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ney to New Zealand. Mr. Webster was largely engaged in the mercantile business when Great Britain extended its sovereignty over New Zealand. In the latter part of the year 1840, Mr. Webster came to Sydney and chartered a vessel, in which he purposed to ship spars and other commodities from New Zealand to England. Mr. Webster intended to go to England on this vessel, and thence to the United States to ask protection from his Government of his titles which had been affected by the proclamations issued the day after the arrival of Mr. Hobson in New Zealand, January 30, 1840. On the eve when the vessel sailed from Sydney, Mr. Webster was arrested at the suit of Abercrombie & Co., merchants of that city, and lodged in the debtors' prison, the cause of the arrest being in connection with New Zealand land titles and certain parties who had some land transactions with Mr. Webster.

The vessel sailed from New Zealand leaving Mr. Webster in prison, where he remained about seven weeks. He was released by the affiant procuring bail for him in the sum of £12,000, and he then returned to New Zealand. In 1844 affiant went to New Zealand to settle his accounts with Mr. Webster, and the result was that Mr. Webster conveyed to him 5,000 acres of land, being part of his purchases from the natives. This is evidently the 5,000 acres awarded to him under the "most conscientious" recommendation of Mr. Fitzgerald. The affiant held in his name, in and during the years 1841 and 1842, several British-built ships subject to the order of Mr. Webster.

The affidavit is suggestive of the fact that Peter Abercrombie was awarded by Mr. Fitzgerald, as claiming under Webster, 5,125 acres of land, and that the other grantees under that award are probably the "certain parties" mentioned in Mr. Dacre's affidavit who, with Abercrombie & Co., were the cause of Mr. Webster's arrest and imprisonment in Sydney, whereby he was prevented from going to the United States to claim the protection of his Government. This affidavit also explains the requirement of the authorities of New Zealand, that if he wished his claims to be considered before the commission as an American citizen, he must relinquish a certain supposed ownership in a British vessel.

Another circumstance indicates that the conduct of the colonial authorities towards Mr. Webster was governed by no principle whatever of settled law or of abstract justice. The Official Gazette of the New Zealand government for May, 1842, contained the following:

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These were Mr. Webster's claims. So that it was at one time officially announced that the "titles proved before commission" of Mr. Webster covered an aggregate of 241,450 acres.

While Mr. Webster's rights were being subjected to the practices herein exposed, the United States had requested the Government of Great Britain to take into consideration and to avert the evil consequences which it was feared would result to American citizens from the menacing attitude of its colonial authorities. No claim was made against Great Britain for any reparation. None could then be made, for when Mr. Webster made his representations to the American consul in 1840, and when that officer during the same year was intervening before Governor Gipps on behalf of citizens of the United States, the wrongs feared were merely in preparation for future perpetration; and, consequently, the representations made as hereinafter stated by the United States to Great Britain were merely of admonition and deprecation. In fact, as stated by Secretary Fish in a communication to the President dated July 13, 1876, no correspondence had ever taken place between the Department of State and the Government of Great Britain in relation to the sequestration of the lands and property in New Zealand claimed by Mr. Webster, but that in the years 1841 to 1844 certain correspondence was had between the legation in London and the foreign office of Great Britain in reference to the general question of land titles held in New Zealand by American citizens, but no correspondence had taken place in regard to the particular claim of Mr. Webster.

Mr. Williams, the consul at Sydney, in a communication to the State Department, dated February 23, 1841, sent the letter which had been written to him by Mr. Webster, and also the plan referred to in that letter.

On December 26, 1843, Mr. Everett, the American minister, addressed a communication to the Earl of Aberdeen, the secretary of state for foreign affairs, upon the general subject of the rights of American citizens, but not in respect to any particular case. Mr. Everett asserted the right and duty of the United States to protest against any measures by which injury is inflicted on those interests of their own citizens which had grown up in the prosecution of a commerce open to all nations. Any rights acquired by England in the assertion of her sovereignty over New Zealand must, of course, be qualified by any preexisting rights of other civilized nations. Whatever may be the extent of rights acquired in uncivilized, independent countries, with the consent of their chiefs, it is well established that such rights are entitled to great consideration by any civilized government which may subsequently possess itself of the sovereignty of such countries. protests that a regulation vacating at one blow all purchases of land made by citizens of the United States from the independent chieftains of New Zealand for less than five shillings sterling per acre would be unreasonable and oppressive.

He asserts that a cession of lands made by the chieftains to a citizen of the United States resorting to the islands for the pursuit of whales, or any other lawful purpose, even without any pecuniary consideration, ought to be fully entitled to respect, for the reason that it might be made from good will and from a desire to encourage the resort of industrious strangers, or it might be made in the consideration of establishing a factory or a shop. He expresses his confidence that, if it should appear that regulations have been established by the colonial

authorities bearing with undue hardship on the equitable interests acquired by American citizens before the assertion of British sovereignty, proper measures of redress and remedy will be directed to be taken. He asserts that no power would be permitted by England to establish an exclusive sovereignty over previously independent islands in the Pacific Ocean to proceed at pleasure to vacate purchases of land made by British subjects, or to interfere with other interests existing before such sovereignty was asserted.

