralized by the colonists for their sole selfishness.

“Then specific acts of the most revolting cruelty were stated to have been committed and in the plainest terms it was alleged that an attempt was made to force officers to murder prisoners who had surrendered and given up their arms, Colonel Weare himself having been made to feel that he was under the General's displeasure for not having committed a crime of this nature.… I was an officer on distant service, acting as Mr. Cardwell's representative, and I think the imputations I have quoted were of such a character that I was entitled to his instant protection from them.”

[C.O. marginal note: “What protection so effectual as informing him of them?”]

“… I think he might instantly and indignantly have stated that he did not credit and could not entertain such suggestions of evil motives. Had our places been reversed, I would to the last have supported him against accusations of the kind, and in stern but becoming language have expressed my opinion of the officer who made them.… I do not think if such accusations and imputations had been entertained at all, that they should have been confidentially entertained, and have been made the subject of a confidential despatch. This fact was more painful to myself and my responsible advisers than any other. I feel sure Your Lordship will, on full consideration, admit that knowing that such accusations against myself and my Government are on record in the Colonial Office, where here-after they will be certain to be found by some historian, who must naturally conclude [C.O. marginal comment: “Qu?”] that there must have been some ground for believing them to be true…that I only shewed a just jealousy of the good name of my Government and that of the people of this country in putting them on record here as a public document. This proceeding could have injured no one, if the accusations were in good faith and (in)the manner in which they ought to have been, and I believe that I did my duty to the Queen, and to the race to which I belong, in this publicly and indignantly dealing with the question.

“I beg now to remark upon my minute to the Executive page 296 Council of the 13th June last—Your Lordship expresses to me your opinion that I should withdraw that minute, and then, in language the meaning of which I think I do not mistake, intimates to me that if I unfortunately come to a different conclusion, the probable result will be that I shall fall under the serious displeasure of Her Majesty's Government.… I have at the end of this despatch enclosed a copy of that minute, in which at the end of each paragraph, I have briefly stated why that paragraph is essential to my defence or that of my Government, and could not in justice to myself or my Government be withdrawn, whilst the accusations against us stand on record. I earnestly request your Lordship, before coming to a decision, to read that enclosure, and I feel satisfied that you will find that each paragraph contains what is necessary to exonerate my Government from a specific charge, and that there is really not an unnecessary word in the paragraph.… If its language is too curt, as also that of the letter in which I enclosed it, I was at the time beset by business and cares, and the fault, if such there is, should rather be attributed to those who forced upon me the necessity of making any defence against such accusations than to myself.…

“In reference to the opinion Your Lordship has expressed that I have made use of improper language in the despatch and minute to which you refer me, I conceive that I should submit at once to your decision on this point, as you are the Head of the Department under which I serve. I cannot myself detect this improper language, but I may be a very wrong judge in my own case. Wherever, therefore, Your Lordship may decide that any improper language may occur, I beg it may be withdrawn, and I offer the fullest and most unreserved apology for any such language of which I may have made use.… On a point on which my whole future reputation rests, I ought to and must decide for myself, and I believe that hereafter it will be admitted if not now, that the course I have taken was becoming to my office, to the great powers with which the Queen and nation had entrusted me, and to my own long service, and I still trust that Your Lordship will concur in this view of the subject.”1

1 C.O. 209, 200.

page 297

A Colonial Office minute by C. Cox on this despatch set out: “The tone of Sir George Grey's despatches was such that Lord Carnarvon felt himself compelled to call Sir George Grey seriously to account for them, giving him an alternative for recalling a minute dated 20th June which he addressed to his ministers and one particular despatch dated 30th June.… Although he leaves Lord Carnarvon to withdraw such passages of the despatch as he might consider improper (rather an odd method of proceeding) he does not withdraw but justifies his minute.”

