4 APRIL 1840, Page 11


AxoTnEa question of foreign policy, scarcely less disgracefUl to Ministers than that of the Opium 'War, must presently come before Parliament. We allude to the gross neglect of our Government in allowing France to lay the foundation of a penal colony in New Zealand. Some of the facts are stated in the following extract from the Colonial Gazette of Wednesday last.

The inexplicable proceedings of the Government with respect to the co- lonization of New Zealand have had even a worse result than those anticipated who foresaw much of their evil tendency. An expedition has sailed from Roehfort for the purpose of forming a French colony in New Zealand ; and not only a French colony in what was long deemed and treated as a " de- pendency of the territory of New South \Vales," and therefore part of the -British dominions, but a penal colony in the neighbourhood of the spot where the body of the Queen's subjects who emigrated last year are probably by this time established.

" Our information on the subject is too precise and authentic to admit of doubt. It appears that immediately after the publication of a certain Treasury Minute, bearing date 19th July 1839, (See Colonial Gazette, No. 37,) whereby the sovereignty of the British Crown in New Zealand was repudiated, the public press of France abounded in calls upon the Government of that country to imitate our own by endeavouring to obtain a cession of territory and sove- reign rights from the native chiefs ; that to these eel's the Government of France gave a ready car, while our own was throwing every possible obstacle in the way of the British subjects then about to emigrate ; that a Company has been formed at Have for the purpose of colonizing New Zealand, and has obtained from the Governmetit a grant of money, a number of men picked from the royal navy, and a commission to reserve as the site rya penal settlement a fifth 01 any lands which they shall obtain. One ship belonging to this Com- pany has already sailed; and it is said that others will follow presently. Their destination is Banks's Peninsula in the South Island, where it is alleged that a Captain Langlois,oue of the Company, is the proprietor of a considera- ble territory purchased from the natives. We learn finally, that her Majesty's Ministers have been for some time aware of these filets, but have taken no steps in consequence.

" It is not our present purpose to inquire whether the very same acts per- formed at the same time as those which converted New South Wales, Van Diemen's Laud, and Norfolk Islaud into dependencies of the British Crown— which is the case for British sovereignty in New Zealand—really estaldidnal a British dominion in the latter islands unquestionable by foreim powers accord- log to the law of nations : that is a subject which must be discussed in Par- liament. Nor shall we here venture to opine to what extent subsequent acts of the Covernment may have amounted to an abandonment of such sove- reignty: ffir the mystery which the the Colonial Office has observed in this matter, as yet deprives the public of sufficient information whereon to found a Conchtsi‘e opinion. But this we may now say, with the assurance of general sympathy—that it' in truth France has acquired by acts or omissions of the British Government a right to colonize New Zealand, the British Government has been enormously negligent of the public interests confided to its care. "For now let us luridly note the evils MIMh must inevitably result from the establishment of a French penal colony in New Zealand. " Those islauds unity be said to command the Southern Pacific. They lie in the direct track of vessels homeward-bound from the Australian Colonies. An enemy secured in the possession of a good harbour there, might either cut up a valuable and rapidly-increasing branch of our trade, or would put us to the expense of a fleet liar its protection. That ally foreign power there establislod would soon become an enemy, seems more than probable, when one recollects how many wars have been occasioned by the rivalries and disputes of neighbouring colonies planted by different nations. Such colonies hare invariably quarrelled about boundaries by land and sea, and have drown

their parent states into hostilities. The rich soil of New Zealad, ahonniling in exportable products, with the prolific fishing-grounds of its neighbourhood. would give room for innumerable disputes, not to mention another element of discord in the aboriginal tribes, generally at war among themsolves, and

Sure when they get into collision with one set of col ts, to be aided by the other, l'he chances are, that bethre the toil of this session of Parliament, the

French and the .English will lie quarrelling in New Zealand, about or Water, or influence with some native tribe; 4111,1 that they should long Maintain distinct oationalities in so small a country so peopled, without coming to blows, is utterly impossible. The French Government may not know—what is the Bata—Hutt the uatives of New Zealand have been taught by the vagabond. English who have long inhabited the country.

