Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, May 02 (1840)

81

One of The Working Class versus The Colonial Office.

To The Editor of The New Zealand Journal.
Sir—The great public meeting at the Guildhall of the city of London, on the subject of the right of our countrymen to demand British government protection in the colony of New Zealand, has been the means of engaging a large amount of the attention of those classes in the community to whom the difficulties created by the government underlings would otherwise have remained unknown for perhaps months to come. The class to which I belong has always looked to public meetings as principal sources of information, on questions concerning public weal, and as more efficient instruments than articles in newspapers or pamphlets, to let public servants know when they have transgressed against or neglected duty. Through your valuable medium, I would therefore call upon every class of persons in all the towns throughout the kingdom, to set about obtaining town meetings, to take up the question of New Zealand's right to be a British colony protected. Many like me are about to emigrate thither, in full confidence that the country is entitled to enjoy the protection of the British crown, and that the rights gained for Britain by one of her most renowned sons, Captain Cook, are still secure to us as birthrights.
Public meetings will open people's eyes, and the conduct of those who would become the guilty betrayers of the nation's rights—the conduct of the party or parties in the Colonial Office, who have, through incapacity, or collusion, or what not, placed those rights in jeopardy—will be made known, and those parties will soon be brought to a proper tribunal.
82
Sir, as a Briton, I can picture to myself the immortal Cook (the real discoverer of New Zealand) engaged in the gratifying ceremonial of planting Britain's standard on the shores of that land, suddenly interrupted in his glorious task by a Stephen rising up and muttering that "he would repel any such pretensions made on behalf of his Majesty." Why, the traitor would have been put in irons instantly. The question is the same now as it was then, and we are unworthy the name we bear, if we do not, in quick time, set about obtaining summary justice for the wrongs tried to be brought upon us by those to whom we had confided the nation's honour.
A private soldier I consider to be on a par with the class to which I belong—he is a working man—if, through the fatigue of service or otherwise, he fall asleep at his post, he is liable to be shot. What, then, should be the responsibility of those persons in the Colonial Office, who, being the sentries appointed to keep watch around New Zealand, have not only fallen asleep at their posts, but have been infinitely more guilty—they have, as it were, been trying "to sell the pass to the enemy,"—and their sentences, now they are caught, should be as summary as it would be in the case of any poor soldier who might be tempted to listen to proposals for abandoning his duty.
The matter is now in better hands than those of the underling secretaries—their masters have taken it up;-and if, as the Morning Chronicle says," something satisfactory be not done speedily," there is no knowing to what lengths the impeachment will go.
I hope you will advocate public meetings in every county and town-hall, similar to that of which London has set so good an example. The intelligent press need no call; one and all they will urge the claim that Britons on every rood of New Zealand have the right to be free from French domination, still more from French convict contagion. It cannot be that the foot of the foreigner shall kick down the flag-staff raised by our noble Cook, and build over it a prison for French convicts: the voice of the country must compel our Government to do its duty; and knowing this, I shall proceed forward to my destination with a good heart. I fear intruding further on your valuable columns at present.
Your obedient servant,
One of The Working Class.
London,
April 20, 1840.

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