Sir F. Rogers, in a minute to C. B. Adderley, the Under-Secretary, dated March 25, said: “All I have to remark is this: That the propriety or impropriety of Col. Weare's conduct has nothing to do with the matter; that it is quite open to Sir G. G. to withdraw what I venture to call his offensive minute and despatches and yet to place on record his defence—so far as he thinks any defence needed; that I wholly disagree from the principle that when accusations against a public officer reach that officer's superior, the superior is at liberty to put them aside in mere reliance on the public officer's character.… It may or may not have been right to mark the despatch to Sir G. G. ‘confidential’..… It is admitted by Lord Carnarvon that Sir G. G. might have been right in communicating that despatch to his ministers—but not in the tone which he therein and thereupon adopted to the Secretary of State. Now the matter stands thus: Sir G. Grey has been called upon to withdraw his minute and despatch with an indistinct intimation (which he understands) that if he does not do so he will be recalled. He replies by saying that he considers the minute and despatch quite right and will not withdraw them, but he authorizes the Secretary of State to withdraw anything that he considers improper. Is this answer (1) to be taken as a refusal and followed by a recall; (2) to be taken as a refusal and submitted to; (3) to be taken as a submission with expression of satisfaction.”

Sir F. Rogers expressed the view that as Sir G. Grey's 6-year term expired in June it would be possible to reply that his term of office would not be renewed. Finally, consideration was left over till the next mail. In a despatch of May 1, the Duke of Buckingham, who had succeeded Lord Carnarvon as Secretary page 298 of State in March, noted with satisfaction Grey's apology for the passages in his despatches which his predecessor considered to have been couched in improper language.1

Lord Carnarvon, in a letter to the Secretary of State, dated November 28, 1868, dealt with Sir George Grey's complaint that the Rev. T. W. Weare's letters were not communicated to him in extenso: “I cannot admit that the non-communication of this letter of 19 March affords to Sir George Grey ‘a complete justification’ for the course that he adopted in laying Mr. Cardwell's confidential despatch before his responsible advisers with the minute declining to receive the communication addressed to him by the Secretary of State as a confidential one, or in the general tone of the subsequent despatch, and the almost reprimand which Sir George Grey, as Governor of New Zealand, thought it not unbecoming to address to Mr. Cardwell as the Minister who had conveyed to him Her Majesty's commands.”2

A Colonial Office despatch of December 1, 1866, had vested the control of the troops exclusively in the hands of General Chute “in consequence of a want of hearty co-operation between the civil and military authorities in giving effect to the instructions of the Home Government.” On February 4, 1867, Grey wrote: “I have received your despatch of the 1st of December last deposing me from a large portion of my powers, placing them in the hands of General Chute and requiring me to assist him in carrying them out. I feel keenly this disgrace, but I shall do my duty under it to the best of my ability.” Sir F. Rogers made the following comment: “In 1865 the Governor and General were ordered to begin sending away the troops and ever since order has followed order to the same effect. In April 1867 we are not yet informed that they are reduced to their normal state. It is the Governor only who has the power to retain them and who does hitherto retain them, or rather was doing so at the date of Lord C's [Carnarvon's] despatch. The question is—shall he be compelled to part with them. If he is to be compelled, it cannot be by instructions to him which (as everybody knows) he will continue to disregard, as he has hitherto disregarded them. It can only be by depriving

1 C.O. 209, 200.

2 Ibid., 209.

page 299 him of his authority in this respect, and handing it over to somebody who will obey Imperial orders, instead of carrying out a Colonial policy of his own. This is what had been done—and this is the reason for it, which should not be permitted to disappear under a pile of special pleading.”1

On February 4, 1867, Grey reported a native outbreak at Tauranga. “The confiscation policy is bearing its natural fruit,” remarked Sir F. Rogers.1

On a further despatch from Grey of February 12, 1867, Rogers wrote: “The object of the Home Government must be steadily borne in mind. That object is to get the Imperial Troops (or all but one regiment) out of the colony—first, in order to put an end to the intolerable expense to which this country has been subjected and secondly to force the colony to make provision, at their expense, to meet any disturbance which may arise out of their confiscation or other native policy.2 … The broad facts are that whereas the Home Government has since 26 October, 1865, been requiring (1) the departure of the troops, and (2) since November 1865 has been requiring their withdrawal from confiscated land and their concentration, (1) there were still in September 1866 five regiments in the colony and (2) the Governor was refusing to allow of their concentration.… The cause of the delay was either with the Governor or the General. But on the one hand the General had no reason for delaying the departure of the troops and showed no inclination to delay it—on the other hand the Governor was under the strongest inducement—in the interest of the

