Object #1007687 from MS-Papers-0032-0481

8 pages written 26 Aug 1863 by John Davies Ormond in Wallingford to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - J D Ormond, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0481 (89 digitised items). 85 letters written from Epraima, Auckland, Wallingford & Napier, 1857-1865. Includes a few draft letters from McLean to Ormond.

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

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English (ATL)

August 26th/63

My dear McLean,

I write on the chance of this catching you at Napier and I hope also it will get in before Whitmore leaves for Auckland as there are one or two points in connection with Militia matters that require attention. You have of course heard of the ridiculous mess things have got into at Waipawa. Master Tanner ordering the volunteers to fall out of the Militia squad whilst drilling. In fact this morning when I attended at the Court house with Cooper everything was in a tremendous mess. All the summons forms in the Office were exhausted in summonses to volunteers for non-attendance at Militia drill and when the bench sat the court was almost crowded with the summonsed. The particulars of all these matters you will hear from from other sources so I will not bother with them beyond saying, that I think all the trouble arises and will keep arising from the want of some kind of resident head in the inland district. Whitmore would be saved a great deal of trouble if he had only one man to correspond with and direct and moreover he would meet the wishes of nearly all the officers and men of the inland militia and volunteers who express a decided wish for something of the kind. Lambert is the man they all wd. like-put in that position and I am sure he wd. be very active and excessively useful in such a capacity. No one wishes to interfere with, or rather to lose the services of Whitmore, but what they say is, that being all entirely new to anything like military movements or ideas, they feel the want of someone to refer to and fall back upon. Will you mention this to the Major and ask him to try and meet this wish if he can do so. All that wd. be needed wd. be that Lambert should be gazetted to take charge of the inland district under the Officer commanding. If something of this kind be not done or some steps quickly taken to acquaint all the various officers with their duties and positions there will be a nice mess and also a very undesirable feeling of antagonism and dislike on the part of the men to their duties will be engendered Carlyon seems detested up here the terms on which he accepted his commission are generally known, and the men who have left his company for the volunteers say they have done so to escape being commanded by a b---y coward. The mess in which the Militia and Volunteers of No. 6 Company are at present entirely arises from his choosing to consider that the Major has not advised him sufficiently of what was to be done in reference to the Volunteers. His Lordship quite agrees with his Capt. and today at the Court was most pointed and pertinacious in his desire to have the summonsed men fine the extreme penalty the law wd. allow, in which I need not say he did not succeed. The Major's last letter to Carlyon contained the following passage "Of course militiamen tho' drawn will be allowed to go into the Volunteers" which I shd. think ought at least to have kept him from adopting the extreme proceedings he has been taking against men who only disobeyed the law under a misconception of their position. I dont of course allude to Tanner's proceeding which was simply grossly insolent and insubordinate. The next point that wants looking to is. The The last order gazetted by Whitmore about the non-attendance of men living ten miles etc. from drill places - I fear from what I hear that unless this order be rescinded that the getting together either a Militia company on a volunteer corps in either company no. 5 or 7 will be impossible on a calculation I find that more than 1/2 of the people liable to serve must escape before that order came out a fair proportion of these people were ready to volunteer for "Mounted Rifles" now they all draw back and will escape altogether by taking every possible advantage of what the Major intended as a consideration for their convenience. I wd. propose that the Major might so far alter his notice as to say "that in cases where extreme inconvenience orloss was likely to be sustained by people living at a great distance from drilling places having to attend parade. Captain of Companies shd. be desired to report the same with any recommendation they have to make on the case to the Major Commanding who wd. consider it with every disposition to be as lenient as the public service will permit. Another formal thing that wants seeing to is - to get the General Govt. to gazette the "Order in Council" dated 2nd May/63 providing regulations for Volunteer corps - as being extended in operation to Hawkes Bay - at present they only apply to Auckland. That is all I think that occurs to me in reference to Militia business. Tomorrow I go to the Porangahau meeting to hear what the people here intend to do but from what I can gather I fear there will be nothing for it but to call out the Militia of the Company even that will be useless unless the order I have before referred to is rescinded, dont do anything in this however until I return, as I hope yet to get up a company here. H. Russell has opposed the volunteer movement in the Waipukerau part of this militia company and by keeping his men and his brothers from enrolling has prevented their raising the necessary number. He also they tell me told the Meeting what I believe to be entirely incorrect that the Major was opposed to the formation of any mounted corps. This stopped several from joining. I believe the Major is fully alive to the advantages of having a body of riflemen with horses to move about upon, at least so I understood him that he wd. facilitate instead of opposing any movement of the kind. I saw Weber this morning he has considerable trouble in getting the material for the Stockade on to the site and told me H. R. had thrown every obstacle in his power in the way. He said he wd. have to stay on the ground and see to the thing himself or he wd. never get it done. This morning I had a short talk with Rathbone and asked him if he wd. be prepared to supply stores (Flour - Sugar etc.) if required in some quantity and also if he wd. be prepared to to take them off our hands, if not needed, he said he wd. deal liberally with us and could execute the order promptly and quietly and wd. state his terms if he knew the quantities we shd. require - undertaking to take off our hands whatever was not needed at trade current rates. This wd. be a better plan for us than buying and draying on our own account. Get Whitmore to do what he can in the Militia matters I have written about I need hardly say that the suggestions are only made in the hope of assisting him.

Yours always,
J. D. Ormond.

I shall expect you on Saturday.

Part of:
Inward letters - J D Ormond, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0481 (89 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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