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The Evening Herald. MONDAY, DEC. 16, 1872.

Had Rabelais lived in 1872 instead of 1530, and had he written a satire upon the Government of the Colony of New Zealand instead of upon the then Court of France, he could not have lighted on a happier figure to characterize the cares and efforts of the leading-'political 'par I

ties of this Colony than is contained in Pantagruel's account of how he found! the officers of the Queen employed after his arrival and reception in " the Antient Queendom of Whims." Pantagruel writes, after giving description of the entertainment offered him, " I then' " saw a great number of the Queen's' " officers who made Black-a-Moor's "white, as fast as hops, just rubbing " their backs with the bottom of a pan- " nier. Others, with three couple of " foxGS in one yoke, ploughed a sandy i " shore and did not lose their " seed. Others, again, sheared asses " and got long fleece wool ; also " washed the asses' heads without los- " ing their soap." Rabelais clearly must have had a prophetic vision vouchsafed to him of the party struggles of i New Zealand as they were to be—the Increased Maori Representation Bill, the addition of Maori members to the Executive, the erection of " King Tawhiao" into an independent prince under the protection of ths Colonial Government —must have been foreshadowed when the inimitable idea was granted him of making Black-a-nioors white by the simple expedient named (the panniers used were evidently bread panniers). It was the inception of the grand policy which we of the nineteenth century have styled the Flour-and-Sugar Policy. Thus we colonists do not deserve credit for conceiving the original idea; neither have we adopted it of our own good will. Hard bought experience has taught us the reluctantly learned lesson so well, that we scarcely needed confirmation of General Grant's opinion upon the merits of the Quaker's policy of conciliation to make us feel, know^ahd endeavour to practise it. The worst feature of our own case, however, is that the concessions made by us to the Maoris have not been made- on the grounds of equity, but have been rather forced from us as a neceesary result of the wretched struggles for power and place which annually disgrace our Parliamentary sessions — have been wrung, rather, from the paltry exigencies of Party, than yielded gracefully without pressure, as of the spontaneous justice of the scions of a great people towards a weaker race, the only course that would have attached any political value to - the tardy admission of the principle—the bidding for the support of the Maori members of the House began by Mr McLean talking vaguely of general amnesty and return of portions of the confiscated lands, whereupon Mr Stafford would return it also ; and, with louder promises still, carried for a brief period the sympathies of Wi Parata and Karaitiana with him, dazzled by the bait of one or other becoming a member of the Government. Promises were no sooner made than broken; made good, however, by Mr McLean, who sends Wi Tako (the substance of which Wi Parata was the shadow) and Mokena to the Upper House; and within the last few days we see the names of Wi Parata and Katene gazetted as added to the Council. Verily the Maoris have ploughed the sandy shore of the political situation with the three couplings of political foxes, that have come under the one yoke, and have not lost their seed. Rabelais must have had the Wellington politicians in contemplation when he spoke of those " who sheared asses and got long fleece wool." They are indeed proficients, and we divide our admiration between the skill of the operators and the patience of the shorn —it is generally accepted for fact that with the seat of government in Wellington, the Superintendent of that province has had more power than a Minister : what power must that be when the Superintendency is wielded by the Hon. William Fitzherbert, backedbysuch a colleague as the Provincial Treasurer. Is it not recorded how the latter haunted the august halls of Government and counted unopened letters in the pigeon-holes ; how he fastened himself upon that long-suffering Colonial Secretary Mr Gisborne, until the oppressed Minister cried out with the Preacher, " The evil clays draw nigh when the grasshopper shall be a burden." Did not the twain bully and cajole the Fox Ministry to aid them in their land speculations, and was not the Proclamation by Mr. Ormond under the 42nd clause of the Public Works Act obtained by them by practising on the weakness of the Ministry purely to further their schemes of Provincial aggrandizement. Did they not angle for the management of the confiscated lands and thwart every effort made by Mr McLean for the solution of the difficulties surrounding that troublesome question: Will the public forget that the men who talked loudest about the conservation of the public estate as they termed their neighbours'! property, were the very men who sacrificed an equitable public claim for a mess of pottage. They were mighty indignant when an officer recognised the claims of a few Europeans to a few hundred acres of native land on this coast, but were ready to and did in •

effect, abandon four million acres of j land upon which tli3 colonists had ex-! pended their blood and treasure to se-i cure the votes of two Maori represen- \ tatives; and now relegated by the turn [ of the political wheel to their original position we find them again intrm-uina:— again gathering up and rctying the meshes of their political net, strained and broken in their last unsuccessful cast. They have lost nothing, however, and we recognise in them also, those skilful officers who, as Pantagrnel tells us, " washed asses heads without losing their soap."

The Manawatu case ought to operate, we should imagine, as a warning of what tho Colony has to expect if it permits Provincial authorities to dabble in Maori land speculations. The Provincial creed is " self " and they look upon a land transaction in the same way as a merchant does a speculation in. trade, merely as a source of profit. What if the Colony has to bear the cost of a war so long as their ends are served. In the Manawatu case they demand their pound of flesh, and the Colony is asked to pay for the drops of blood. It is very well to talk of settlement and the interests of the poor man—the land purchase scheme on deferred payments is a sample of their care and tenderness for the suffering poor, and is so transparent a dodge, that even the poor man has seen through it and avoided the snare. Twelve months ago the block so offered could have been been purchased outright at a pound an acre, but as a great boon and encouragement it can now bo had for two pounds—half cash and the remainder by and bye, or on some such scheme. The Colonies have been since their formation the Elysium for the labouring classes, and those who choose to do so, save their earnings and become employers in their turn. Introduce capital by offering reasonable facilities and you may rehearse the old saying, " Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves." Do away with the senseless clisabiHieJs under which Maori lie in respect of their land dealings, and make room for the investment of capital. Cut down half the cost of Government by reducing Provincial Institutions to their legitimate sphere of operation, and keep them there oy shutting Superinintendents and their Executives out of Parliament, and the Colony will contrive to develope itself in spite of the Government ; for it may be safely taken as an axiom that the Colony may save the Government, but the Government will never save the Colony. <: Ducunt volentemfata, nolentem trahunt"—Communicated.

The election of Mayor for the ensuing year will take place on Wednesday next. We understand there will be no opposition to the re-election of the present Mayor, whose mayoralty dinner was so highly appreciated by the city aldermen, councillors and burgesses that they cannot afford to part with the annual fete. In a mayoralty point of view they may also think it is better to hear the ills they have than fly to others they kuow not of. A worse chairman could not be found if the* Colony were searched through. Poor memory, poor discrimination, no precise information of any kind, as far as he is concerned nothing would be clone right except by accident. Yet he is genial, possessing so much of the bonhomie that people like him in spite of his failings. We ourselves half enjoy his presence in the Mayoralty seat, though conscious that threefourths of the mistakes of the Council could fairly be charged to him.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

The Evening Herald. MONDAY, DEC. 16, 1872., Wanganui Herald, Volume V, Issue 1649, 16 December 1872

Word Count
1,476

The Evening Herald. MONDAY, DEC. 16, 1872. Wanganui Herald, Volume V, Issue 1649, 16 December 1872

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