Feb. 18th, 1850.
My dear McClean,
I have received safe the Book, and do not think you can have added much to your knowledge by its perusal. The 'New Zealand question' seems to be no longer a questes vexata thanks to you and the local governments and not likely to give, in future, profitable employment to the press -
I hear that the schooner (I do not know her name) which arrived here, from New Plymouth, with the cargo of Flour, belongs party to the Maoris of the Settlement, and as she appears to be in bad hands I think it may be useful, and probably prevent an exorbitant demand for repairs, to inform you that, she arrived here on the 7th inst. (having struck on the Bar coming in), discharged cargo on the 8th, commenced repairs on the 9th - finished 12th. Sailed up to Mallongonga on the 13th to discharge her ballast (Lime stone) which she sold to Mr. Churton at 25/- per Ton (3 1/2 ton) returned same day and ready for sea.
She lost her anchor and cable at the Heads which was recovered by the government whale boat and as she had her usual crew, I do not suppose there was anything to pay for that service.
During her stay all hands were constantly drunk, one man has been committed for two months for robbery another deserved a similar punishment if the Skipper is to be believed,
and the latter genius, I myself had to send to the lock up for fighting on the Beach. Of course all this is entre nous and merely for the benefit of the Maori owners.
I am happy to have a good account of Taranaki and hope our old Wanganui settlers are well and prospering.
Tell Captain Campbell, the Police department is not a whit more improved since he left, and that in consequence, I have declined all further participation with the R.M. in his judicial functions.
Between ourselves, there has been so much shameful neglect of duty exhibited by the Police Corporals who have been stationed here, and consequently so much encouragement given to immorality particularly to drunkenness and gambling, that I have determined if possible to bring about a better state of things, but having very little power as a justice and having in vain endeavoured to call the attention of the R. M. to the matter, my plan is to take evidence and where there is a case of culpable breach of duty on the part of the Corporal, forward a formal complaint to Major Durie.
On the arrival of the last Mail from Wellington the present Corporal (Oxenham) was so much intoxicated that he could not receive the letter bag from the policeman (Patapu) who was obliged himself to take it to the Post Office. When the Corporal recovered a little, he enquired about the Mail and finding that it had been sent in, he commenced assaulting the Maori, called him a xxxxxx Rogue, xxxxxx taurekareka etc.
then remained out during the Night and came home drunk daybreak, with a black eye received in a drunken scuffle. Binding afterwards that Patapu had complained to me of his conduct he threatened to get him dismissed from the Police. - have waited till this day, in order to give the R.M. an opportunity to notice the matter, but as he has not done so - altho he has been informed of it, I intend myself to forward the case to Major Durie.
I am sorry to say that the benefit to be expected to derive from the discharged soldiers is not so much realized as we would wish. None appear to have any inclination to work for themselves as independent men. Even those with money remain about the Town, keeping stores and altho Mr. Fox has very properly offered land in the neighbourhood of the Town, in Blocks of five acres, with credit, and an offer to take part of the payment in labour to be expended in the improvement of the purchased property, not one applicant from the class Military has accepted.
Should the 'CLara' touch at Taranaki, it is very probable youmay see two nephews of mine as my Brother writes me that they would be ready for that vessel, he may himself be with them with his family but it is more probable he has not been able to get away so soon. Will you in the event of your meeting advise them the best, with regard to getting here. I was in hope that the 'Wanganui' boat, as she was called would have been useful for the purpose of communication
but it appears we are not to have her to ourselves and we have nothing here fit to cross the Bar, the Gun boat being rigged as a pleasure yacht.
I must now conclude this lengthy epistle and remain,
My dear McClean,
Yours very truly,
Should my relations arrive will you be good enough to write me the first opportunity afterwards as, if they go on to Wellington direct, I would start off to meet them there.