Lord Aberdeen replied, under date of February 10, 1844, and informed Mr. Everett that

As to the rights and obligations of aliens in New Zealand, instructions were forwarded to the governor of that island in the month of March, 1841, upon which occasion that officer was directed to bear in mind the principle that when aliens had acquired land from the chiefs prior to the proclamation of the Queen's sovereignty there, and that fact was undisputed, the claims should be acknowledged, but that where a doubt arose whether the alien made a bona fide purchase the settler should be treated as any British subject and his claims disposed of accordingly.

It is too manifest to require argument that these instructions were violated by the colonial authorities in every instance in which they assumed to pass upon Mr. Webster's titles. That he was an alien, that he had purchased his lands before the proclamation of the Queen's sovereignty, was not denied. That he was a bona fide purchaser was equally manifest. He was so adjudged by the commissioners themselves. He was not deprived of his lands on any such grounds. He was evidently pursued, prosecuted, and eventually despoiled by a lawless and oppressive disregard of justice.

The grants recommended by Commissioner Fitzgerald in respect of Mr. Webster's titles were issued May 1, 1844. His creditors, the Sydney merchants who had prosecuted and imprisoned him, received 12,655 acres, and Mr. Dacre, another creditor, received a grant for the remaining 5,000 acres. The straits to which he was by that time reduced are disclosed by the following memorandum by Sir Robert Stout, made partly as a basis for a homily upon the alleged speculative character of Mr. Webster's dealings, but which, the facts being considered, might well serve as a text for very severe animadversions of a far different character:

Webster received his grants for 5,000 acres, and in less than four months had transferred the whole of these lands to his creditors, besides the 12,655 acres granted directly to them, leaving him without an acre of all his purchases, and still a debtor to the Sydney merchants.

Reduced even to this plight, Mr. Webster did not forego his efforts to establish his rights, particularly in regard to two claims which had not been passed upon by the commissioner. One of these was the Big Mercury Island, the other was a tract near the River Tairua, in the Bay of Plenty. Concerning these he addressed Commissioner Fitzgerald, March 8, 1845, and stated that these claims had been examined before Mr. Godfrey, who was one of the first commissioners, and that he had not heard of them since; that he bought the Mercury Island in 1838, and paid more than £300 for it; that he had ever since been in possession of it, and expended a good deal of money on it; the other tract was also purchased in 1838, for £400, and that he had since expended on it £400; that he had never heard of any dispute of the title, which he supposes the evidence taken by the commissioner wil' prove.

Upon this letter the governor made the following minute:

Very large grants having been made to Mr. Webster, no further grant can be made until the opinion of the secretary of state as to the former is made known. Direct Mr. Chipchase to communicate this reply to Mr. Webster, who is now in Auckland, but about to leave immediately.

The private secretary, Mr. Hamilton, addressed Mr. Webster, under date of March 10, 1845, as follows:

SIR: 1 am directed by the governor to inform you that his excellency has examined and taken advice respecting your land claims marked 305 H and 305 J, and is sorry to find himself precluded from authorizing any further grant to be made to you at present, on account of the largeness of those grants already made in your


P. S.-The governor directs me to say that the land which you now hold in undisputed possession will probably be granted to you eventually.

At this time Mr. Webster was soliciting consideration of a claim for spars taken for the British navy by Commodore Wood, of Her Majesty's storeship Tortoise, from off the land claimed by him on the Bay of Plenty. The response made by the colonial governor to this demand was a promise to refer the case to the decision of the home government. From this time Mr. Webster desisted from any attempt to obtain justice from the colonial government. He left New Zealand in 1847, and in 1858 applied to his own government for redress, the foundation for such application having been laid in 1843 by the letter from Mr. Everett to Lord Aberdeen, asserting the rights of all American citizens resident in New Zealand when Great Britain acquired its sovereignty.

But none the less did his estate continue to be the subject of consideration and partition by the colonial authorities among British subjects, who were obligees or vendees of Mr. Webster as to these identical titles. Rights, equities, estates in this property, grants or confirmations to which had been denied to him, although his abstract right had been acknowledged by two commissions and by the governor, were recognized to a limited extent in acreage, just sufficient, apparently, to satisfy or appease these obligees. His estate continued to be an unfailing source of supply for the satisfaction of these claims by and through the executive action of the colonial government. His obligees. could not, of course, rightfully assert any claim to these lands, or to a part of any tract, except upon the basis that Mr. Webster was entitled to them.

