Object #1005102 from MS-Papers-0032-0633

8 pages written 10 Sep 1847 by William Bertram White to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - W B White, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0633 (43 digitised items). 41 letters written from Auckland and Mangonui, 1846-1875. Includes letter from White to Ligar, 15 Jun 1854; White to Domett, 9 Nov 1860

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

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English (ATL)

Survey Office,
Sep. 9th, 1847.


My dear McLean

I take the opportunity of your fellow going back to write a few lines You will see by the heading of this that for the present I have been put in charge of the Survey department during Mr. Ligars absence. The man you discharged for insolence to the non commiss officers offered to join this force and was very near taken into custody as a deserter he had no discharge from you, however I thought he would not offer himself if he had not been dismissed by you, therefor I advised Atkyns to take no notice of him, Gillingham has been busy copying all the orders for you, I was obliged to interfere for him, as you sent him without a pass or ticket of leave consequently as soon as he arrived here he was liable to do duty the same as any other man of the force, for instance if we were to send a man to Taranaki he becomes part of your force liable to your orders until you send him back doing duty the same as your own men in regular turn, You should have written officially to Atkyns stating that a man had come up on duty (mentioning the duty) and that you had given him leave for such a time) or not as the case might be, I would recommend you to make the men get the proper caps, we stop 5/- out of the men pay for a cap, a military forage cap, without a peak. If Gillingham had not had important duty to perform I should have had him properly drilled for you to see how the thing was done here, take the first opportunity of sending up a smart fellow who could drill your men in the same way so that the force might be on the same footing throughout, Gillingham says he has not signed an agreement, I would recommend you never to take a man who is not likely to devote his life to the service, it has a most injurious effect on the force, to take men for a short time as you make the force a medium of convenience to the person entering allowing to depart whenever he likes if a man misbehaves grossly do not dismiss him before you have punished him to the full extent of your power bringing before the resident magistrate as the ordinance requires and as soon as he is sentenced he ceases to belong to your force, in one word make it difficult to get into the force, once in more difficult to get out, having once got out never on any pretext whatever allow him to rejoin by that means you will get good men and keep them as you weed out the bad ones and keep the good ones who soon like the life or become unfit for another when you discharge it becomes your duty to see that he does not obtain employment again under Government, if he is unfit for you, he is likely to misbehave himself in any other employment where the discipline is not so strict as the Police. Although we have some men who are not worth much we have some very good ones. We get rid of the bad ones as soon as we can, but do not replace them untill we can get good men rather a difficult thing now, as there are few men who would suit the force we have not got one full compliment.

The rewards are distributed according to the ordinanas for instance, take a twelve month from the time you were embodied, and see how many fines and what amount there is up to that time, make out a list of the men you consider worthy of reward, taking those men who are with you during She whole of the year, and you might include any one who has particularly distinguished for zeal in the service who has been in for nine months - putting opposite their names the sum you would recommend them to receive, beginning with your Sergeant, then the Corp. of course the non commissd. officers get in proportion to the work one of our Sergt. got £8 the other £5 Corp. £3 some of the best behaved men £2.10.0 and as low as one pound, this list you send to the Governor for approval on receiving which you distribute it to the men acquainting them with any expression of the Governors satisfaction of their conduct and also that it is through your recommendation they have got this in your list you should be careful not to exceed the sum collected during the year as you deprive the men of what they have a right to the next making the sum less than it would have been for those who served during the second year, but, not in the first.

What a disgraceful fight we now make of it at Wanganui The natives can say now they have thrashed us in the bush and in the open ground, I long to have a slap at them, I should like them to concentrate the Police and let us have a fight I feel confident we should do much better than troops can possibly, in such a country the natives of the force being able to fight in our way and their own tho I wish old Joe Lage had commanded instead of M Cleverty, he seems to have lost his presence of mind entirely, however I suppose our day will come by and bye the sooner the better, and in no place should I like it better than at Taranaki, fine open country with enough bush to make it a difficult country too.

In reading over the previous part of this letter I find I have written quite an esy, but I am sure my dear fellow you will understand my anxiety that the police should be conducted in a regular manner and as you have often requested me to give you what information I could on the subject I have done so in this instance freely. I suppose you will soon get some troops at Taranaki. The Governor has left this morning in the steamer for Mahuranghi where it is supposed the Pensioners are to be located, the whole of them will form a considerable town, I think myself it is most likely a ruse to frighten the land claimants, we shall see. How do the land claims get on at your place are the natives likely to fight, I hear the Ngatiawas of Port Nick have sent a message to the Taranakians that if they are not quiet, they will come up to thrash them. I would give anything to be sent again to the south, it is not pleasant being at Headquarters, there is so much jealousy of the police among the democrats, that I feel confident that the force will be done away with as soon as the new Constitution comes into effect, I shall try hard for the native force or regiment, it will be more perminent besides there is some chance of promotion in a regiment which is not the case in our present force. I think I stand a good chance if it is raised, particularly as the Governor told me he felt under obligations to me. It appears Ligar has been doing queer things or rather nothing in his office so he is sent to Mahuranghi to get rid of him, and I was sent for and asked if I would oblige them by taking charge of the office department, I told the Governor plainly I did not like it, but if they particulary wished it I would take it for a short time so here I am releived of my Police duties to do Ligars work, not at all to my own satisfaction. I exacted a promise that if anything was stiring that I should immediately join the Police again - I wish you required some assistance in the shape of another officer no place would I rather be at than Taranaki with 50 or 60 men I hope you will recommend it if you see reason to suppose there is to be a row, how many natives have you got we have 18 and splendid men they are, they make first rate soldiers. I hear the mail for Taranaki closes at three this afternoon, Mr. Gillingham has tendered his resignation to Atkyns who of course could not receive it as he does not recognise him having only his word for it that he is a policeman. Your private letters of course could not be taken for an intimation, he wishes to get on the roads and speaks so openly of the way he was taken in that he may get you into a scrape - I would recommend you to discharge him at once as no one can discharge one of your men but yourself -

Everything is in status quo here no news whatever the Governor is gone on to the Bay of Islands write to me soon I am always anxious to know how you all get on and how the natives do do you think they are likely to kick up a row I suppose the Land at Wanganui is at an end. Have you been there lately. Remember me kindly to all friends and believe me My dear McLean


Your most sincere friend
W. B. White.
Septr.10, 1847.

Part of:
Inward letters - W B White, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0633 (43 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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