1 C.O. 209, 200.

1 C.O. 209, 200.

2 The Derby Government had taken an equally strong attitude in South Africa. “Really peremptory instructions were sent to Wodehouse. Of the five regiments stationed at the Cape, one was to be withdrawn immediately; another was to be allotted to Natal and St. Helena. In 1868 the Cape Colony was to assume responsibility for one regiment at the rate of £40 per man; in the next year two regiments had to be paid for; for the three following years the whole remaining force had to be paid for at the rate of £70 for artillerymen and £40 for infantrymen.” In default troops would be withdrawn as the Home Government thought fit. These demands caused consternation both to Wodehouse and the Cape Parliament. Wodehouse thought a Governor with dictatorial powers was necessary. He “felt that self-government and entire independence were ultimately synonymous terms.” In his eyes Canada and New Zealand were visibly alienating themselves from the Mother Country. (C. W. de Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 218.)

page 300 colony and his own authority—to delay that departure. He is a man who notoriously acts upon inducements of that kind (which may be taken as praise or blame) and in the correspondence which comes home the delays all appear at least to proceed from him. It is plain, therefore, as a matter of prudence and safe policy that the Government cannot depend upon the Governor and General in their present relations for executing what in fact they have not executed—and they cannot depend upon the Governor alone with any certainty, while they can depend on the General. The only real way of securing that the thing will be promptly done before it is too late is to enable and require the General to do it.…

“Even if it is granted that Sir George Grey is influenced by purely public motives, it is clear that in weighing colonial safety and prosperity against Imperial expenditure, his scale of measurement is not the Imperial scale. He evidently considers that the Imperial resources should be made use of to an extent to which the Home Government has decided that they ought not to be made use of. He may be excusable and even right and the Home Government wrong. But the difference is clear, and the Home Government has to take care that in respect to their troops, their view prevails.… Lord C.'s decision was not based on allegations made by Gen. Chute to the Home Government, which may have been correct or incorrect—but on copies of correspondence forwarded by General Chute, of which it is impossible to deny the authenticity and which the Governor might, if he had chosen, have sent home with an explanation. As he did not send home any explanation of his apparent disobedience of orders—and as the matter would not brook delay, it was for him to take the consequences of the omission.… A more substantial answer to the charge of delay is contained in paragraphs from 26 to 31, viz. that the safety and well-being of the colony required him to do what he did do. But what do these paragraphs really amount to? They menace us, in a manner familiar to readers of Sir G. G.'s very able despatches, with various disasters—but with disasters arising (as we hold) out of colonial policy, and which ought to be provided for out of colonial resources, but which he, notwithstanding the most peremptory instructions from home, page 301 refuses to believe that he is not to provide for out of Imperial resources. He makes an effective statement by making much of the possible disaster to the colony and making little of the risk and expense to Great Britain—but at bottom his argument is a declaration that he will continue to carry out a Colonial not an Imperial policy.” Sir F. Rogers concluded his minute by suggesting that the best policy would be “to avoid any unnecessary entanglement in the civil and military controversies” and “to get Sir G. Grey and General Chute out of New Zealand as soon as is practicable without expressing censure on either.”1

A long memorandum by the New Zealand ministers on a despatch of December 1, 1866, in which Lord Carnarvon referred to two alleged attacks on unarmed natives, was issued on April 17, 1867: “The Imperial Government has ignored the constitutional position of the Governor and has in successive despatches displayed a sense of irritation, and a proneness to take and give offence which is much to be deplored. Ministers are unable to perceive either equity or good policy in such a course of action. It is unworthy of the great Empire to which New Zealand colonists are proud to belong; it is unjust to the colony and it is dangerous to the welfare of the aboriginal race to which the faith of the Crown has been solemnly pledged. …Grave charges against the Colonial Government and the colony, and an objectionable system of secret calumny have not, Ministers feel bound to say, met at the hands of Secretaries of State for the Colonies that indignant rejection which the Governor and Her Majesty's Colonial subjects had equally a right to expect when their reputation and conduct were attacked.”2

The two engagements referred to by Lord Carnarvon were described in the New Zealand Gazettes of October 11 and October 26, 1866. The first dealt with the affair at Te Whenuku, near Patea, and the second with the engagement between the militia and volunteers and the Hauhaus at Omarunui and Petane,3 Hawke's Bay.

