On board S.S. "Taranaki."
Dear Mr. McLean,
I arrived at New Plymouth from Nelson on Thursday the 23rd., to complete the commission according to your instructions, and then go on to Patea, Wanganui, Rangitiki, etc. by coach. As two of the witnesses lived some distance in the country, I directed them to come to New Plymouth to have an opportunity of cross-examining Mr. Chillman on Monday next; which enables me to go by coach on Tuesday. As there was no other coach going before, I thought I might as well come to Auckland, as wait in New Plymouth; because the "Taranaki" would not remain here 24 hours, having to take the San Francisco mails to Nelson, etc. at once.
I came up accordingly yesterday, at my own expense; and when this morning, on purpose to see you, as I was very anxious to have a talk with you about these anonymous communications which appeared in the paper, relating to my conduct at Christchurch, I was very sorry indeed to find that you had gone to Waikato on Thursday evening, and thus missed seeing you.
I have never yet seen Sergeant Cumming's letter, and am therefore at present unable to answer that part of your official letter of 2nd. May, until I get a copy of the letter; but the one in "New Zealand Herald" I think I can reply to so as to satisfy you, of the misrepresentations of the case. I should only be too glad to have an official enquiry made; so that I might be able to refute such accusations.
I only got your letter just as I was leaving Nelson; and it was too rough for me to write at sea, but I will send you reply from Taranaki.
Mr. McKerrell, the gentleman who fired in the "All Comers Match", and who was one of the Scotish team at Wimbledon, told Major Staff on his way to Melbourne, that he was astonished to see such absurd things in the papers; that he had never seen even in England, a Meeting so well conducted or so fairly carried on in every way; and said that if required, he should always be willing to bear testimony to my impartiality throughout the Meeting. At present there are just as many who deny any partiality as accuse me of it; but a remarkable difference is apparent, that whereas my accusers are
anonymous correspondents (except Sergeant Cumming), my defenders sign their names to their letters, as in the case of Fenton at Thames. I hear Wales has done the same; but I have not seen his letters yet. As to all the talk about the bands not meeting the Northern representatives, etc. - the correspondent omits to mention that they arrived on Good Friday, when the people were at Church, or that Volunteer Bands simply attend on whom they like, and cannot be ordered by me or anybody else. These are only instances of the absurdity of the writer's letter in "New Zealand Herald"; which I shall be able to touch upon in my official answer.
I do trust you will not be displeased at my coming up to see you. I have lost no time by it, as I should have only been waiting in New Plymouth; and believe me, that 48 hours extra rough sea voyage is not a thing to be sought after, at my own expense, without a great desire to do what was right.
We are just starting.