Object #1005299 from MS-Papers-0032-0554
8 pages written 11 Nov 1863 by Thomas Purvis Russell to Sir Donald McLean
From: Inward letters - Thomas Purvis Russell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0554 (30 digitised items).
32 letters written from Wairarapa, Hutt and England, 1851-1868 & undated; with regard to farming, and the leasing and purchase of Maori land in Wairarapa and related disputes
A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.
Nov. 11. 63.
My dear Maclean,
The escape of the Natives from Mere Mere is a great disappointment and recreates a state of anxiety in the mind of the settlers which had been greatly relieved by our sanguine anticipation of a victory over the Natives.
I am sure you will agree with me that every locality should at once be put in a state of defence such as the erection of Block houses and stockades. So fully am I impressed with the necessity of having a Blockhouse erected in this neighbourhood that I am prepared to employ the whole of my hands one or two days a week until the proposed building is completed however inconvenient their absence from the pressing operations of this period of the year might be. The proposed blockade has not been begun and the time specified in the Estimate is three months but in my opinion to delay the completion of some place of refuge for as many weeks as a crisis like the present would amount almost to a crime chargeable to the Govt. as well as to the employers in this locality. I have seen Gollan who entirely shares my views on this subject. We are not alarmists but as we feel that a considerable amount of responsibility rests with us we would thoroughly urge upon those at the head of the Defence department to provide us at once with such an
amount of protection in the shape of a Block house either connected with the proposed stockade or detached. I have thought that the latter would be more suitable for the occupation of the settlers here than under the same roof with the Military but of course this need not be a matter for consideration. My idea was to place a Block house on the flat below the hill or terrace selected for the Stockade which would thus be fully protected by the latter and as it would not involve any great outlay as I have already said would be more suitable for the private families about here in the event of a necessity arising from such a course. I have no doubt I have already given you such a skeleton of my views as will enable you to comprehend fully what we want here. The Stockade ought to be hurried on without a moments delay. The urgency for it has been much increased by the alteration which Mere Mere affair has produced.
The Militia here are without ammunition strange to say. Get this remedied at once if you can.
I hope to hear from you by next mail with authority to commence our local Block House. I cannot conceive how so much delay has taken place in carrying on the different military works to completion.
I am going to see Weber in the morning who has proposed to give me the plan of the place we want known.
I have had a hard days shepp drafting and feel quite unable to guide my pen or my ideas. I shall expect to have
a satisfactory answer by post. In the meantime believe me
Very truly yours
Mrs. Russell and Maud send their kind regards to yr sister and self.
Nov. 12. As Mr. Weber has failed to keep his appointment this morning it will be necessary for you to see him at once. There is a growing panic in the public mind here and unless immediate steps are taken to provide them with a place of succour I feel satisfied that we shall lose the most of our labour. I shall do my best to bear up the fainthearted but to enable me to do so effectually not a day must be lost in carrying out my proposition to you. The families or stations to who our Blockhouse would be available are as follows
Tanner & Price
Inglis & Johnston
The slabs which my Brother has drayed to the proposed site for a Stockade would go a great way to build the Blockhouse. Iron roofing might be forwarded from the Port at once. Mr. Weber seems to think that the best site for the Barracks is directly opposite to my house but I am satisfied His Lordship would never agree to have it placed there besides the Morotiri heights are much nearer wood and water and is sufficiently commanding. I feel satisfied that the parties for whom the protection is sought will cooperate strongly in forwarding the work.
I hope that no unkind influence will prevent the establishing a house of refuge for the locality.
Excuse haste. Say whether we can use the slabs on the ground.
Inward letters - Thomas Purvis Russell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0554 (30 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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