1 C.O. 209, 200.

2 Ibid., 201.

3 From Cowan's accounts (II, 136–7) it would appear that the Hauhaus were armed.

page 302

In a despatch of April 28, 1867, Sir George Grey stated that in all his service as Governor from 1840 to 1863 “the most harmonious relations always existed between myself and the very many military officers, of varied ranks and characters and of different dispositions, who were, from time to time in command of Her Majesty's Forces in my Government.” “During that long period of time also, Her Majesty's Dominions, wherever I might be, suffered no serious injury. No province was laid waste, no large loss of life or great expenditure was incurred. No rebellion ever spread to a great extent—Her Majesty's subjects soon returned to their allegiance and became among the most loyal of those under Her extended sway; Her Troops never sustained the slightest repulse, even of a moment's duration, their confidence was never for an instant shaken so that it became doubtful if they would follow their officers. No debt incurred in military expenditure was ever entailed upon a colony where I was. [C.O. marginal note: “He made the Imperial Government pay.”]

“It is true that differences have arisen between myself and two officers commanding the forces in New Zealand since 1863. But it should be remembered that although there have been two Generals here in that time, there has only been the. same military staff in this country. That is an important point. My differences with these Generals arose, in part, from powers which belonged to me having been assumed by the military authorities, under the sanction of the War Department, and from my efforts to get an end put to a system which led to an expenditure of life, money and resources, which, when measured by the insignificance of the enemy and the results obtained, is, I believe, unparalleled in our history; which led to disastrous repulses, to a wavering of confidence in our men, to the spread of rebellion, the ruin of parts of the country, the contraction of an enormous public debt upon military objects, which will cripple the resources of New Zealand for many years—and to other evils not less serious than those I have named. At last, amidst all difficulties, and notwithstanding the frequent attacks made upon me by the military authorities and the support which has invariably been given to them from home—I have had the happiness of seeing a sounder system page 303 again established, and of witnessing the first fruits of its success; and I can bear with tranquillity all the odium to which I have been subjected, especially as I feel that an impartial examination of the correspondence which has passed, will shew that I have throughout preserved the equanimity of my temper, and that I have been, in all instances, the assailed party, and that no man, who had the interests of the Empire at heart, could have refrained from feeling deeply grieved at the misfortunes, the useless waste of life, of money, of resources, which I was obliged to witness; or from doing his utmost at all risks to himself to have a wiser and sounder mode of proceeding established.” This despatch was merely acknowledged on July 29.

On April 4, 1867, Grey reported that the New Zealand Government had declined to acquiesce in the conditions under which the Home Government was prepared to allow one regiment to be retained in the colony. Ministers in their memorandum of rejection, dated March 15, 1867, stated that they did not believe “that it is either consistent with constitutional practice, or for the interests of either race of Her Majesty's subjects in these islands, that the determination of questions of peace and war, and the power of fulfilling engagements with the native race, should thus virtually be withdrawn from the control of the Queen's representative, and given to an irresponsible officer having no constitutional authority with respect to such questions, and necessarily unacquainted with the ever-varying disposition of that portion of the native race so lately in arms against Her Majesty's authority.”1

The Duke of Buckingham directed that the implied offer to carry on without troops should be closed with at once. “The only doubt is how the Governor can be continued for the short remainder of his time.” The despatch sent on June 1, however, stated that a reply would be delayed until further expressions of view promised by the Governor and his advisers arrived.

The Duke, in a memorandum of June 4, on Grey's despatches respecting the removal of the Queen's troops, wrote: “In these despatches Governor Grey has made certain statements

1 C.O. 209, 201.

page 304 and given certain explanations in answer to Lord Carnarvon's despatches—and has protested very naturally against the transfer of the greater portion of the troops to the sole control of General Chute—thus depriving him, as he contends, of a certain portion of the power entrusted to him by the Queen's Commission. It seems to me to be very doubtful whether the Governor who, it was considered, had failed to obey and who could not be trusted to carry out the orders sent to him should not have been at once recalled. But a different course was decided on and Sir George Grey has accepted the position, and has not thought it necessary to resign. The statements and explanations in these despatches do not appear to me to be such as would have materially varied the opinions formed by Lord Carnarvon. I can, however, see no possible advantage which can accrue to the public or to any individual from a continuance of the correspondence, and therefore I should:

“Simply acknowledge the whole of the despatches containing certain statements and explanations upon matters alluded to in Lord Carnarvon's despatch No. 49 of the 1st December last. (State that the removal of the troops in question and the consequent departure of General Chute which probably has taken place, viewed in connection with the approaching termination of Sir G. Grey's term of office, render it unnecessary for me to take up and peruse the questions connected with the control of the troops.)1

