HC Deb 14 July 1845 vol 82 cc473-5
Mr. Hawes

said, that he was anxious to put a question to the Under Secretary for the Colonies. It would be recollected that a few nights ago a question was asked of the hon. Gentleman, as to a conflict having taken place between Her Majesty's troops and the natives of New Zealand; and the hon. Gentleman then staled that the Government was without official intelligence on the subject. He now wished to ask whether any information had reached the Colonial Office since that time.

Mr. G. W. Hope

replied, that since the question was put to him respecting news from New Zealand, which it was stated had been made public, he could now state that the Colonial Office received despatches yesterday of the same date as those referred to; and the accounts received by the Government agreed with those which appeared in the Times and other newspapers three or four days ago. The des-patches stated, that a renewed attack had been made on the settlement in the Bay of Islands, by the chief who had formerly pulled down the flagstaff there. There was nothing now but an attack of a decidedly insurrectionary character. It was suspected some days before that an attack would take place; but not at the time when it did take place. The natives were about 1,000 in number, and advanced in different bodies; and they showed in their proceedings considerable military discipline. The attack took place upon those who had charge of the blockhouse, near the flagstaff. Those who had charge of it, were taken by surprise, as they were absent, being out on a working party. The person who had the command, was not aware of the approach of the natives, until he turned round and saw it in their possession. A party of seamen and mariners were landed from Her Majesty's ship Hazard, then in the bay, to attack the natives; they were but a small party, and the officer commanding them, Captain Robertson, was severely wounded. They drove the natives from the blockhouse; but another accident then occurred, as the magazine in the blockhouse blew up and did much mischief. After a long and determined attack, the natives were everywhere repulsed. The gun, however, in one of the stockades had been spiked, while the other had been blown up, and the ammunition was nearly exhausted. No lives of any of the settlers were lost, with the exception of one gentleman, who was killed, by the explosion of the magazine. The loss altogether, taking troops, settlers, and seamen into account, was thirteen killed, and twenty-three wounded. The loss of the natives had not been ascertained, but it was very considerable. The settlers were then removed to Auckland; but the missionaries still remained in the Bay of Islands. In justice to the natives, he must say that, after the settlers retired, they forwarded a woman and child which they found in a blockhouse, under a flag of truce, to the settlement. Many of the natives were armed with American rifles, which they obtained by barter, and most of the remainder were armed with muskets. Troops, previously to this melancholy event, had been applied for, to the Government of New South Wales; and the North Star had arrived at Auckland from Sydney on the 23rd of March, with two hundred and ten troops and artillery on board. The last accounts were dated the 26th of the same month; and they certainly showed that the effects of this conflict were looked upon with great alarm in New Zealand. It did not appear that those proceedings grew out of any accidental circumstance, such as from a collision or dispute between the natives and the settlers, but from a determined attempt on the part of the chief he had alluded to, to deny the sovereignty of the Queen. Such was the object in view, as far as he could ascertain, and not so much to make an attack upon the settlers. He might add that the arrival of troops from New South Wales had done much to restore confidence.