Object #1006278 from MS-Papers-0032-0643

6 pages written 3 Jul 1846 by Alfred Wills in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Surnames, Wil - Wil, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0643 (14 digitised items). Correspondents:Alfred Wills, Wellington, on board `Annie' (from Mauritius to Hobart Town), Hobart Town, 1846-1852 (5 letters); Charles Wilson, Foxton, Palmerston North, London, 1872 & undated (3 letters); G H Wilson, Wellington, 1874 (2 letters); Edward Wilson, Wellington (1 letter)

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

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English (ATL)


July 3rd. 1846.

Dear McLean,

Although much engaged and not a little harassed I cannot allow the ''Carbon'' to leave a second time without fulfilling my promise of sending you some news about Wanganui, and acquainting you with my intended departure for Otakou, whence I hope to send you and to receive in return many a friendly ''pukapuka''. On the arrival here of the Govt. Brig White had only time to lay down his work when he received orders to join the Militia on the Hutt. I was therefore left to complete a map for Symonds (which after all was but an unfinished one) who was to sail for Auckland the day after - this prevented my sending you a line by the ''Carbon'' - I sent in to Col. W. a long report on the Wanganui affair (together with a map) which I concluded with a remark that I felt sure that the memorial which Nixon, Campbell, Bell, Wilson and King had addressed to the Governor could never have been forwarded, had not the memorialists considered that the cupidity and untractableness of the natives left them no hope that the purchase of Wanganui could be satisfactorily completed, but I added that their opinions might probably undergo a change should the natives repent of their contumacy, in which case I felt sure that after having expended so much capital and time at Wanganui (and being attached to the locality and climate) they would naturally prefer remaining to removing to another site, and finally I stated my opinion that (notwithstanding ''Mawai's'' assertion that he would not resume the question) the greater part of the natives were so well aware of the advantages accruing from the settlement of Europeans among them, and they were all so much disappointed at the nondistribution of the payment that it was not improbable the purchase might be far more satisfactorily completed hereafter than it could have been in the present disturbed state of the North Island and whilst Rangihaiata and his ruffians with their Wanganui and other adherents are suffered to remain at large but I stated in addition that of course the next arrival from Wanganui could better enable us to form an opinion on the subject. I told Col. W. that having only been in Wanganui a few hours after my return from the bush and as I left at daylight the next morning, I could not venture to express an opinion as to the unanimity of the settlers with respect to their removal to another site.

My report went in on the 20th. June and the cutter arrived on the 27th. with Capt. Campbell and Bell - I felt sure (on my leaving Wanganui) that the Memorialists would soon regret the step they had taken; I am very sorry to say that painful experience has proved to me that after making great sacrifices in coming to this precious colony it is easier to talk of removing than to remove, but independent of this consideration you and I know that the Wanganui settlers like the place and climate. A day or the Independent which I send you with this, was two after the cutter's arrival. published with Wilson's letter, who states (as you will see) that he has placed himself between the horns of a dilemma.

I have not yet seen Captain Campbell (at which I am surprised) but hear that he has brought down many letters from the natives to the Governor requesting him to cause the purchase to be completed and promising (so I hear) to reduce their demands for reserves - I shall ask Capt. Campbell about them when I see him. Bell is very anxious to see the Governor and still says that he will not stop at Wanganui unless he has the whole of his section. I suppose that he and Capt. Campbell will have an interview with the Governor in a day or two.

Captain Grey arrived the day before yesterday in the ''Driver'', by which vessel Col. W. received from Auckland extracts from Symonds' Report covered by a letter from the Colonial Secretary - truly (the latter) a most bungling affair. Mr. Sinclair describes the completion of the purchase of Wanganui as having been prevented in consequence of the Wangaehu claim (!) - putting forward the great difficulty which we overcame and leaving entirely unnoticed that which ultimately prevented the adjustment of the Land Question (I mean the exorbitant demands of the ''up-river'' natives, who Symonds himself, as Mr. Sinclair might have seen had he perused S's report with attention states were the cause of negotiations being broken off.)

The Colonial Secretary's letter (and its enclosure) was handed to me yesterday by Col. W. (rather amusing for nine days before I resigned my appointment and my resignation was accepted - this I will presently explain).

