Object #1000476 from MS-Papers-0032-0354

8 pages written 7 Dec 1855 by John Grant Johnson to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - John G Johnson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0354 (17 digitised items). 15 letters written from Warkworth, Auckland, Lyttelton, Sydney & Whangarei, 1854-1867

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

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English (ATL)

Land Commissioner's Office,
7th December, 1855

My dear McLean,

I received your letters and note this morning --- and will endeavour to give you in a few lines the state of affairs here --- before the mail closes tomorrow --- I suddenly received while at Whangarei a letter from Mr. Kemp, dated 5th Nov. directing me by His Excellency's directions to repair to Auckland --- where I arrived on the 9th and Mr. Kemp went away by return steamer on the 12th to the Bay --- I have had some disappointment about the Maunga Karamea Block which I purchased from Tirarau --- after you went away, there was delay in getting Hapuka's money --- and when I wanted to leave for Whangarei after coming up here and waiting a fortnight the whole of the money was not forthcoming --- I got however £2000 out of Kennedy after a little trouble, and left directions for Kemp to send down the remaining £700 by the next steamer --- Kereihi a native woman, whom you know I think, had claims on a part of it and insisted on having some of the money, paid in Auckland --- This Tirarau would not hear of --- but with me demanding the money on one hand, and these natives protesting against sending it on the other, Kemp well might be puzelled what to do, so he kept the money till I came up --- my idea is that Kereihi and Matikikuha being joint claimants with Mansells family ought to go to Whangarei and assert their rights before Tirarau --- but they will not do so --- they must therefore depend upon Tiraraus justice and good feeling --- I have accordingly at last sent White with the £700 and a strong letter to Tirarau telling him that the Government trust to his bringing the matter to satisfactory issue, and urging him to devote a part of the payment to these claims --- there are other reasons too lengthy to give here --- which induced me to take this step, and I have no doubt all will yet be right. Tirarau complains of Fenton at the Kaipara, and William White stirring up the Land question but as the former gentleman appears to have some authority from you for what he is doing --- I would not advert to the case, did not it exercise a baneful influence on the present case which I am endeavouring to explain to you --- If the district Commissioners are to be held personally responsible for any eventualities which may arise with the natives from affairs conducted under their auspices --- it is quite evident that the Governor does not sanction the interference of any third parties --- and I hope your letter which I forwarded to Fenton --- is to that effect --- for the "old savage" as he terms Tirarau is my right hand --- and I cannot run a muck with him --- notwithstanding Fentons opinion ---

Repeated references had been made to Kemp, about difficulties in the Waiuku but he said as it was a matter which you had specially reserved for yourself he did not like to interfere. Communication took place between the provincial Government and the general on the subject and I was urgently requested to interfere --- I accordingly much against my will, went to Waiuku --- and did my best with them --- I send you a copy of my report which will explain how the matter stands at present ---

The money for Rogan is all right two blocks are ready for final adjustment --- and I am writing to him, but am at a loss how to send the money --- I will write and tell him so, and perhaps he may come up and fetch it --- or otherwise suggest how it can be disposed of --- or when White returns from Whangarei --- he can convey the money for the blocks, the completion of which at certain rates has been sanctioned by yourself --- There is an order for the peremtory discharge of all native labour --- to District Commissioners, Surveyors etc. in the department, but I am quite at a loss to know how we can get on without them --- each must act on his own responsibility until you come up and put the matter right ---

We have just got over a crisis here --- quietly --- a sawyer up the Waitemata river --- murdered a native woman, and the tribes urgently demanded his being given up. We however pacified them till the day of trial, and as the man was found guilty and lies under sentence of death --- they are pretty well appeased. I saw at a glance that there never was any real danger --- so I was pretty cool on the subject --- but I fancy that it is all over now --- You will see the particulars in the public newspapers. C.O.Davis behaved with remarkable tact and discretion in the affair --- also Baker has been working very well --- I forgot to mention that the back boundary of the Maunga Karamea at Whangarei has been extended and defined to my satisfaction on my last visit to Tirarau --- and that the reserves to be purchased by preemptive right --- will not exceed 400 or 500 acres ---

The Government have approved of my arrangements about Waiuku --- and as the W. L. Board have advertised the general country Land of the Block --- my arrangements are ordered to be carried out by the Colonial Secretary --- I think the natives about the Auckland district are great rascals --- particularly Katipa and Co. --- several robberies have taken place by the natives near and at Waiuku lately and one accompanied with personal violence --- without any provocation or ground of complaint --- a la bushranger in fact --- this is a new feature --- I attribute it to the influence of ardent spirits --- drunkenness amongst the natives is increasing beyond all conception in this province --- The disposition to part with land is on the increase --- I would recommend holding out to buy some really valuable blocks --- which can be done --- by refusing to purchase all the rubbish they offer --- I investigated Mate's claims at Wangarie --- but we could not come to terms as to the price --- I will forward the report for your perusal.

Perhaps --- tomorrow --- I may think of something else to say --- in the mean time

I remain,
Yours very truly
John Grant Johnson.

Part of:
Inward letters - John G Johnson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0354 (17 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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