Object #1006029 from MS-Papers-0032-0391

8 pages written 6 Sep 1862 by Sir Donald McLean in Auckland Region to Thomas William Lewis

From: Inward letters - T W Lewis, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0391 (32 digitised items). Twenty-eight letters written from Auckland & Defence Office, Wellington, 1862-1876. Includes draft of letter from McLean to Lewis, 6 Sep 1862

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

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English (ATL)

Auckland
6 Sept. 1862.


My dear Mr. Lewis,

I was much delighted with your kind letter of the 31st. ult. from Sydney as it removed all suspence as to your safe arrival by the Kate.

Our little circle at Wynyard House were quite rejoiced when your letters came, I can easily imagine how disagreeable your long passage must have been, and the disappointment to Mrs. Lewis and yourself of missing your excellent friends Sir. Wm. and Lady Burton.

I very often think of the many pleasant and edifying conversations we have had together and I only hope that it may some day be my good fortune to meet you in your travels and hear you relate and expound some of those deeply interesting subjects with which you are so conversant. I wish our public men in high stations would devote more attention to the subject of race if such were the case we should have much less difficulty in governing our various dependencies where difference of race forms such a barrier to the progress of our institutions.

Even in this Colony pessessed of so many highly intelligent men the most absurd ideas prevail in reference to the Maori and our legislators exhaust more time in discussing crude theories as to the best mode of treating him than they do in carrying on the practical and obvious duties for which they have been elected.

One party consider that the Natives require nothing but law and order to render them loyal subjects of Her Majesty forgetting all the time that law to be appreciated and obeyed must be the result of time as it has been in our own country and that the foreing it upon a semibarbarous people by spasmodie efforts is not the means by which we can have our institutions respected. It would be much wiser to let the Maori alone until he is influenced by conviction to appeal to us for our laws.

Ecclesiastics consider that religion alone will reclaim and raise them in the scale of civilisation. Legislator place their faith in abstract theories on law, others in an appeal to the sword but none seem to arrive at a medium course which might solve the difficulties of the Maori question while all would deprecate the intervention of any party who would not adopt some one of their own pet schemes.

Few will take the pains to enquire into the past History character religion or superstitious belief of a people with a view to eliminate some principles upon which a fabric of Govt. might be constructed. John Bull with all his love of justice has too little regard for the feelings and motives of people differently constituted from himself and with distinctive phases of character to arrive at a correct idea of the best means of adapting himself to the governt. of a race possessing so many singular characteristics as the New Zealander does - he is subject to the same passions and infirmities as other members of the human family and is also easily managed by those who make his character their study. I had lately a very pleasant trip to Coromandel of which I observe the local journals have taken some notice so I enclose a slip from the paper for your perusal when you are indulging in a quiet smoke after your tea. We have had delightful weather in Auckland since you left with an occasional wet day.

I can imagine how these doleful bells, ill constructed houses and dusty streets must have discomposed you, but I gather that you were going to court and I hope that meeting the best society in Sydney may in some measure compensate for your other annoyances, I am sure you will like the Hobart town climate better and I shall be most happy to hear of your safe arrival there.

I would write at much greater length but some of my Maori friends have come to interrupt me so I must bring my brief epistle to a close, I will leave the other members of the house to speak for themselves.

With very kind regards to Mrs. Lewis and your daughters.


I remain, My dear Mr. Lewis, Always very sincerely yours,
Donald McLean.

Part of:
Inward letters - T W Lewis, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0391 (32 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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