Object #1000329 from MS-Papers-0032-0052
From: Minister of Colonial Defence - Memos, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0052 (48 digitised items). Includes list of killed and wounded on the side of the natives opposing Government, undated.
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Pieces of Documents emanating from Mr. Firth.
1. A covering letter to the Hon. J. Vogel, re--questing him to advise His Excellency the Governor to forward to the Right Honourable, the Earl of Kimberly, Secretary of State for the Colonies, some documents relative to charges made against him by the Honourable the Defence and Native Minister.
He states he keeps back some of the correspondence, because it reflects on Mr. McLean; but if Mr. McLean wishes it to go to Lord Kimberly, it can be forwarded at a subsequent perios, - dated October 10th. 1870.
2. A letter to Lord Kimberly, in which Mr. Firth calls his attention to certain grave charges preferred in various documents against him (Mr. Firth) by the Hon. D. McLean.
The 1st. charge being found in ''Further Papers relating to Military Operations'', is a statement made by Te Huare to Lieut. Gilbert Mair, to the effect that at an interview with Te Kooti, Mr. Firth was exceedingly frightened, and gave Te Kooti a box containing 50 caps, also that he sent him a bottle of rum.
Subsequently the same native made the same statement to Lt. Col. McDonnell.
The 2nd. Charge is to be found in ''Further Despatches from His Excellency the Governor, to the Right Hon. Secretary for the Colonies'', wherever a memo, exists from Mr. McLean to His Excellency, dated 14th. October 1870. In this Mr. McLean says
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that Lord Granville's despatch is mischievous among a certain class of colonists, and instances Mr. Firth, who,''lessee of a large quantity of native land.'' made an attempt ''to procure for Te Kooti, who had promised not to interfere with his land, something like a free pardon.''
Mr. Firth states that he is not aware of these charges, and that 5 months elapsed from their being made, to their presentation to the House.
On the 4th. August 1870, he wrote to Mr. McLean denying the charges, supporting his denial by copies of documents, and requesting publicity to his denial. With this request Mr. McLean did not comply; therefore he is forced to appeal to His Lordship. He had great repugnance in coming forward; but, as colon-ists have been so much maligned at Home, when a well-known one like himself is accused by a Minister of the Crown, the denial ought to be made as public as the charge. He regrets Mr. McLean's course, but will not attack him, as he does not wish to trouble His Lordship; as he appreciates Mr. McLean's services, and as he forsees that the affairs of the Colony will require the unity of all classes. He transmits documents to shew whether his efforts to establish peace merit such accusations :-
1st. He takes Te Huare's statement.
He confesses having met Te Kooti once, but absolutely denies having supplied him with caps, rum, or anything. For proofs, he refers to enclosure A, being
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his interpreter's statement; and to B, the statement of the Ngatihana Chiefs, who were with him.
Mr. McLean's Memo, imputes to his mean motives, and he denies that his character or actions have given Mr. McLean the slightest ground for such imputations. He says that the portion of the Memo. referring to a ''free pardon'' is met by enclosure C. containing the report of his interview with Te Kooti; enclosure D, a telegram to Mr. McLean, warning him of the danger he was incurring by setting up Te Kooti as a representative of National sentiment; enclosure E, a telegram to Col. Moule, by which he refuses to supply the troops, and thereby forming a protest against the action taken by the Government; enclosure F, a letter from Manu-hiri to him; and G, his reply, urging him to peace and to induce Te Hira to open up Ohinemuri.
He insinuates that in consequence of this, Te Hira did appear at a Land Court; and finally by enclosure H, a letter from himself to Mr. McLean, giving him native information, and his own view of the position.
He repudiates all sordid feelings; and asserts his readiness to sacrifice his interests, and to incur danger for the general welfare. He confesses having laid out large sums on native lands beyond the frontier; but takes
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credit for having made the greatest attempt to estahlish peace that has been tried by a private citizen since 1860. He knows that by his endeavours he has incurred odium, and steadfastly advocates Lord Granville's ''wise policy''. He alludes to his belief that the colonists are ready to make great concessions, if they felt certain that the King Party would receive then, not as a consequence of fear and helplessness, but as gifts of Magnanimity. He prophesies that if peace be not established now, disasters will take place, and the control of the Island once more revert to the Imperial Government.
Enclosure A. 17th. September 1870. Mr. Campbell's declaration certifying Huare's tale as false. States he was interpreter to Mr. Firth, and that the latter gave Te Kooti nothing.
Enclosure B. A certified declaration of Kereama Tauwhare and Hori Neri, denying Huare's statement; asserting they were present at the interview and not even a glass of rum was given. Dated 2nd. 1870.
Enclosure C. Report of Mr. Firth to the Hon. D. Mc. Lean, giving a full account of his interview with Te Kooti, in which he states he invited him to write to Government offering to surrender, on the guarantee of his life and that of his followers being safe. Dated 20th. January 1870.
Enclosure D. A telegram to Mr. McLean on 21st.
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January, 1870, reporting that the Militia being called out in Waikato, the harvest was ruined. He states the Island was ''quietly drifting into peace,'' and now it is ''sadly rushing into war''; that Titoka--wana ''left alone'' has become a helpless outcast, and Te Kooti would do so also under the same conditions.
Enclosure E. A telegram dated 21st. January 1870 to Col. Moule, telling him he is making a useless qar. Consequently, he,Mr. Firth, will not supply the troops.
Enclosure F. A letter to Mr. Firth from Manuhiri, in which Mr. Firth's interview with Te Kooti, and his general policy are approved of. Dated 21st. January 1870.
Enclosure G. Mr. Firth's answer to above, 18th. February 1870, exhorting to peace. He tells him he told Mr. McLean not to hunt Te Kooti in Waikato, but to respect the peace made by him (Firth) and Thompson. He knows not if his advice was followed; but hints that it was in consequence of it that McDonn--ell and Kemp left Waikato. As the Government allows natives to dig for gum on Government lands without payment, so natives ought to allow Europeans to dig for gold at Ohinemuri for payment.
Enclosure H. A letter from Mr. Firth to the Hon. D. McLean, reporting the movements of the King Party, dated 25th. July 1870 :-
1. A Meeting is to be held at Tokangamati.
2. Thames, Ngatimara, from Ohinemuri and Mercury Bay, natives are migrating
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to Tokangamuti; the presumed object of such migration being to assist in an attack on Waikato.
3. Topia has returned to Tokangamuti, and a deputation of Arawa has also been there.
4. He believes the robbery of Ilbury's store at Aotea to be ominous.
He points out that Thompson asked Sir George Grey to give back Waikato; and that, though the King Party had sullenly acquiesed to our occupation, they all agree with him. He believes that if peace be not established at once, or the present armed truce kept up until a sufficient influx of population has made the country safe, Waikato will be attacked.
He warns Mr. McLean against the Friendlies, who are mere ''merenaries'' and will some day supply Tawhiao with the arms and ammunition he is short of. He forsees a war of races, and the extermination of the Maoris. To avoid this he recommends a magnaminous policy, i.e. a general annesty for all that has occurred since 1860. He points out that instances of ferocity equal to Te Kooti's deeds have taken place in Europe.
Minister of Colonial Defence - Memos, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0052 (48 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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