New Zealand Gazette.
New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Volume I, Issue 19, 15 August 1840, Page 2
New Zealand Gazette.
Saturday, August 15, 1840.
"In our last number we drew the attention of our readers to the Bill for the Settlement of Titles in New Zealand, presented by the .Governor of New South Wales to the Legislative Council of that Colony. The subject of that 'Bill 'is so all-important to the whole population of this port t that we make no apologies for returning to the' topic. The effect of, the measure, if carried, as we have too much reason to fear has already been the case, is twofold. In the first place it deprives us of the whole site of our town ; and in the second renders it a nier'e spefculation whether we get any country land : * or if we should obtain this as an act of grace from the Crown, what will be its extent and situation. The first effect paralyzes the operations of fhpse who had intended to employ their capital in the erection of houses, or m tiie pursuit ' of -commerce ; and the second places an insurmountable barrier in the way of iho c who had intended to employ themselves in
agriculture. Wo Colonist can", in justice to himself, incur 'an expenditure, ithe whole profit of which may be reaped by another. To erect houses which in a very few months or weeks even must be abandoned, or to clear at a large expense land which the Government at a moment's notice might seize and sell, would "be an act of gratuitous folly. Nor could any one of us, under the circumstances, hope for any compensation for the improvements we might effect, since it would be truly said that every thing had been done after full notice of the intentions of the Government. In place, therefore, of the activity which we frail fondly .expected to follow from the selection of the town acres, we fear that we shall have to witness a depressing stagnation, injurious alike t6 the capitalist and the labourer.
Perhaps however, the worst feature in our present position,, is the utter powerlessness of the colonial authorities to apply a remedy. We do not doubt that before this time Capt. .Hobson has been made aware by means of Col. Wakefield of the cruel injustice to which the settlers at Port Nicholson are exposed, in consequence of the proceedings of the English Government. But he can do nothing to help us. Nor can even Sir George Gipp.>, who has acted, as we have reason to know, in strict conformity with the instructions of the Colonial Minister, suspend the operation of a 'measure which has beeu duly passed, and to which he has given the assent of Her Majesty, however he might be convinced of its inexpediency or inappropriateifess. Those on the spot whom we might hope to move by representations of the true nature of our position, are mere instruments for carrying into effect the instructions of a higher authority ; anil in what manner can we expect to render that authority conscious of its "error, or persuade it to retrace its steps? And if we could entertain snch an expectation, long before our remonstrances had succeeded in awakening the tardy and reluctant attention of Lord John Russell, all the mischief that we now apprehend would probably have been effected. The capitalists and labourers of the Colony would have been driven from a place where neither property nor industry was protected, to other more secure localities; and 'the intelligence that our representations hail produced their effect would arrive at an abandoned port. The picture that we have here drawn is sufficiently gloomy : we tear that it is also but too true. We are not, however, without sources of con'solatiou, In the first place, though upon this we do not lay much stress, it is possible that Capt. Ilobson may have some secret instructions with regard to the settlers under the Company, enabling him to suspend or modify the operation of the measures of the Sydney Government, so far as th< y app.y to us. it is difficult to believe that any Government having the power by a simple declaration of its intentions to stop a procedure to which it was opposed, would have permitted a number of its subjects to embark in 'an enterprise it had dete mined to defeat, without some cautionary warning. We do not suspect Lord John Russell of any such duplicity, and we would therefor« fa.n hope I that some discretionary power is vested i.i the Governor with regard to ourselves. But this hope is well nigh destroyed, by the knowledge that Lord John Russell is totally ignorant of the details of our proceedings, that he has no experience in colonial affairs to supply the want of specific knowledge, and that the measures about to be applied to this Settle- j ment have been framed by subordinates, capa- ' ble of acting under the impulse of a petty ' jealously, and liable to no responsibility for the abuse of a power thrown 'into their hands ' only through the ignorance .Or indolence of I their superiors. From Lord John Russell we might hope much ; but he knows nothing of our position. * Rom our real legislators, Mr. Stephen anil Mr. Gardiner we can hope nothing.