Accordingly, under the land-claims settlement act of 1856, his estates underwent, for the above purposes, the operations of a third commission, and another dismemberment of his property was the result. Mr. F. D. Bell was sole commissioner and all of his proceedings were had several years after Mr. Webster had left the country. The act provided for setting aside all grants made under former ordinances, and required all claimants to have surveyed the exterior boundaries of their claims and to send in plans to the commissioner, together with their grants and all documents and deeds relating to alienations by original claimants. It prohibited the consideration of any case disallowed by any previous commission, or that had been withdrawn by the claimant. The result of Mr. Bell's labors is well stated in the following extract from Senate Ex. Doc. 53, Fifty-second Congress, first session, pp. 11, 12:

Referring to the report of Mr. Bell, we find, in respect to the claims of Mr. Webster, the following result:

"In case No. 305, in which the commissioners reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased in good faith and paid for 250 acres, this third commission, in 1861, granted to R. Dacre 57.5 acres and to H. Downing 57.5 acres, in all 115 acres.

"In case No. 305 A, in which the commissioners reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased and paid for 250 acres, this third commission, in 1860, granted to G. Beeson 335 acres.

"In case No. 305 B, in which the commission reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased in good faith and paid for 1,500 acres, this third commission ordered. a grant to be issued to J. Solomon; but no grant was, in fact, issued.

"In case No. 305 C, in which the commissioners reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased in good faith and paid for 800 acres, this third commission, on the 20th of November, 1847, granted to R. Dacre 284 acres, and on the 3d of May, 1860, to the same person, 384 acres, and on the 25th of January, 1861, to T. Keran, 59 acres; in all 727 acres.

"In case No. 305 G, in which the commissioners reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased in good faith and paid for 10,000 acres, this third commission, at a time not known, granted to R. Dacre 1,944 acres, which is said to have been commuted for scrip.

"In case No. 305 I, in which the commissioners reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased in good faith and paid for 3,000 acres, this third commission, on the 3d of July, 1860, granted to J. Solomon 885 acres.

"In case No. 305 J, in which the commissioners reported, in 1843, a bona fide purchase of a tract which Mr. Webster alleged to contain 6,000 acres, this third commission made no grant, and no grant was ever made.

"In case No. 305 K, in which the commisioners reported, in 1843, that Mr. Webster had purchased 80,000 acres, this third commisson, on the 27th of November, 1878, granted to the heirs of Sir S. Donald 1,464 acres; to F. Whitaker, 12,855 acres and 2,141 acres, and for 294 acres September 30, 1878; total, 16,754 acres.

"In case No. 305 M, in which the commissioners, in 1843, reported that Mr. Webster had purchased in good faith, but only partly paid for 3,500 acres, no grant was ever made."

Every one of these grants, it may be observed, was made to some person or persons alleged to be derivative owners from Mr. Webster.


From the foregoing it appears:

(1) That the good faith of Mr. Webster in his land purchases is unquestionable. (2) That the validity of nearly all his important conveyances from the natives was recognized and admitted, and valuable consideration established.

(3) That, in consequence of the annexation of New Zealand by Great Britain and of the land ordinances adopted and enforced, Mr. Webster was prohibited from selling or conveying or completing title to any of the lands which he had purchased and of which he was in quiet and undisputed possession at the time of the annexation. (4) That in certain of Mr. Webster's cases (305, 305 A, 305 C, 305 G, 305 I) the land commissioners found that 94,300 acres had been purchased by Mr. Webster in good faith, but recommended grants to him and his assigns of only 17,655 acres.

(5) That in certain other cases (305 B, 305 J, and 305 M) it was shown that 11,000 acres had been purchased by Mr. Webster in good faith, but that no grant whatever was made.

(6) That in certain other cases (305 D, 305 F, and 305 L) no awards were made, on the ground that the claims had been withdrawn, which Mr. Webster denies. Ánd in this relation it is to be observed that the withdrawal of these claims is alleged to have been made before Commissioner Godfrey in May and June, 1844, after he had ceased to be a commissioner and had returned to England, and after the second commission, consisting of Mr. Fitz Gerald, had entered upon its duties.

(7) That these proceedings, which were consummated in 1862 under the act of 1856, were in derogation of the principle conceded by Lord Aberdeen to Mr. Everett

in 1844.

(8) That they were in derogation of the same principle as announced by the governor to Mr. Webster a year later, in 1845.

Mr. Webster applied in 1858 to his own Government for redress. On June 14 of that year the Senate by resolution requested the President to cause to be prepared and presented in tabular form to the Senate a list of the names of all claimants, citizens of the United States, who have preferred complaints or claims against foreign governments to the Executive Department. This was a general request and did not specify Mr. Webster, or any other particular claim. In response

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