“Add that General Chute and Her Majesty's Forces in New Zealand with the exception of one regiment will in pursuance of their instructions have left the colony before Sir G. Grey receives this despatch. The Regiment will, as he was informed by my predecessor, remain while in the colony under the control and direction of the Governor. State that with regard to the ultimate disposal of that Regiment I await the arrival of the next mail in the expectation of receiving by that opportunity the expression of the views of your responsible advisers on the subject of those of my predecessor's despatches which refer to military operations in New Zealand. Remark that I

1 The passage in brackets was crossed out in the draft. The elimination of the reference to “the approaching termination of Sir G. Grey's term of office” was unfortunate.

page 305 shall then also be able to inform Sir G. Grey of the person selected as his successor in the Government of the Colony.”

The despatch as finally drafted was as follows: Downing Street, June 18, 1867 Governor Sir George Grey, K.C.B. Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your despatches of the Nos. and dates noted in the margin containing certain statements and explanations upon matters alluded to in my predecessor's despatch, No. 49, of the 1st of December last. As all Her Majesty's regular forces in New Zealand, with the exception of one Regiment, will, in pursuance of instructions from the Secretary of State for War, probably have left the colony before your receive this despatch and as it is very possible that General Sir T. Chute may also have left, I deem it unnecessary to review the correspondence with regard to the control of the troops in question. The Regiment which will be left in the colony will, as you were informed by my predecessor, remain while in the colony under the control and direction of the Queen's representative. With regard to the ultimate disposal of this Regiment I await the arrival of the next mail in the expectation of receiving by that opportunity the further expression of your views on the subject of my predecessor's despatches referring to military operations in New Zealand which your despatch of 4 April promises. I shall then also be able to inform you of the appointment of your successor in the Government of New Zealand and of the time at which he may be expected to arrive in New Zealand. I have, etc. (Signed) Buckingham and Chandos. 1

Discussing Lord Carnarvon's questioning of the Duke of Buckingham in Parliament concerning the withdrawal of the troops, The Times, on July 17, 1867, expressed the view that Carnarvon should have recalled the Governor when he failed to send the troops home as ordered.

Commenting on the debate in a letter published in The Times of July 25, William Fox asserted that the colonists were in no way responsible for the retention of the troops. “Sir George Grey,” he wrote, “has always manifested a large amount of Wallenstein's faith in ‘big battalions,’ and was no man to

1 C.O. 209, 201.

page 306 denude himself of troops if he could help it. I think, however, he might have been compelled to do it without the step taken by Lord Carnarvon. Anything, the Governor's recall or any equally strong measure, would have been better than the provocation to conflict between the civil and military authorities, which ensued as the natural consequence of the transfer of power from the former to the latter. Stung by the implied slight, Sir George Grey at once threw himself into open opposition, and while forced to admit the General's power to remove the troops from the colony, he defied him to take the necessary preliminary steps of moving them in the colony.… The suggestion of the recall of the Governor on the ground of his contumacy was made by more than one noble lord. It would probably have been the wisest course to adopt, but the impending effluxion of his term of office will no doubt render such a step unnecessary. It is to be hoped that no consideration will induce the Home Government to prolong his tenure of office for another term. It seems to have been an axiom of the Colonial Office that so long as there are native difficulties in New Zealand Sir George Grey must remain Governor. The opinion of many of the old colonists is that so long as he remains Governor there will be native difficulties. He has never acted in native affairs on any principle, but has trusted solely to tact, diplomacy, and personal influence. During his first administration these sufficed to enable him to manage the natives, but before he returned to the colony in 1861 the temper of the natives was changed; he found his personal influence entirely gone, and no man has ever been regarded with more dislike and suspicion by the natives, as a body, than he has been since that period.”

In a despatch of August 22, 1867, the Duke of Buckingham informed Grey that Sir George Bowen, then Governor of Queensland, has been appointed his successor.1

Grey, in a despatch of September 7, 1867, wrote: “In one short paragraph of your Grace's despatch No. 37 of the 18th of June I am informed in one sentence that I had said that which I never said, and in the next short sentence I am told that my successor in this Government is to be appointed. After so many

1 C.O. 209, 200.

page 307 years' service such an intention so communicated bears until further explanation the appearance of intentional censure. This and other circumstances connected with the proceedings of the military authorities, and the position in which the action of the Home Government has placed me in reference to those proceedings make me anxious carefully to review the whole question and to hear further from your Grace before I write upon the matter.” C. B. Adderley made the following comment to the Duke of Buckingham: “He takes that as a recall which is simply the notice of expiration of term. No doubt invites discussion, which it is for you to accept if you please.”

