Abraham, Charles John
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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C123-32
The Close, Lichfield
22 July 1884
My dear Mr Chesson,
My feeling about the Maori ‘question’, & the attempt to induce the imperial government to entertain the consideration of their grievances, is that they do not put their appeal sufficiently on the right ground. I should have made the appeal itself very short, and have put the grievances in a separate schedule. Then the ministers of the crown would be obliged to give a definite answer to the one point of the appeal.
Now he will say that the imperial government has handed over N.Z. affairs to an independent local autonomous government. The appeal should have questioned the right of the crown to have done so, or to do so still. I should have said something of this sort, and I should carefully stick to this one point and say nothing else.
‘By the Treaty of Waitangi in 1841(?) we the chiefs of N.Z. surrendered our sovereignty to the Queen on the condition that we were governed and cared for by her. She ruled us through a governor. The crown, without consulting us, transferred its sovereignty virtually and to all intents and purposes, to the colonists of New Zealand, altogether a different body, a body interested in the colonial progress, not in Maori rights. We deny the right of the imperial crown to make a treaty with us, & then hand us over to a colonial government. We have experienced a change injurious to our welfare ever since the crown passed us on to the colony. We can enumerate in another document our grievances, but the main point is this. That the Queen made a treaty with us, and sent her own representative to deal with us, and that a man not a colonist, and we deny your right to alter the position without the consent of the other party, namely the Maori people.’
This is the way I should write and speak, if I was a Maori.
Yours very truly