Object #1000059 from MS-Papers-0032-0547

8 pages written 2 Aug 1869 by Charles Cecil Rookes

From: Inward letters - C C Rookes, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0547 (40 digitised items). 39 letters written from Auckland, Papakura, Wellington, 1869-1873

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)


On the 1st. August 1860, I was appointed by the Government to conduct the Military, and militia correspondence of the Colonial Secretary's Department. I held this office for two years; and during that time received the thanks of the Premier for the able manner the duties were performed.

On my return from New Plymouth in 1861, after a report (which I had been sent to that Province to make) had been read and approved by the Premier, I was appointed to the command, (as Major and Deputy of the Governor of the Wanganui Militia District. This I held for nearly four years. During that period I repeatedly received the thanks of the Superintendent of Wellington, and the General commanding Her Majesty's Forces, for the efficient manner the Volunteer Cavalry (which I had raised, organised, and drilled) performed their duties in the Field.

On the 1st. May 1864, by arming the Friendly Natives of Putiki and the Wanganui river, and serving out entirely at my own risk and responsibility, ammuniti on to them, I was the means of arresting the march of the ''Hau Hau's'' on the settlement; who were defeated at ''Moutoa'', with great loss.

Had the natives not been armed, another and very different story, would have been recorded.

On the 21st. June 1865, in concert with the native Chiefs at Putiki, I made my first attempt to obtain possession of the Weraroa Pah. The attempt was defeated by the stupid interference of Col. Logan, the Government Agent, who had refused any participation in, or countenance to the fact of my having armed with rifles (350) the Wanganui and up-river natives; who accompanied me from the town to the pah, for the purpose of taking it; but who wished to take command and claim credit for the expected fall of the place.

On the 12th. July I again made this attempt, unchecked this time, as Col. Logan had been dismissed by the Governor from the Agency; and the place fell on the 21st. I may add that I remained with Capt. Macdowall seven days in the Pah, negotiating with the natives.

On the 1st. August, the same year, Pipiriki was relieved. It would never have been invested had that Post been under my command; but the then Defence Minister ignored my position as C.O. of the district, until by so doing, he had all but hopelessly complicated matters.

I lost my appointment for refusing to serve under Major Gorton; who was most unfairly made a a Lieut. - Col. with a day's seniority over me; and as this Officer had never seen any more dangerous or active service than drilling the Wellington volunteers on the reclaimed land in Wellington, I felt the insult most keenly. I may add that Colonel Gorton owed his appointment, chiefly to his relationship to Mr. Atkinson, by marriage; and not for any Military service rendered the Colony.

On the 9th. April 1866, I was appointed Adjutant of the Militia at Canterbury, where I remained until the reduction of the staff salaries forced me out of the office. During this time the Volunteer Force, (except the Cavalry, with which I had nothing to do) more than doubled its strength, as the Returns can shew.

Intrigue conducted by Messrs. Rolleston and Travers, who brought before the House last Session, my pecuniary circumstances, which had been embarrassed by the illegal action of the Defence Minister, in dismissing me in 1865, prevented my being employed.

During a service of more than thirty years in the Regular Service, in the Militia of this and other colonies, I have commanded as Colonel of Militia, (date of Com. 15th. Jan. 1855) several successful expeditions; for which I can produce vouchers in the shape of thanks of Her Majesty's Government, the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Pamure, the Governors of several Colonies, including Sir George Grey, and lastly and chiefly, those of my fellow colonists in the Parliament of New Zealand Assembled.

Charlesfield Rookes.
Wellington 2nd. August 1869.

Part of:
Inward letters - C C Rookes, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0547 (40 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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