At first I could not understand what the sapient Colonial Secretary meant - he had so confused the matter but after half an hour's consideration I saw through the fog and cleared it up (or endeavoured to do so) by a letter to Colonel W. last evening which I sent to-day - I wish Symonds had been here - I think he would have been amused tho' perhaps at the same time annoyed at the letter of the worthy Col. Sec.

Mr. Sinclair speaks of a considerable payment (to Abraham) without which he would (says Mr. Sinclair) have disputed possession of the land if any Europeans attempted to occupy it. I explained to Colonel W. that although Abraham at first expected a large sum and threatened to annoy some settlers, he subsequently recognised the Boundary and expressed himself an a very friendly manner towards the settlers and that you at last thought that about £170 would fully satisfy him and his few followers.

As yet nothing has been determined on by the Governor but I hear from good authority that he is by no means desirous that the settlement of Wanganui should be abandoned.

Now for a little news about myself. After I had sent in my report and map of Wanganui the Colonel requested me to test all Fitzgerald's surveys of the special Native Reserves (clearings etc.) about Port Nicholson. (You are aware that some time ago I tendered for a contract survey at Otakou together with my friends Wylie and Jollie but that I had determined not to avail myself of it unless I saw there was no prospect of promotion - Wylie was to have seen Colonel W. on the subject of my advancement but was too much engaged preparing for Otakou to do so and I received a letter for him (Wylie) whilst at Wanganui.)

I expressed my willingness to proceed with the required survey but requested that as I had been 4 1/2 years in the service (at the same salary as I received on first landing in New Zealand £147 per an.) my salary might be raised. Colonel Wakefield replied that there was often little or nothing to do here, and that worrk and surveys were only occasional and that he should not feel himself authorised in increasing my salary at present - if there had been more to do he would have considered it - I then wrote him stating that I could not afford to remain at that salary and that some temporary pecuniary difficulties compelled me to avail myself of Mr. Wylie's offer of a partnership contract at Otakou as these must be met before the end of the year (altho' they were not considerable) and my present salary would not enable me to meet them - on receiving my appointment in 1841, the Secretary of the Company informed me that ''zeal and assiduity in the Company's service should never fail of receiving its acknowledgement and reward'' and I am certainly bitterly disappointed that I have reaped no reward for my exertion which I can honestly say has been constant. Indeed I consider myself injured, for the Director's intention of reducing their establishments altho' communicated to the several resident agents of the Company immediately on their receipt were not communicated to the Surveying Staff by Col. W. until 11 months after. Legally the Company was not bound to give us any notice but morally it was and Colonel W. was instructed to give us notice ''with as little delay as possible'' - this he did not do he says because he thought the Company would soon recover its position and then there would have been no necessity - yet strangely enough, in his ntoice to us dated eleven months after he received instructions he says he ''takes an early opportunity of acquainting us with the instructions he has received.''

But I am troubling you with a long story and after all a hundred years hence it will be ''a' ane to Dandie'' - meantime Dandie must still put his shoulder to the wheel - so is off for Otakou by the first vessel.

My destination is Molineux (sixty miles south of Otakaou) but address to me at Wellington as the Colonel's clerk Lewis will forward my letters. Remember me kindly to Mr. Cook whose land will I hope soon be secured to him. The Crown Grant for Otakou with the Map endorsed was delivered to me today by Col. W. for verification - no fees charged on it - the Governor seems determined to act liberally with the Company.

As regards matters here it is said that His Excellency intends remaining on the defensive till further reinforcements arrive. I hope this is not true as we are completely confined to the town - provisions are now very high and nothing scarcely will be produced this season. Will you believe it - Rangihaiata is said on good authority to have no more than 150 followers - White and his men occupy the post of danger at the Hutt (McDonagh - Captain) the soldiers retreated the other day thinking they were surrounded but White and his fellows skirmished for an hour and a half availing themselves/of its logs - bush etc. - the proper way to fight these brown gentlemen ''with tattoed faces and reverses'' - White and his party were 12 in number - the Maoris about fifty. Two Maoris were wounded one severely - no militia man was wounded - one of White's men was frightened and talked of bolting but White coolly told him that ''if he did he'd shoot him''. The Maoris (friendly) are delighted with the conduct of the militia. Kind regards to Mantell and Brown - thank Webster for packing my coat so carefully. Write me by return. I leave the office in two or three days.

Dear McLean, Yours very sincerely,
Alfred Wills.

Part of:
Inward letters - Surnames, Wil - Wil, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0643 (14 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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