• But happily, iv the second place, our fortunes are not yet beyond our own control. "We ate still a United body, capable of acting in union, and of combining our capital and our industry for the furtherance of our common good. So long as this union exists, we may find or may make a road for the accomplishment of our objects. We 'may treat on advantageous terms with the Governor of New Zealand, who must naturally be desirous of retaining Under his Government an enterprising and numerous community, capable, as has been p" roved in this spot, of conferring value upon' any place upon which they may settle; a community moreover connected with a body of capitalists in England unexampled for wealth and influence, and by whose report of the •■ capabilities of New Zealand, and of the rights enjoyed there by British subjects, the future emigration to this countiy will mainly be influenced. Under him the Company may acquire for us, here or elsewhere, upon equitable terms, a town, a harbour, and an agricultural district, where we may esta-i
Wish ourselves", . and retain the emigration which every month may be expected to bring. And, if in cori'tempt alike, of expediency knd justice, our claims are disregarded and "our rights violated, if we are put without the pale of the English Constitution, and denied the protection of English law, we have the consolation of knowing that New Zealand is riot the only country, nor England the only state in the world. In some happier place we may secure the advantages we had hoped from our emigration to New Zealand. And wherever may be our final resting place we shall have the full benefit of our population and property ; we shall command the aid of the Company, and the sympathy and support of our well wishers at home ; and we shall be followed by those who if we had remained in this place would have joined 'us in New Zealand.
•It is impossible under our present difficulties not to speculate upon our future desthy, though until Colonel Wakefield's return it must be confessed that these speculations are somewhat premature. Till his return, or until some communication is received from the Syine'y Government, we must arm ourselves with patience, holding ourselves in readiness to adopt any measures which may then be found expedient. In the mean time we would impress upon our readers a lesson, sanctioned by the experience of ages, but which nevertheless men are too . apt to forget in seasons of difficulty, and embodied iv the phrase, " Union is strength."
The following is a very brief summary of the proceedings in the New South Wales Council relatihgto New Zealand, to the latest date which we have received. TheTJill under discussion will be found in another part of the paper. On the 30th June a petition from H. C. Wilson, Esq., against the New Zealand Bill, was presented by Mr. H. JI Arthur, and hiving been read, was ordered to be received. Mr. Busby was then called in and heard in oppor sition to the bill. This gentleman dwelt particulaily upon the injustice of the fifth clause, and maintained that the intention of the Home Goverment did not wairant the course Sir George G.pps was pursuing. Mr. Wentworth was next called to the bar, and the learned gentleman maintained his claim to the purchase of land made both before and after the proclamations issued by His Excellency. He contended these proclamtions were invalid because not founded upon Uw. He further supported the legality of the proceedings of the Colonists of l'ort Nicholson. The Council adjourned before Mr. Wentworth had concluded and he resumed his defence the ensuin-* day, when he completed his masterly speech in opposition to the Bill. Messers A'Becket and Darvell as Counsel for the New Zealand Association wore heard, but we haye not met with the report of the speeches 'delivered Tiy these gentlemen. , . The Goyernor on_ the 9th July spoke at great length in reply to the petitioners, and was followed by the Chief Justice, Messers. J. and H H. M'Arthur, Jones, the Bishop and the Attorney General. They were all favourable to the Bill wi^h trilling modification. Abundance of authorities were quoted in support of the measure, but they appear to us to be inapplicable, the case of New Zealand bein" novel and peculiar. The preamble and four lirst clauses of the bill were sanctioned. The discussion was to be resumed on the 14th July, and there is no room to doubt thp p.issing of the Bill almost without alteration. We gather from Sir George Gipps that the quantity of land to be allowed to an individual or association, by the Bill, would be 2500 acres— if more be claimed, the applicants must no to Downing Street.
Before the resumption of the discussion of the Mil the Governor intended introducing the New Zealand Duties Bill. His Excellency expressed some doubts whether the Council would pass it, for which reason he brought it forward at an early period, in ordei t to have time in case of its being rejected, to consider 'what measure should be adopted in its place. *
Sevei-al articles stand over until next week.