May 29th. 1854.
My dear McLean,
Since I wrote to you a week ago, nothing of any importance has occurred. It has rained almost incessantly for four weeks, and was just beginning to look like clearing up, when this afternoon down as hard as ever, and as it was new moon on Saturday, we shall I suppose have a fortnight more of it at least.
The surveys in the Hua Block are at last so far completed that the Native selections can commence. I cannot get them to agree on the division of the money - they are now quarrelling as to whether old Paul's family are to have any, and if they continue to refuse them there will be some unpleasantness I fear. I hope to hear the final result tomorrow morning. Every inch of the good land will be selected by the Natives. Hulke it seems has been at them again (though he promised me he would not interfere any further till the selections were completed) and has told them that as the deed gives them a priority of selection and there is no subsequent written agreements to a contrary effect, their understanding with me is as nothing against the deed - and he is of course right, legally speaking. The Natives will accordingly select all the land from Cooke's farm to the Bell Block boundary, and their land will go in
about as far as the back line of the latter block. It seems that Hulke some time ago bought land orders with the view of selecting the same land he is now endeavouring to obtain. Shortly after he got them, he took it into his head (being one of the Taranaki Maori oracles) that the Hua would not be bought for a long time, so he sold them to Henwood.
Almost immediately afterwards the block actually was bought and Mr. Hulke found he had been too hasty in selling his land orders, so he has hit upon the notable expedient of treating with Raniera for the land he wanted, and so doing poor Henwood. I have made up my mind to delay the matter no further by vain opposition, but let them select, as under the deed they have an admitted right to do, and then throw open the back fresh for the pakehas and just let them growl away, and a pretty loud growl they will make of it, I suspect.
I suppose the General Assembly is now beginning to settle to its work. I hope they will do something for us poor Taranaki officials - seeing that since our salaries were paid at their present rate, the prices of everything of ordinary consumption have vastly increased, in some cases upwards of 100 per cent. The revenue on the other hand is flourishing, and the increased population, English and Maori, has by no means diminshed our work or responsibility. Flight wanted us all to sign a petition praying for increases, but I refused to join and disuaded others for I thought it
would look loke a threat of a strike, which would not do at all. I trust, my dear McLean, that you will endeavour to do something for me, especially as I am located in a place where I cannot urge my own claims in person, and where from peculiar sircumstances I never can have an opportunity of bringing myself into notice by extensive and successful negotiations. I look upon myself as regularly buried here. I may be negatively useful in keeping matters going smoothly, and even now and then picking up an insignificant little bit of land, but that I can ever have a chance of making a sweeping purchase, or in short doing anything to force myself into notice and give me a claim of my own making to promotion. To you therefore, who alone understands the peculiarity of my position, can I look for assistance, and I do trust that something may be done for us all now. It is very disheartening to feel oneself in a position of great responsibility where a false step might bring on either a rebellion or a war between two tribes, to say nothing of the money for the judicious expenditure of which one is answerable; to feel oneself I say under so heavy a responsibility and to be at the same time receiving not only less but much less 3/8ay than a common clerk with no responsibility at all. I think I might at least be put on an equality, as to pay and travelling allowances with Johnson, whose senior I am in the Department. (I overlook the forage money entirely as it
takes the whole of it to keep my horse.) As I am situated having others dependent on my means of course I must stick to the service, come what may; but I do assure you that were I by myself, with no one's interest but my own to consider, I should not hesitate a moment about leaving the Government, particularly if the Genl. Assembly make a special exception of Taranaki and refuse to increase our salaries.
Since I last wrote the Natives have been very quiet on the subject of the prisoner Hiriwaru, and I am happy to say that Katatore has taken no notice of the insult of the Huirangi people. I shall be very anxious to hear when the judge may be expected.
The Ngatiruanui people have come to the determination, inconjunction with the other tribes, that no more land shall be sold between Okurukuru and Kai Hiwi. They have sent me two letter, of which I forward you copies officially. Thos. Williams has also written a long account of the meeting, which he has given to W. Carrington, who is going to send it up to you by this post.
I called on the Supt, last Monday, and offered to take the Police pro tem. till he could find a successor for Halse. He said that having already been snubbed for imposing duties upon W, Halse as an officer of the General Government, he could not accept my offer, but would feel o
obliged if I would take the Native cases. This I promised to do. He then said that if Responsible Govt. were established by the Genl. Assembly, and the Crown lands handed over to the Provinces, he would have me reappointed Inspector of Police. I said nothing to this, but I cannot see how either or both of these contingencies happening could alter my position as regards the Provincial people; for I suppose responsible govt. will only extend to the Executive Councils, and the Crown lands being transferred would hardly, I should think, affect the Purchasing Department. I wish you would let me know what you think about this. I fear His Honor's offer to try to purchase land at Ngatiruanui was only a ruse to get mixed up in this Department with a view eventually to having it put under his control. Once being relieved of the Police, I should not like to have it again placed under my charge, except to the extent, and in the manner pointed out in a former letter to you.
The man who was hurt by W. Bayly's son is all right again, I hear; so Tataraimaka is safe for this occasion.
I have heard nothing from Ihaia and Tamati about Waitara since I sent them my letter, a copy of which I forwarded to you officially.
Rogan is on his way to town and I expect to see him tomorrow. A great number of the Mokau people came in
last week - they are strenuously urging for settlers to be sent down to occupy the new purchases there. They say if this be not soon done the natives from the interior will come down and take possession. But of course you hear regularly on these points from Rogan himself.
I will now conclude, with kind regards from my mother and sister, I remain
My dear McLean,