the most hostile feelings towards the French. A massacre of the first body of French settlers by the natives, set ou and assisted by runaway sailors and convicts, is an event that should surprise nobody But suppose the French Colony established, then comes the impossibility of maintaining convict dis- Cipline in the immediate neighbourhood of native tribes and British settle- suents It is only in it desert country like New Holland, where bush-ranging is the way to death by starvation, that convicts can be retained in a state of durance, In New Zealand they would escape with impunity, would mix with tic natives and our own runaway convicts from Australia, and would soon, if they were not shot down like wild beasts, render the islands a hell upon earth. But they would be destroyed by the organized British settlers. Perhaps that is Louis , Plitlippe's object ; for it is said that he contemplates sending to New Zealand the political prisoners who overfill his gaols. Here would be ffirther occasion for war between the nations. But supposing even that French convict colo- nization could he maintained in New Zealand without war between this coun- try and France, what a prospect for all that part of the world! As if we had not sufficiently polluted it by our own system of penal transportation ! Well, it is presumed that our Government is about to abolish the shameful and un- blessed thing,' so that, probably, the Southern lands will henceforth be the ' dunghill' of France only : but at all events, the convict colonization of New Zealand by France will be a memorable event in the history of the British Empire."

In addition to this statement of facts, we are enabled to say that Lord P.1L)IERSTON received ample and timely notice of the designs of France. He appears to have imagine(' that France had an unquestionable right to plant settlements in New Zealand. How much he was mistaken, will appear from the following view of the international law of the case, which we extract from the fifth number of the 2V'w Zealand Journal, published this morning. In • order to render the foregoing statement of facts as complete as this view of the law, we have only to add, that the islands of New Zealand were discovered, circumnavigated, and formally taken possession of; by Captain Coon: in the name of Glailt■:1; the 'fhird ; and that they have over and over again, by proclamations and acts of the British Government, been treated as " a dependency of the territory of New South Wales." Lord P.u.NmasTos's aban- donment of them to convict colonization by France, has therefore no justification in international law. Ilim clv it may be defended remains to be seen.

" The determination of the French to plant a colony in N,:iv Zealand, small and insignificant though that colony be, renders it neces,ary that we should state distinctly the relative position which, accordiog to the recognized prin- ciples of international law, the English, the French, and the New "Zealanders occupy towards each other.

" 'lo enable us to do this satisfactorily, it will be necessary to refer to the jurisprudence of the United States of America, into:amid' as it is there alone that the phrase ' international law' has a definite meaning.

" In Europe, what is usually called the law of nations, or international law, wants Some of the essential characteristics of law proper!;- , called. Strictly speaking, a law is a command. It is essential to a e Mould be

accompanied by a power to punish in the event of NN here, in

the contemplation of the pltr.1,,e international law,' r to.com- mand sad ptutish reside? lac fict, inkrnatimial law 7: . .. '``` ` is not law, tint is merely related thereto by what a great writer on J.:IL:TN:deuce calls a slender and remote analogy.*

" In the United States of America, on the other hand, international law, although for the most part unwritten like our coonnon law, assumes a more definite shape, inasmuch as it has au appropriate tribunal, with power to en- force its decrees. The Supreme Court of the United States is nut merely the sole interpreter of the Constitution, but is the authoriz ad arbitrator between State and State—which, be it oliser,vil, are di-ti net al.-1 independent sovereign-

ties. In this cai-oeitv dl„;ait.:2 • e. tlo.• s• ,n tribes come within its juri.sdietim : hrrr,. I .-ions of that

court, is to be found a boil, of internotio.,ol , t exist in any other country.

" The Judges of the Supreme Court of th.. 1: ,,vever, base their decisions on what may be culled the east .711-ary !a , notions. They refer constantly. to certain principles, as 'Neil recoznize mg the nations of Europe; and, Itiee oar .1:1 !;,s, they :fleet to be -,tto s and interpreters

of the law. and imt I. Hanky,,„,.

