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An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

Address of the Baron de Thierry to the White Residents in New Zealand

Address of the Baron de Thierry to the White Residents in New Zealand.


I appeal to every respectable white resident in New Zealand for his decision in a question from which he must discard the prejudice which the reports of evil-disposed persons have insidiously raised against me, and in which he must allow the unshackled dictates of his heart to respond-to the voice of honour, honesty, and integrity. I appeal to every New Zealander for the truth; to the relatives of Shungie; to Waikato, my old and valued friend; to the heirs of Mudi Wai; to Patu One; to Nene; and to the missionaries themselves, to say whether I did or did not purchase the land to which I lay claim, many years before it became the favourite residence of Europeans. The family of the late Mr. Kendall yet exist; Mr. F. Hall and Captain James Herd are still alive; and there are many others who can bear witness for me. I appeal to them for the truth in a matter which so closely concerns every person who has ever purchased an acre of land in New Zealand; but let them remember the solemn injunction, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour!"

I claim the district called the Te Tu One, at the source or rise of the River Yokianga; the district of Wai Hue, adjoining the aforesaid district called the Wai Hue; also the district called Huta Kura, adjoining the aforesaid district called Te Papa; all of which districts are situated at the source and on the eastern and western banks of the River Yokianga, and coutain by estimation 40,000 acres, be the same more or less. These districts were purchased for me by, Mr. Kendall, of the chiefs Mudi Wai, Patu One, and Nene (friends to Shunghie and Waikato). in presence of Captain James Herd and Mr. William Edward Green, master and first officer of the ship "Providence," then in New Zealand; on the 7th day of August, 1822, forwarded to England by the hands of Mr. F. Hall, missionary, through the Church Missionary House in London, and copies delivered at the Foreign Office, Dawning, Street, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. The question at issue is, then, whether the first purchase has the first right, or whether a first purchaser's right is to be destroyed at the will of the original seller. If the first be decided according to the written law of every civilized nation on earth, the land belongs to me; but, if the Natives have a right to resell, they may do it again and as often as they please; and I might (if I were capable of such au act) consider myself justified by such a decision in purchasing all the lands now held by the white residents at Hokianga; the residents might again purchase over me, and I over them, till he who has lost most money, or has most friends to back him, remains master of the field, until some man of larger capital renews a struggle which must ultimately bring ruin to all parties, and end in the total extermination of the whites.

You that have bought land in New Zealand; you that have wives and children to look to you for provision; you who do not side with robbers and oppressors; you who must recognize the rights of others, if you wish them to recognize your own; you will one day be called upon to render an account of your proceedings to the high tribunal of Heaven. Will you consent to see me deprived of a right which I claim in common with every other landowner in that country? Remember, gentlemen, that my expedition has been projected and been often attempted for upwards of sixteen years. The eyes of the world are now open upon you, and you will be judged by your own verdict. The 'question which affects my claim involves the legitimacy of your own, and you must hold your own lands or lose them according' to the side you take in the case now before you.

I know that several respectable families are residing on my lands, intending perhapsto settle there for life; and I am equally aware that their industry has greatly increased the value of my estates. Let them be assured that I have no wish to disturb them, and that I would rather add to their comforts by all the means in my power than put them to loss or inconvenience. For every acre which the residents may have in cultivation on my arrival, I will grant them a free lease of-three acres for so long as they shall acknowledge me as lord, of the soil; with this reservation only: that should their families at any time leave the country without intention to return, I shall re-enter into possession, and: have the refusal at a fair valuation of such buildings and other improvements as may have been erected on the land. Their cattle may continue to run on any unenclosed part of my territories, and I will, protect their property with as much attention as my own. It must be obvious to every one that the page 7greater the number of residents on the land the more its value must improve. I consider I derive a real benefit by the sacrifice of part of my property, because other parts become more valuable as population increases; and, by the same reasoning, those to whom I resign portions of land will be better off with such estates as they can turn to advantage than if they possessed the whole country. I improve the value of every man's, property, besides increasing his means of doing business, by bringing customers for what he may have to sell, leaving the small trade to those who already enjoy it, and retailing no further than may be necessary to satisfy the Natives for what I may require of them. My arrival in New Zealand can have no other effect than to bring a fast-accumulating host of customers to the retailers, and consequently to cause a vast improvement in their circumstances. Connected with mercantile firms of the highest respectability in both, hemispheres, I shall be able to afford the small trader the facilities which have hitherto been wanting to his prosperity; he will have constant opportunities of sending his produce to a market, without dread of overwhelming monopolies. At the present time a settler may saw timber, salt a few barrels of pork, or have a few tons of maize, potatoes, or flax for sale, without being able to dispose of them at a fair profit; or he may be unable to wait, three or four months for the return of his little capital from these colonies, which return is rendered the more uncertain by his being unable to effect assurances on his property. I shall make the necessary arrangements for the removal of this disadvantage, so that risks may be covered, and my keeper of the stores shall be instructed to purchase marketable produce from the smaller trader at average colonial prices, deducting a reasonable profit, freight, assurance, and commission. By an immediate return of capital the industrious man may have all the benefit of his exertions, and, by turning it over as often as he may have produce to sell, his yearly profits will be considerably increased, and he will be saved all the risk and disappointment which he has to contend with. Important as these advantages must be to those who wish to insure a provision to their families, it is obvious that they cannot be obtained unless New Zealand affords such a protection to life and property as may justify merchants in making consignments or investing capital in commercial speculations. This protection must necessarily depend on the sort of guarantee which an organized system of government is able to offer and, as it is no less certain that a Native Government can never sufficiently understand those intricate questions in political economy, to benefit the mass without injury to individuals, than it is clear that foreign government would bring inevitable ruin on the whole body of settlers, there exists an imperious and unquestionable necessity that I should remove these fatal disabilities by the adoption of a rational and paternal independence. But, though I am so well impressed with all the advantages which must arise from my early arrival, and though I know that at least a portion of New Zealand will be saved from the horrors of anarchy, I interfere with no part of it save my own territories. Such of our neighbouis as may be desirous to benefit by our institutions shall be received as brothers, their land shall be surveyed and enrolled, and in the hour of danger, as in times of peace, their families shall be protected with our lives. Strong by being united, happy in neighbourly harmony, we must bring upon the New Zealanders and upon ourselves those blessings which may lay the foundation of the future greatness of our adopted country.

