New Zealand Gazette
New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Rōrahi IV, Putanga 304, 6 Hakihea 1843, Page 2
New Zealand Gazette
AND WELLINGTON SPECTATOR. Wednesday, December 6, 1843. WAIRAU MASSACRE. We think it well to revert to thisimelancholy event, on the departure of another vessel direct to London. The papers carried by the Nelson, will have shown our fears of the mischief that might be expected to arise if immediate ste.ps were not taken to bring the perpetrators of that cold-blooded deed, to justice. Our papers now daily afford evidence of bad feeling increasing between the Natives and the settlers, and there is no avoiding the conviction that the indifference shown by the authorities respecting the Wairau Massacre, is inducing the Natives to pursue a course which, will lead to hostilities from which great mischief must arise. The arrival of Captain Fitzroy is looked for now
! with- much anxiety, from the conviction that he will take the steps necessary to destroy the bad feeling now so rapidly on the increase. While at Sydney, he will have heard of the readiness with which both the Governor of Van Diemen's Land and of New South Wales listened to our appeals for assistance, and will feel that with aid so readily extended, the Auckland Government have had the power of taking such steps as justice demands. They cannot plead the want of power, and we presume therefere, they will attempt to excuse themselves, by declaring their reason for abstaining to bring the murderers to justice, to have been a fear of embarassing Captain Fitzroy's proceedings, or the policy it was probable he might see fit to adopt. Should this he the excuse offered for pursuing a course which. Will in all probability heap great difficulty upon Captain Fitzroy's Government, we have no doubt the new Governor will furnish a reply, the force of which will be well merited. He may with truth ask them whether any other course can be pursued than that of bringing the murderers to justice. The Auckland Government must j be weak indeed if they suppose .Captain Fitzroy will not be able at once to distinguish between the question whether the attempt to arrest the Natives was or was not a legal act, from the punishment due to the Natives for having slaughtered in cold blood two and twenty of our countrymen who had given up their arms, while there was no reason to fear any attack from any more, as the .remainder were scattered, and had fled in various directions. We are confident Captain Fitzroy will feel that the eold-b]ooded murder must be revenged, and that any excuse the Auckland Government can offer for not having done their duty, is equally a shame and a disgrace alik^e to .their heads and their hearts. The friends of the murdered men at home, will find by the matters recorded in the New Zealand papers, that no apathy has been shown by the Settlers. They have been of one opinion; they have urged upon the Local Government the necessity of taking immediate steps.; they formed themselves into a militia to be prepared to strengthen the hands of the Government, and were in consequence insulted by that Government. They sent memorials to the Governors of Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales, which received immediate attention. Indeed every step that /«oul4.bd *ak«n to-revpngo^hp dear!,*nd render heir memories sacred has been adopted.
We copied articles relative to the Wairau Massacre, into a late number of our journal, from Van Biemen's Land papers k We have no doubt they have been read with feelings of great indignation towards, and contempt for their authors, who doubtless have their motives for stating what they knew to be a tissue of falsehoods ; such statements fortunately carry their antidote from such a source ; for in reading them every man .whose word is likely to have any influence, will naturally have the following questions suggest themselves to his mind. Are these articles from the pens of men in Van Diemen's Land, the only Colony possessed by Great Briton in which a native population has been wholly exterminated, and that in the short space of thirty years 2 And is it not a fact that the New Zealand Company's system is the first and only system, which was and is marked by its benevolence towards the native population ? The Gompany have been successfully .thwarted in carrying out their views by the Government to whom their plans appear to have been offensive, because inexpensive and likely to redound to their credit. In copying the wicked articles from the Van .Diemen's Land papers to which we refer, we had in veiw showing to the Settlers, what they may expect when news of the accounts of the Wairau Massacre having reached England is received here. We believe a certain class of English papers, will hasten to write such articles as have been put forth in the neighbouring Colonies. But the truth will prevail if efforts are made with that purpose ; and we do hope, that, persons will give the right version of the sad affair in their correspondence with their friends ; adopting this course would go far to correct the mis-statements we may expect to be industriously put forward in the London press. There is now a duty to be performed in England, which we have no doubt will be most ably accomplished. Efforts will be made to create the feeling that the murdered deserved their fate. We shall hear of the innocence, gentleness, and kindness, of the Maories. Statements to the effect that they have been cruelly wronged, and at last were goaded into resisting their oppressors will be put forward, and the silly will believe the statements;' and the bad having an interest in such statements prevailing, will, for the power it will give them over the silly, pretend to be horror stricken with the cruelty which has been practised towards the natives. But it is a iact which cannot be got over, that the natives murdered twenty-two of our countrymen in cold blood. This must be kept prominently
forward, until justice is satisfied. And w9w 9 take this opportunity of stating, from iuforformation which has been derived from native slaves who were present at the Massacre, that there is reason to believe that the unfortunate men were not killed for two hours after they were prisoners ; that they were told they should be killed; that every insult was offered to them while alive, and that they were cruelly tormented, if not actually tortured. It must be kept in mind that we have had very imperfect evidence about the Massacre, and that no white man present lives to tell the tale. Not until the chiefs are taken can the slaves be expected to stats what they T§ere commanded to do ; for were they to do so now faithfully in a court of law, they dare not return to their countrymen, for assuredly as they did they would immediately be murdered. But show the power of the white man by pursuing the chiefs, and the slaves testimony may be obtained ; and it U alike needed in justice to the native and the settlers character.
We know no better mode of vindicating the memory of the murdered, than for their friends to give a short account of the principies and carder of the principal men killed on that day. Any who have known Captain A.Wakefield, Messrs. A. Thompson.Howard, Patehet, Cotterel, and Richardson, will admit that such men would be an honor to any age or country. Each of these lamented gentlemen must have at home influential friends who, we are convinced, will protect their memories from the insult which endeavours will be made to heap upon them.
After the course pursued by the Auckland Government, all will feel convinced that the version of the Waiiau matter forwarded to the Colonial Office will have been most unjust. We have already seen how much the advantage of a communication with the Colonial Office has Keen abused, and we think in justice some memorial on the subject should be seat to Lord Stanley. Statements f rom the colonists, addressed to the Colonial Office, must be sent through the Local Government. But statements to our disadvantage are sent home by the Governor direct to the Office, and no means of a reply is afforded until it may prove out of season ; in justice, Lord Stanley ought to discourage insidious attacks upon persons and settle* ments so frequently forwarded by the Auckland,-Government. Mr. Hanson** letter- to the Aborigines Society is a case in point, of great importance. That ought not to have been received at the Colonial Office until it had been made public in the Colony. True a copy was communicated to the Company, but they >could not possibly be in a condition. to furnish a reply, it had therefore to be answered some twelve months later in the Colony. And though that answer is most full, in the meantime we believe Me. Hanson's letter to have been almost fatal to the Colony. Though the answer will, we are convinced, be admitted to be complete, -it never can undo the mischief of which the letter has already been the cause. Our friends in England will remember that, to this hour, we have only been able to publish the depositions relative to theWairau Massacre taken at Nelson, and that those taken on the scene of the murder and in this port have been suppressed by the Authorities; consequently, no opportunity for comment on them has been afforded. It must be palpable to every impartial mind, that a desire to prevent ths colonists from putting forward their view upon fhe whole of the evidence, and so to weaken their statements, must be the sole cause of keeping us thus long imperfectly informed.