The Bishop of Waiapu to the Colonial Secretary.
I learn from the late English papers that a Memorial has been sent to the Governor urging His Excellency "to avail himself of the first favourable opportunity of endeavouring to terminate the war by negotiation; and also deprecating a proposal which has been made to confiscate the lands of all contumacious and rebellious Natives."page 88
I take the liberty of expressing an opinion on this subject, which I form upon long observation and personal intercourse with this people. That I am a friend of the Natives no one will for a moment doubt who is aware of the fact that I have spent nearly forty years of my life for their benefit; and it is because I am a friend of the Natives that I would not endeavour to screen them from punishment which I believe to be necessary, and likely to have a salutary effect upon them. In the circumstances which led to the present war, the Natives were blind to their interests, and have rejected the often-repeated advice of their best friends. They had organized the King movement, which seemed at first to be of a harmless character, but, when it was clearly tending to evil, the leading men in New Zealand, of that party whom some are fond of styling Maori sympathizers, one and all urged upon the Natives to give up this movement, and to send the flag to the Governor. The present war, it is well known, was brought on chiefly by Rewi, who acted in direct opposition to Tamehana and Matutaera; but this King organization led those [gap — reason: damage]o chiefs to make common cause with the rest. The Governor levied necessary war against the instigators of murder, and invited all the peaceably disposed to remain quiet, with the assurance that their lands should be intact; while those who took arms against the Government were warned that they would forfeit their land. They made a deliberate choice, and as Tamehana wrote to Archdeacon Brown—"E pa, kia rongo koe kua whakaae ahau kia whawhaitia te taone katoa; mana e kaha e pai ana, ma te Maori e kaha koia tenei."
Upon the subject of confiscation, I see no other way in which the Natives can be made to feel the evil of the course they have chosen. They had seen that in the former wars with Heke and Rangihaeata no confiscation had been made, but they were afraid now that a different course would be adopted. They knew what would follow if they could not keep up a successful opposition. The Natives of Tauranga told the Rev. C. S. Völkner, before the soldiers were sent there, that they would not object to give up the western side of Tauranga, if they might keep quiet possession of the land on the east side of Te Papa. The Opotiki Natives, too, when about to embark in this war, said, "We know that we shall lose our land—we shall not return here again;" but still they were bent on going.
The Natives who are remaining quiet have been encouraged to do so by the assurance of the advantages they would secure to themselves; but, if stringent measures are not taken against those who are making a vigorous opposition to the Government, the Natives will consider that they have after all gained the victory; and to bring them under reasonable control, and to make them amenable to one common law with ourselves, will become more difficult than it has been hitherto.
The Hon. the Colonial Secretary.
I remain, &c.,