Stafford, the Prime Minister, in a memorandum of September 16, 1867, wrote: “Ministers … recognize the absolute right of Her Most Gracious Majesty to appoint and recall at pleasure Her Governors; but they regret that Sir George Grey who has held for 26 years Her Majesty's Commission as Governor of various colonies and has rendered to the Empire great services which have been from time to time cordially recognized by the most eminent English statesmen, should be summarily recalled without one word of explanation in the despatch which communicated that recall. Ministers desire to express their sympathy with His Excellency at having been, by so unusual a proceeding, subjected to what appears to be a studied act of discourtesy, and they are unable to divest themselves from the belief that the recall of his Excellency has in a great measure resulted from the uncompromising manner in which he has upheld the constitutional position of the Representative of the Crown—a position upon the due observance of which the rights and liberties of Her Majesty's subjects so greatly depend.”

The Legislative Council, in an address expressing regret at Grey's recall, said: “We consider that the Imperial authorities have listened too creduously to accusations of the gravest kind, communicated by non-official informants, against your Excellency, your Government, and the Colonists generally.”1 An address of the House of Representatives recited: “We lament that the important constitutional questions connected with the Government of New Zealand, raised by your Ex-

1 C.O. 209, 202.

page 308 cellency, should be treated by the Imperial Government as a mere personal matter, and that it should apparently regard as a satisfactory solution of the whole difficulty the withdrawal of the Troops, and the retirement of the General Commanding and the recall of the Governor. In asserting the honour of the Crown, and maintaining the position of the Governor as the representative of the Crown, and the constitutional rights of the colony, as well as in vindicating its character from unjust aspersion, your Excellency has put aside all personal considerations and has not been dismayed by menace or misrepresentation.”

In a minute upon Sir George's reply to this address, Sir F. Rogers wrote: “What should be said upon this is a matter of personal feeling. A mere acknowledgment would be pointedly cold. If such coldness is not justifiable it is ungracious, and even if it is justifiable it might be represented as ungracious. I hold the state of the case to be that the policy of Sir G. G. has been a Colonial and not an Imperial policy—and that he has adhered to his Colonial policy, though he knew that he was thwarting the Imperial Government. Something might perhaps be said to the effect that the settlers do Sir G. G. no more than justice in acknowledging the vigour and resolution which he has displayed in advancing their interests.” C. B. Adderley wrote: “I should simply observe on the phrase ‘removal from Government’ and say that it was rather non-renewal and for customary compliment I should acknowledge the vigour and ability displayed in a difficult and special commission.”1

In his reply the Duke of Buckingham wrote: “I may observe that the intimation given for your convenience at the end of your term of office that your successor would very shortly be appointed seems to have been mistaken for a premature recall.” In reply to another ministerial memorandum dated October 3, 1867, pressing for a determination of the constitutional question involved in the independence of the military authorities of the Governor's actions, the Duke wrote this minute: “It seems to me an unconstitutional course for the Home Government to enter into controversy with the colonial

1 C.O. 209, 202.

page 309 ministers … that this correspondence is being kept up solely for the sake of making political capital for the ministers and Sir G. Grey; that the latter fails in the proper discharge of his duty in not dealing with the memorandum himself, having been made aware of the Home Government's views on all the points. But Sir G. G. is out of office or will be before this reply reaches him—and I do not imagine is likely to be re-employed—therefore no necessity to say more to him. It is exceedingly inexpedient to involve the new Governor in the correspondence. It is probably not politic to say directly that which I should be disposed to do—viz. that addresses of the legislature are the constitutional means of communicating direct with the Home Government.”1

The Wellington correspondent of The Times, in a letter of November 8, published on December 31, referring to the Governor's recall, said he had not received one word of explanation: “He has not been told whether he is simply relieved through effluxion of time, or whether he is to return in disgrace. A very largely increased sympathy for his Excellency has, in consequence, been evoked. It is not the change, but the manner of the change, that we find fault. The colony is fully prepared to meet the rising sun. Much that we hear of the newly-appointed Governor is in his favour. We hear with especial pleasure that he is frank and open-hearted, which will not only be a pleasant contrast to the wiliness with which his predecessor has always been credited, but will, under the circumstances, be considered a virtue covering a multitude of sins. Our only fear is, judging from what has happened in Queensland, that Sir George Bowen is just as likely to come into occasional collision with his Ministry as even Sir George Grey was.”