" In the Ca,. e Court of the

United Stat,-. It -t -.''Cover, gave

• ,s :7 a A ttitlea,tisotthei the Governea...at lot

country and a sole and the • Tin.

and Em;;;;•.! j.• •I.• - Zile A: eXehision t!ie

the ..:1 '-...-12„.Mrttiurgieat.44 t.:r its if; in .1".-coVOTTr EFirOpo 417/ ',• /S. • can territot.ies. I y ‘Esev. rse

of year:. has , -r right confer.% prior di s ,tors,, . " It is not to conceive conceive " '

to be re-

cognized. SI •in, . - - ..... mimic period : sii. I have wars might „ !., . br..en too num, „, priu- • t, it lenity to eiple an atte to ,. lit

War, which III

Prior discovery, th

dacaarring nation a ,•:' • without any regard to the to establish with the oaths

to the native tribes could only , . were confined to mere right of ing the name of sot ere 5' between the discov •-•

" In the great ease of the (1. distinctly admitted that the of managing their own zolldrs uniformly hcen so treated merous t reaties made bat e 1.111 ,

show that they are as a it was apable . that they had ••• .-.; re, Tile nu-

1'nited States Lr re'Ations of

peace and it at, and ,,savor-MIc in ti.•, ,• ,1 ■ lit this recogni- tion of the Hoti000litti of the ..IIrs ;Too other ei■ilized

to ,10 so w,ald be at once' IV•••

Of the law of

States, .end con- claimed ,• right of ,os only ins. it WAS

nations to treat with ihem, and

acrd by the U tilted States G oi 1. natioiM

III a more recent ease.E: before 1' the principles laid (limn in the

firmed, it st:is the re decided. that to be in the European Government, discovery and assinaption of terrilm,,, deented 61101 iii reference to the Wl..,cs • .• The Pro‘inee ...• cs to the nations,

, ed they

relation always understood to amount only to the exclusive right of purchasing such lands as the natives were willing to sell. The royal grants and charters as- serted a title to the country against Europeans mill, and they were considered as blank paper so far as the rights of the natives are concerned.'* " It thus dearly appears, according to principles recognized by all civilized nations, that the right of Great Britain to the sovereignty of New Zealand as against all European powers, is in nowise affected by her recognition of the distinct national character of the New Ze &milers. The British Government has never recognized th.. New Zealanders to a greater or even to so great an extent as the Government of the United States has recognized the Cherokee nation. Their political existence—their rights as an independent nation—have been admitted by solemn treaties made with them in the years 1785, 1791, 1798, 1805, 1806, 1816, 1817, and 1819. Where can a recognition of the inde-

pendent existence of the New Zealanders as a nation be found, so solemn as that which we have just ref:011'11A of the Ch:Vol:clS by the United States? Yet does any one pretend that such recognition confers upon foreign powers, or the subjects of tbreign powers, the right, tiny flit• shadow of it right, to acquire land, of the Cherokees, eitlivr With or without sovereignty? 'Then why is not the same principle to be insisted upon in the case of New Zealand

'Why is it not at once eh ark. iodinated to Eranee, that to whatever extent it may please the Go,ernment of this county to recognize the sovereignty of the New Zealand citi,fs, that revognitimi is entirely confined to our relations

with them ; bot that against all foceigu t t.ics nc assert a distinct and ex-

clusive right—a right for centuries reevgoized by European powers—a right which France her,eli; in common evili, any other country, is interested in maintaining; and, glove all, which it th.glaturs .ts a Ewollog nation, to maintain, and which she will mnit.tain at SneVer cost. " It is idle to refer to the instrtwtions of this Government to Captain Hobson. They have no reference, they can have no re!, rence, to our relations with civil- ized powers. Tlwy relate simply to our own relations with the chiefs, and are

clearly meant to convey a Mdc11111 assurance—a national guar:twee to the New Zealanders, that our transautions with them will be ro:;1!;,t,(1 with sttiet jus-

tice and good faith. The ,tine may be said of a cIttive in the New Zealand

Byl of 11.37. That bill pr;11:).-,. I to obtain the soy..i..,Htty over the territory of New Zealand by cession—Ity solemn treaty. This course is not new in

principle, though in practice it may ftroterly often have been violated. But

these guarantees of this dealing were required by the improved temper of the times. Open injustice is now inconsistent with the modern spirit of dealing with the native tribes, ;Jai heocefor,%arti their rights 'oust lie respected. Su clear and well defined, however, is the distinction we have above laid down, that even were this Government to up the entire sovereignty to the New Zealand eltie.-t, we should still retail a right aninst all European powers."

* heist's Commeotat p. 332.