The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prevalebit. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1881. The Collapse of the Two Prophets.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 450 p.m.j
Notwithstanding the efforts of the Lyttelton Times to incite the natives on the West Coast of the North Island against the Government, Messrs Te Whiti and Tohu have judiciously caved in. On Saturday morning last both prophets were quietly arrested, and were subsequently sent on to New Plymouth. Hiroki, the alleged murderer, who has been a good deal at Parihaka lately, and whose special friendship the two large talking Maori chiefs have been ominously silent in explaining, was arrested at the same time, and, we presume, handcuffed and lodged in gaol. Of course, he is entitled to a fair trial, but if he is found guilty, we trust that no squeamishness about offending the Maoris will prevent his being hanged in the usual manner. The native difficulty, however, is by no means yet settled. The first decisive step has been taken, and has answered admirably, but that is all. As chessplayers would put it, “ white has opened with a fine attack, and has already two pieces to the good.” But there may be a lot of play in the game yet. The two cunning Maori chiefs have made no resistance to being arrested. And they have acted wisely. Any resistance would be sure at once, and without doubt, to condemn them for obstructing the lawful authorities. And besides that, perhaps they are aware of what is an a&yeit **ii£d fact, that, though they are .'known to be
morally guilty of high treason, it will be ; very difficult to frame any indictment by which they can be legally condeftinedfor any heavy criminal offence. It is to be hoped that the law officers of the Crown will not aim at obtaining such a conviction, but only charge them with something of a light character, say trespass, common assault; of obstructing the police in the discharge oi their duty. There is fldfc much question chat piroof Can be furnished of their inciting their followers and conspiring with them to do these things. What is wanted is merely some lawful ground for locking them up in gaol for a little while, so that they may have time for reflection; and that their deluded may have an opportunity of testing the accuracy of those remarkable prophecies which they have been scattering broadcast for the past few fnonthy, and which we all know t‘6 be unmitigated quackery and imposture. As for the prospects of a War with the natives, that certainly seehfs much further off than before. Though the Maoris are very fond of tall talk and of flattery, they are, to do them justice, good fighting men, and for that reason consider their chances in a war beforehand. Many of them can recollect that they had to succumb ill their former wars when they were Wore numerous, and the Europeans far less so that! at present. Their chief and prophet also, Te Whiti* though a godd talking mail', haS heVer bdeh a good nUn for fighlihg, and the Maori King, Tawhiao, is on perfectly friendly terms with our Government, and evidently regards Te Whiti as something riext door to a usurper of his master's powers. Of course iil the present excited state of the public mind on the West Coast a spark at any time might be fanned into a blaze, but there is no probability that, unless by accident, a war will break out.