Charles John Abraham to Frederick Chesson, 16 July 1882, C123/28

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Abraham, Charles John









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C123-28


The Close, Lichfield
16 July

My dear Mr Chesson,

This letter is for your public use if you think fit. The line I should take in addressing Lord Kimberly would be this.

In 1852 Sir John Pakington being the colonial minister framed a constitution for New Zealand, absolutely ignoring the sixty thousand natives who then outnumbered the English, & who were by the Treaty of Waitangi proclaimed to be as much subjects of the Queen as the English.

The electors of members to the Houses of Parliament, both provincial and general, were exclusively in the hands of the English. No native could vote even unless he claimed to have a crown grant which only a very few had. This was a direct violation of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the constitution put the whole power into the hands of the English. It was not till about the year 1865 that four or five natives were admitted into the Houses of Parliament.

I remember a clever native of Ngati awa (… could tell you the name of the great [Waikmae?] supporter of Wiremu Kingi) making a speech in 1852 to the natives after reading the constitution, and saying ‘This means war’, and he was right. This is the long and short of the whole question.

Yours most truly
C.J. Abraham