Wellington Independent. "NOTHING EXTENUATE; NOR SET DOWN AUGHT IN MALICE." THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1868.
The further news received from tho Front, by the Bangitira, is of the most alarming and unsatisfactory character. The " retreat policy" of Colonel Ilaultain is bringing forth fruit. The country abandoned by our forces has been occupied by the enemy, who have burned every building in which it was possible a man could find shelter. The settlers, who on the faith that the Government would afford them protection had occupied portions of the confiscated land north of the Tangahoo river, have been obliged to abandon their homesteads, and are now utterly ruined ; while it is clear from the expressions let fall by Colonel Ilaultain at Wanganui, that the Government intend to offer no compensation for tho losses inflicted upon industrious men, who have been the pioneers of settlement in those outlying districts. Nor is this by ■ any means the worst of the news. The ' settlement of Patea, now that the outposts are abandoned, has become unsafe. The force left to defend it is almost wholly demoralised, and the general feeling amongst the settlers seems to be, that it ' will no longer be safe to remain in the district, when judging by the past, it is certain that the Government will not take any efficient measures to protect it in the future. When in addition to this deplorable intelligence wo hear rumours that the Maori King has declared for war, and that a general rising son5 on the part of the Hauhaus is said to be contemplated, it Avill be admitted, that through the incapacity and mismanagement of the present Governnent, a crisis of the most serious character has arisen. It is true that the intelligence relating to a projected general rising of the Hauhaus has not yet been confirmed, but when this statement is taken in connection with the events of the last three months — our impotent action — disorganisation in the camp and serious disasters in the field — it seems only what might naturally have been expected. Never before has mismanagement been so great on our side or success on tho other. Doubtless the vie- ', tory of Tito Kowaru would be told of throughout the island to encoui'age the disaffected, and rouse them from sullen discontent to Qpen rebellion. If therefore the temporary success of those West Coast hapus should cause- the present isolated fighting to assume the character of a national movement, the blame Avill rest upon a Government which did not take tho proper measures to nip it in tho bud. And now what is to be done ? Alas ! that is a question which we cannot answer. Tho country is cursed with incapable Ministers, who cling to office, and who in the meantime are maintained
there by those whom they have corrupted. We have no hope that any good work will be done till those men are ignominiously driven from ofiice, and Aye trust this may be done before the colony is subjected to further disasters. Since tho foregoing remarks were written our worst anticipations have been realised. A special messenger arrived last night from Wanganui, bringing the intelligence that Titokowaru had crossed the Patea river with his followers and taken up a fresh position. It is said that he will try to rally round him the disaffected hapus of Waitotara, and, having gained strength, will establish himself at Kai Iwi, from which place he intends making an attack on Wanganui. The action of Colonel M'Donneli in face of this serious danger, has been prompt and decided. The friendly natives have again been asked to aid us, and despite the niggardly treatment which they have experienced &t the hands of Colonel Haultain, the request has been cheerfully responded to. The Militia, also, have been placed under arms, and every possible preparation, mado to encounter and defeat the arch-rebel and his supporters. Tho people of this province are now face to face with a great danger, and it behoves us to meet it like brave men. It is no longer a question of defending the outposts, because the war is now brought almost to the doors of the most flourishing settlement in the province. We have been true prophets. The abandonment of the outposts has brought the ivar close to the centres of population. Verily ! Colonel Haultain, " with the advice and approval of his colleagues," has done his work of mischief well, and only sneaked back to Wellington in time to save his own skin, | I alike from the Hauhaus and the infuri- ] ated settlers. We believe that our Wanganui friends and fellow-settlers, now that the hour of danger has come, will be equal to the occasion, and that they will crush Titokowaru and his force, despite the mismanagement and criminal folly of the Government. In the latter wo have no faith or hope. They have created this wretched war ; they have nursed a puny spark into a great blaze — which now they are utterly unable to quench. There are two things which need to be done if tho country is to be saved from ruin ; the Assembly must expel the Government, and tho settlers must defeat and slay those rebels who now threaten Wanganui with destruction. And to help to do this, the people, in a monster gathering, should meet to consider the .serious crisis which has arisen, to denounce the men who have brought it about, and to give all the moral support in their power to that party in the Assembly which is now seeking, in the true interests of the country, to oust them from office.