On October 30, 1867, Sir George Grey acknowledged the Duke of Buckingham's despatch No. 51 of August 22, “in which Your Grace briefly informs me that Her Majesty has been pleased, upon your recommendation, to remove me from the Government of New Zealand. … I beg to be permitted humbly to represent to Her Majesty that, in the year 1845, a rebellion prevailing in New Zealand, I was by Her Majesty's command, specially sent to the country, and that when I re-

1 C.O. 209, 202.

page 310 linquished the Government of it in the year 1854, it was my happiness to leave it in a state of tranquillity and prosperity;—that in the year 1861, a rebellion having again broken out in New Zealand, I was once more specially sent there, and that it is again my happiness, upon being removed, by Your Grace's advice, from this Government, to leave New Zealand in a state of tranquillity and returning prosperity; and that I humbly represent to Her Majesty, that I desire to claim no merit for these circumstances, but rather to attribute them to the blessing of Divine Providence and to the abilities and exertions of Her Majesty's subjects who have advised me and aided me in my duties. And further, that I humbly trust, that the almost unanimous voice of Her Majesty's subjects in New Zealand, amongst whom I have laboured in Her Majesty's service for a great part of twenty-two years, will satisfy Her Majesty that I have done my utmost to promote the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of this part of Her Majesty's Dominions.”

C. B. Adderley wrote this minute: “I think the reply must not imply too complete approval: otherwise the brevity of the despatch announcing his relief and the previous supercession of the Governor in direct orders to the troops would be indefensible.” The Duke of Buckingham wrote: “Although I have had no reason to differ from Sir George Grey's acts since I have been in office, I cannot assent to the opinions that he has done his utmost. I think on the contrary he would have done better for the colony had he fulfilled his instructions and obeyed the directions as to removal of troops.”1

In a despatch from Kawau, dated January 14, 1868, Sir George Grey wrote: “I find from my successor's letter that I am not to have the honour and pleasure of receiving in New Zealand His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, for I had flattered myself that the delay in the arrival of my successor had arisen from your Grace's desire to accord me this honour and gratification, which many circumstances led me, I think not unreasonably to suppose, I was justly entitled to expect.” W. Dealtry, a Colonial Office official, wrote on this: “I have seen in the local paper an impression that Sir G. Grey would be allowed to continue as Governor some time longer to enable

1 C.O. 209, 203.

page 311 him to receive the Duke of Edinburgh. Sir G. Bowen's arrival must have been a disappointment to him, as it would have made a nice finish to his career.”1

On September 8, 1868, Bowen reported that Sir George Grey would leave Wellington for England by the Panama mail on that day: “Before his embarkation he will be entertained at a public function at which Sir David Monro, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, will preside. I have been invited to be present on this occasion, and shall feel much satisfaction in evincing my sense of the personal courtesy and consideration which I have received since my arrival in New Zealand from my able and accomplished predecessor, whose name will be inseparably connected with the history of the colony.” In a postscript he stated that “the demonstration in honour of Sir George Grey … was very successful.”2 The Colonial Office probably thought this postcript a little superfluous in the circumstances, though it was accustomed to popular disapproval of its verdicts. When Sir Charles Darling, recalled from Victoria, left on May 5, 1866, “it was more like a triumphal procession than the retirement of a Governor in disgrace.” But it can scarcely be said that the Office was unduly precipitate in its action against Grey. During his six years as Governor in New Zealand it had endured much from him in the way of passive resistance to commands, and we have seen that the approaching completion of his term of office was well understood in the colony. It is significant that no strong desire for his reappointment had ever been expressed. To offer him a less important Governorship would have been regarded as an insult. To offer him Canada, which he later coveted, was scarcely possible, since similar questions of defence policy to those which had caused such trouble with Grey in New Zealand, were involved there. Sir George's days as Queen's Representative were done. Later he was to become Prime Minister and lay the foundations of a Liberal party whose influence is active to this day.

1 C.O. 209, 206.

2 Ibid., 207.