16th. Dec. 1868
My dear McLean,
I was very glad to get your letter of the 9th. Decr, in which you gave me a resume of affairs on the East Coast. I am sure I fully appreciate you great services to the Colony in our recent time of trouble, and the forbearance you have shewn under very trying circumstances, and I doubt not you will continue to prove by your conduct that notwithstanding the necessarily disturbing effects of personal and party jealousies, absurd interferences and counteractions and the many temptations to abandon the direction of affairs in disgust, your paramount object is the welfare of the Colony which is to be placed on a sure and permanent basis only by a peace founded not on temporizing concessions, but on a series of action which will satisfy the Natives ''for good'', that after all our blundering and nonsense we have tune power to subdue and avenge, while our desire is to use that power only for the common and permanent benefit of both races. I suppose Whitmore is not going to remain to disturb you, but even if he did, I believe you would not slacken your exertions, or grudge him any legitimate success which he might fairly claim.
I think the Governor is quite alive to the real state of things but his position is most unenviable. He
He has no power to assist the Colony in the way he belives to be right, because he cannot act without the advice of his Ministers. I believe he has been very explicit about his own opinions in his correspondence with the authorities at home. But he naturally says what more can I do, when my Ministers tell me that they are backed by public opinion -- which they have a right to say when public meetings votes of the Assembly and a great proportion of the public press back up the Ministers in their development of the policy of ''self-defence'' (which by the bye is really the development of a policy of ''self-destruction''.)
Would to God we could get our political atmosphere cleared from the distracting influences of personal jealousies and official selfishness! but that is too large a wish. Constitutional Government for such a Colony as ours with the Maori element subject to it, is a mere absurdity, and all that can be done now is to make the least mischief out of what is forced upon us. Of course Stafford will not call the Assembly together as long as it is possible to avoid it. I have a great fear myself that the Ministers will now try only to skim over the wounds of the body politic, driving the disease into the system, so that our last State (with the Maoris) may be worse than our first. This ought I think to be made a crisis -- and a last crisis. For if Kings are merely accomodated for a time, and the policy of ''leave alone'' be adopted, it may happen that a little
improvement in affairs may induce a little fresh importation of population and capital, soon after the arrival of which, we may have a fresh outbreak leading to more and more serious results. If you could manage to smash te Kootis gang and punish some of the worst of his mob, I think things would be pretty well settled on the East Coast. From Tauranga the accounts are not very satisfactory. They are all right while Palmerston stays, but when he goes they will have only a few very unreliable militiamen and a few Arawas.
The Charybdis has come back again, and will wait here for the Challenger which has gone from Sydney to Melbourne. I suppose we shall have the Blanche back soon and so probably have a naval squadron in port about Xmas time.
I should think you must be getting very tired of the anxious work of the day. It is one thing to work hard when one is untrammelled -- and another to work in fetters (as it were). When the matter is settled -- if wool were but to wise a bit, I can fancy you would enjoy a turn at Station life.
Bishop Monrad's family are here on their way (that is the bulk of them) back to Denmark. Manawatu has not proved a Canaan for them. But they leave their sons behind,
We have had very unsettled weather but it seems to be improving.
Old Mr. Strang is looking pretty well, but he is still a little querulous and does not believe much in his knees.
Hector is to be married on the 29th. to Georgia Monro.
My wife is busy furnishing and getting their house ready for them.
Hart looks particularly well -- as did Mrs. Hart when I saw her.
I have hohing new to tell you, and shall only say further that which is not new viz.
that I am very truly yours,
Alexander J. Johnston.
The Hon. D. McLean.
Inward letters - Alexander J Johnston, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0358 (47 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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