|Download original image
MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 22 / G99 Vol 1 – 14
April 29th 1884
Dear Mr Chesson,
Have you heard more than the enclosed tells? I hope you may have heard from Mr McBeth. I saw in The Times that Tawhiao and companions were on board the Sorata (orient line from Melbourne) bound for England.
It is Tawhiao the king, or his son, or only some relative who coming as his representative takes his name, according to native custom, who is en route?
As to Sidney Taiwhanga I have written him many letters to which I have had no reply, and I guessed why. Several Maories, and some of the native clergy and the old Wiremu wrote enquiring is Sidney was correct in thinking they wd obtain their desire, confiscated land restored and money returned them by the governt wh the tribes had had to pay after the war. They recapitulated their claims, indemnity for this and that and the other wrong, going back to the long ago days when Mr Busby was resident at Paihia set over them, and the idea of getting our Queen to compel the Colonial Governt to pay them large sums of money and to return them the lands now occupied by the English seemed worth every effort to strain after. The absurdity of some of their claims were apparent and after an ignorant fashion their real and unreal grievances were all mixed up together, but the multitude eyed for money seized on the idea of making a claim!
I wrote very plainly and told them (much as I know others have) that if they wd all clearly state their difficulties and be united as to their grievances and as to what was wished for and place it before their Colonial Ministers and ask for their difficulties to be considered and adjudicated upon by the imperial parliament that it wd be heard and their cause be righted. But that when they mixed up present grievances, with troubles of 30 and 40 years ago and expected half a million of money to be given to them and taxes made for their benefit (for all landing dues and taxes they thought themselves entitled to), they wd find no hearing vouchsafed them, but that their petitions wd be viewed as chimerical and not be heeded. The old Wiremu enquired did I think the visit to England of representatives of every tribe wd cost hundreds or thousands ‘to remain in a large house in London for a year.’ I answered several thousands, and that even had they the money it would be impoverishing their tribes to no purpose to come!
I wrote strongly to dissuade them for certainly those who come may personally not be benefited by a prolonged stay in England and as regards the objects propounded and the wild ideas of redress entertained by the many tribes in New Zealand, only disappointment and vexation of spirit could ensue and probably after quarrels arise and certainly much money be wasted . I felt so sorry for the poor Maoris as in every village there are many who scarcely have any money and to whom the donations they have subscribed to send Tawhaio, Taiwhanga and others to Longon must have been a real impoverishment. Sidney Taiwhanga has dwelt so perpetually on their grievances that he sees nothing else.
Also, he was mortified and annoyed at not obtaining an audience with Her Majesty and Sir F. Dillon Bell’s rudeness to Wiremu calling him an inferior chief reviled him and he went back determined to get chiefs of highest position to come to England with him and make as he hopes an impress over here.
I am heartily sorry that they are coming, and suppose with plenty of money and proclaiming made fashion that fact, will lay themselves open to many evils whilst over here.
I shall not be able to go up to town to receive them and ‘mother’ them as before. I need not add my heart feels as greatly anxious for their welfare but tho greatly stronger than when I first come down here last Dec I am only now able to go to Church to a short service and walk about the garden and a little way on quite level ground.
When too weak to be dressed last year, I yet put pen to paper in writing to them but Sidney Taiwhango careering abt all over New Zealand begging for funds to defray the visit to England, probably never received many of them. However, at Kaihu and Kaikohi he plainly had heard my advice but wd not heed it. If I am rightly informed two of the Maories on board the Sorata are clever but from habits of drinking and holiday making and extravagance lost their situations as writers at Governt House, they may as Hakuna did learn by staying in England not to drink etc, but they are just the men to whom travelling to see Europe at no expense to themselves will be delightful and Pene speaks English and is very gentlemanly I have heard and a fluent scribe. I shall care to know if the Aborigines Protection Society propose taking any action on their behalf and if any members of the committee now in London will be hospitable to them. I propose being here for another 2 or 3 weeks and then go on a succession of visits but any letter addressed to my own house in Dorset will of course be forwarded. In June I hope to find myself yet stronger if we have hot weather and then I will go to London and to …
With very kind regards