Believe me, residents of Hokianga, that I have not been unmindful of your necessities. I go to govern within the bounds of my own territories, it is true; but I neither go as an invader nor a despot. You will find, in me a brother and a friend, who will feel proud of, your advice and co-operation in legislative measures, and who, without claiming an unwilling service from you, will preside over, your safety and prosperity. Had this been done ten years ago how different would have been the present condition of the white man and of the New Zealander! In a community likeyours what can you do without a head? No nation can enter into treaty with you; your possessions and property are exposed to every vicissitude; you are bound by no common sympathies; you have no certain protection against danger, because your very pursuits divide your interests; you have no strength to oppose to foreign or domestic invasion, no power to prevent or punish crime: even in the most extreme cases you may have to cross the seas in search of slow and uncertain justice; you are oppressed by monopolies, and are little better; than outcasts, where you have the power to be happy, secure, and prosperous. I need not represent to you the long catalogue of disadvantages under which you labour; they are well known to you; and, if you can banish from your minds the ridiculous reports which have been propagated concerning my "pretensions" (as they have been styled), Hokianga will immediately become what no other part of New Zealand has ever yet been, and which none will ever be able to become unless there exists a power which you assist in directing, and in which the Natives will participate in proportion as they are able to understand the intricacies of civilized government. Then will you reap the golden harvest of your early speculations, your lands will rapidly rise in value, and the immense resources of New Zealand will attract to our shores traders from all nations, who will take our produce and spread before our thriving families all the comforts and enjoyments of home.

A due regard to your present situation has induced me to make pecuniary sacrifices, of which you will not, I am certain, be unmindful. I shall be accompanied by a considerable number of respectable families, who will add to your society and increase your feeling of security. I take a surgeon, whose duty will be to give gratuitous attendance to the poor of either colour; also experienced agriculturists, who will instruct you in the cultivation of cotton and tobacco; mechanics of various trades, whose joint efforts will vastly improve your circumstances; and hundreds of persons will follow by, the regular traders which are to visit our settlement. I have engaged a gentleman of high classical attainments as tutor to my sons, and given him permission to take the sons of respectable settlers under his care, who will have the advantageof the best education. A lady will have the care of my daughter, of the daughters of the principal persons accompanying me, and of such residents on my territories as may wish to intrust her with their children. In both these academies the sons and daughters of chiefs will be clothed, and will receive a libera English education. To all chiefs who shall enter into treaty with me, and engage to live at peace with other tribes and with the whites, I will give occasional bounties in reward of good conduct; and-everything shall be done on my part to better theirsituation, and to raise them to a respectable rank in society.

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It is well known that no civilized government can be carried on without a revenue, and the settlers may ask whether it is to he derived from direct or indirect taxes. I do not intend resorting to either; and by this declaration I can show that the residents on my territories will be in more prosperous circumstances than those of any other civilized nation; for should all import dues and licenses (to say nothing of direct taxation) only amount to 5 per cent on the yearly expenses of a resident in Sydney, he will be £5 poorer on every hundred that' he spends than if he were living in New Zealand. It is as easy to begin' by establishing a productive Government as it is to form a consuming one. If we farm 5,000 acres of land to cover public expenses, and we clear about £10 per acre by our crops, we shall be inreceipt of £50,000 a year; and by due attention to our, growing wants we can meet them with a large surplus without adding to the cost of imported goods or cramping the means of individuals. By opening our port to free trade we attract traders from all nations; and Hokianga, bad she but a better entrance, would become the emporium of the new world.

I claim jurisdiction over no part beyond my own territories; but, if is should ever be the policy of the Bay of Islands to become a member of our society, a degree of prosperity will ensue of which no infant nation can offer a parallel. New, Zealand has such elements of wealth within herself that nothing is wanting to her greatness but a national domestic Government, capable of giving the necessary guarantees at homo and abroad. A vigorous administration, on the mildest and most equitable representative principles, in which every man, whether white or Native, has an interest, must be productive of happiness and harmony; and, as our institutions can never do otherwise than increase the prosperity of these colonies and add to their security, we shall ever be bound by the strong ties of reciprocal interest and good feeling.

I have too high an opinion of the residents of Hokianga to believethat those who have been so active in misrepresenting my intentions to the Natives will now withhold the real truth from them; and I feel persuadedthat amidst so many white settlers some will be found whose honest candour will induce them to convey to the chiefs the substance of this address, and point out to them the happiness and prosperity which my arrival must secure to the tribes of which I consider myself the sovereign representative.

To the Wesleyan Missionaries who are said to reside on my territories I can only say, in common with other settlers, Continue to reside where you are; and may that same Almighty God whom we all adore assist me in increasing the measure of your usefulness to the people of New Zealand.

You will judge by the annexed Articles of Agreement, by which I bind those who accompany me' whether I am likely to do good or evil. Judge me by my works, as the tree is judged by its fruit; and, upon fair and impartial consideration, I am convinced you will believe me,

Your very sincere friend,

Cacharles, Baron de Thierby.

Sydney, 20th September, 1837.