Object #1003784 from MS-Papers-0032-0481

6 pages written 27 May 1863 by John Davies Ormond in Wallingford to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - J D Ormond, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0481 (89 digitised items). 85 letters written from Epraima, Auckland, Wallingford & Napier, 1857-1865. Includes a few draft letters from McLean to Ormond.

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

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English (ATL)

May 27th/63

My dear McLean,

To my very great disappointment the mail has not arrived today, detained I fear by the rivers which may be flooded with late rains. I had hoped to have heard from you and had the opportunity of replying. You will perhaps have received a few lines I wrote on Sunday night and forwarded through Cooper who had sent me the officials addressed to you by the Gen. Govt. in connection with late events at Tarranaki. Since then I have had more time for consideration, but I feel now if possible more strongly than I did then the soundness of the advice I wrote you on receipt of the first intelligence. As the mailman may be here in the morning and return hurriedly I write tonight to excuse your hearing from me shd. opportunity occur. As you will doubtlesss have an Executive consultation as to the course to be pursued by the Govt. in this Province. I shall write what I write here with a view to its being used by you as my opinion thereon. I will touch on such matters as occur to me as briefly as possible. First in regard to the calling out of the militia. From the Col. Secretary's letter I gather that authority for this purpose is transmitted to you and that you are almost desired to act upon it. There did exist a Commission of Magistrates (appointed by Gore Brown) whose assent was required before the Militia could be called out in Hawkes Bay. It consisted of Messrs. Gollan, P. Russell, Ormond, Carter, J. Curling, S. Curling and I think G. Cooper. This Commission will I conclude have been set aside by later authority. My opinion in reference to the embodying the Militia under present circumstances is - that it wd. be a most unwise step, calculated to raise suspicion of our intentions towards them by the native people would imbue them with a feeling of hostility to the settlers, and might therefore lead to difficulties which otherwise wd. probably not ensue. It appears to me a matter of the greatest moment in a district like ours to endeavour by all means in our power to keep the residents out of this apparently hostile attitude. If the Gen. Govt. knowing as they have done the possible consequences that wd. attend the course they have lately taken, had a month ago, authorised the embodiment of a militia and taken other necessary steps for the security of a District like this: then the objections I urge would not have existed. Such a course wd. not then have been viewed by the natives in the same light as it would now. It is useless to add that the Gen. Govt. has been reprehensibly careless and incompetent in these important duties. The remarks I have made apply I am aware with far greater force to the district of Clive than to that of Napier. In Clive the formation of a militia is from the scattered nature of the population almost a physical impossibility unless war were at the door and all property had to be sacrificed and personal safety thought of. It must however be borne in mind that altho' these difficulties do not exist to the same extent in the Napier district yet that the moral effect upon the Natives wd. be the same and wd. recoil upon the inhabitants of the scattered district. The before named are the reasons why I feel so strongly the unadvisability of forming just now the Militia. I think however that it is our duty to make some provision for the safety of the inland districts and the course I wd. recommend is as follows - I write this not knowing whether the necessary authority for the embodiment of the Defence Corps is in your hands But whether it be or not. In my opinion it wd. be well for us to take the responsibility (having the promises and assurances we have from the G. Govt) of action upon ourselves and at once enrol a force of mounted men to the number formerly proposed fifty - get a good man to command them and in connection with their formation tell the natives that their duty will be to keep the peace in this time of excitement. I do not think that the formation of a body such as this wd. be attended with anything like the same suspicion as the drilling the settlers wd. - their very name Policemen carries with it something the native understands. The responsibility attended this course seems to me the only objection that can be urged against it - In every other sense, more particularly as regards efficiency, in case of need, such a force as I describe wd. be inexpressably more efficient and I for my part should view the safety of the district, as a district, secured. In connection with the Force I should recommend that a principal Station capable of defence shd. be secured in the heart of the inland district say at Waipawa. This is essentially necessary and I think no time shd. be lost in making provision for it. Until such a depot exists. Arms for the population itself cannot be put within their reach in the event of their being wanted. In all these proposals for security I wd. be perfectly open with the natives and wd. tell their chiefs that they are securities for keeping the peace for the interests of both races. From you, they wd. receive such an explanation and I believe would be satisfied with it.

I shall be very anxious to hear what you propose doing and how far you agree with my views on these matters.

Always yours very sincerely,
J. D. Ormond

Part of:
Inward letters - J D Ormond, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0481 (89 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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