Object #1005198 from MS-Papers-0032-0354

12 pages written 16 Nov 1857 by John Grant Johnson in Whangarei and Otaika to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - John G Johnson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0354 (17 digitised items). 15 letters written from Warkworth, Auckland, Lyttelton, Sydney & Whangarei, 1854-1867

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

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English (ATL)


16th. Nov. 1857.

My dear McLean,

I have been anxiously waiting for the official letter, respecting the £200 for the Parua Block --- but unfortunately it has not arrived in time to relieve me from the dilemma in which I was in. Tirarau came over to see me personally last week on the subject --- and insisted upon having the money --- he was very civil and friendly --- for the purpose of obtaining his object, and I saw never-theless that if I withheld it that a rupture of friendly relations between myself and him would be caused which might have very baneful effect in any future operations which I may be engaged in. He would not wait until I received an answer from Auckland --- but was willing to agree that the money should remain untouched in his possession until the final decision of the Government was obtained --- under these circumstance and many others the details of which are to lengthy to vommit to paper --- I judged it to be less productive of injurious consequences to pay the money to Tirarau, than it would be to withhold as he threatendd with to tapu the place for ever --- or seie upon it and the adjoining country --- both of which courses would only have further complicated the question --- and I accordingly paid Tirarau on behalf of all parties concerned and took a conveyance from him of the Land. I have since seen Pohe who took the matter very coolly --- and appeared to think it unavoidably. The old chief I hear is indignant --- I mean Hamiona Harkiro --- but both Tirarau and Pohe though rival parties themselves ignore his claim --- and what he will do in the matter must remain for the present in the chapter of accidents. Tirarau threatens him with expulsion from the district. I do defy any mortal man to control these circumstances --- these and similar affairs are inseperable from the task of acquiring the country by purchase. With reference to the piece of land adjoining Sir Osborne Gibbs property, Lady Gibbs very impudently told the natives that Sir Osborne had gone up to Auckland to complain to the Governor about me, and that it would go very hard with me. I have always been very kind to the natives about here and they fearing I should be sent away from the place came and told me, asking at the same time what it meant. The last paragraph of your letter to me on the subject I consider very uncourteous but I completely absolve you as I have reason to suppose it was produced by Sir O. Gibbs misrepresentations to the Governor. The Land he wants I am as well acquainted with as with my own homestead --- private properties surround Sir O's estate on all sides except one, and the Natives have offered the land adjoining up to his boundary line. Sinclair who has just finished 14,000 acres up the South Branch is now surveying it and the other piece in the in the neighbourhood belonging to Maunsell. Maunsell's piece it is which rises the price --- it is a piece of land more coveted by intending settlers for a farm than perhaps any other piece of land in the District and would readily sell at 30/- or 40/- per acre --- 4/- is what I would recommend for this piece --- whereas 2/- would be ample for the 600 acres adjoining Sir Osborne Gibbs. What the average price of the two pieces will be I cannot determine till after the survey as the price will depend on the greater or lesser size of the good and average pieces. It is rumoured that Sir O. thinks he has found gold in the piece of land he wishes to purchase if such be the case it is manifestly my duty to buy the whole block instead of the 27 acres he wishes to get --- independently of which circumstances you are not perhaps aware that the land in question is a portion of Block No. 4 directed to be purchased in your letter of the 10th. October 1856 --- but the survey of which has been delayed until now by more important works and which would have been acquired in due course without Sir Osborne's troubling himself. Why His Ex. could not be in earnest when he directed you to write to me that Sir. O. the Legislative Counsellor was ignorant of one of the fundamaatal laws of the Colony that private purchase was prohibited when every little ragged native boy knws that much. If there is any inclination on the part of H.E. to give me fair play it will be seen the surveys are completed and the block is officially reported that I have done my duty. The reason I did not call upon Sir Osborne is that during all the time this was pending I have been absolutely alone in the bush without even a servant or a native --- with £550 of Govt. Specie by me which I did not choose to leave behind --- except in case of necessity --- which did not exist. I do not intend to answer the letter as the facts of the case will speak for itself in due time and what "in the Captain is but a choleric word in the private soldier is rank blasphemy" --- but I do believe still that if I had an opportunity of explaining the case to H.E. he would see that he blames me without reason.

As regards the trip to the South I have no wish to visit the Middle Island again --- thedistance is so great and the nature of the service would weigh with me for I have a great dislike to go on servises which produce no result like my last visit.

I hope to be in town soon and remain
Yours very sincerely,
John Grant Johnson.

Part of:
Inward letters - John G Johnson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0354 (17 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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