Object #1007873 from MS-Papers-0032-0726

3 pages written 28 Jan 1872 by an unknown author in Wanganui

From: Outward drafts and fragments, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0726 (53 digitised items). Names of identified correspondents entered in Name Field. Also Miss Manning of Onoke; Edwin Smith Esq of Melbourne (late of Hawke's Bay), 1870; Captain Johnstone; Mr Hunter; Major Jackson; Mrs Symonds (wife of Captain Symonds) and letter to Tukairangi ? for administrative assistance.

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

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English (ATL)


28th Jany 1872

Dear Sir,

Lieut. Colonel McDonnell has just come in from Rangitikei he has obtained the whole of the signatures except two - one Hori Ngawaka who is now in Waikato and whose friends would not sign for him - the other Hopi Te Wheoro who refuses to sign. Of course a number of the other signatures are those of representatives. During the whole time he has been away Mr. A. McDonald and most of the natives have been in a state of frightful intoxication - in which I am sorry to say, he states most of them are at present. Col. McDonnell says that it is perfectly understood that the balance of one thousand pounds to be paid when the signatures were obtained, will not be paid until the two deficient signatures are procured. Their agent McDonald was and is too drunk to raise any objection to this - lying speechless on the floor of a native public house most of the time - He has been behaving most abominably and in his cups saying the Deeds were not worth a snap of his fingers etc. Col. McDonnell thinks the natives are thoroughly disgusted with him as their agent. He Col. McD. did not receive the slightest assistance from A. McDonald in obtaining the signatures. I send this out by orderly to wait your instructions as to whether Mr. Bush and Sambrook and also Col. McDonnell are to come out to you tomorrow morning or whether, under the circumstances, you will defer your visit to another time.

I should come out myself but am very tired having just returned from a long ride.

Of course you have heard before now the sad way in which one of our men have been murdered I helped to carry the poor fellow into the drag. After he had been been cut and hacked about in a fearful way the other men had a very narrow escape from sharing the same fate. The will of the Maories was good to serve them all alike. It has upset the neighbourhood very much for the present every one is anxiously waiting to see what steps the Government are going to take in the affair it is evident these disturbances will interfere greatly with the progress of this part of the colony. At the time the sad occurrence happened three of our men were working about 7 miles from here and about the same distance from Cambridge placing some fascines across a piece of swamp about two chains wide the mens names were Jones, Sullivan and Rodgers, Mr. Parker and a man named Lloyde were carting to them about midday, on Mr. Parker arriving with the second load he observed there was something unusual had occurred, as the men's tools were lying about in a very careless way he then gave a cooie but got no answer and looking across the bit of swamp he saw two natives about half a mile distant when he at once had his suspicion but not wishing to alarm Lloyde he asked him to put the billy on the fire and they would have some dinner. Meanwhile Parker went to the top of a rise and then he sees a native coming towards them when Lloyde saw him he thought it was Jones but Parker knew better and knew they could not return home without passing him the other two natives were now retiring and were soon lost sight of, the 3rd has also disappeared but they knew he could not have gone off the fern ridge without their seeing him they then came to the conclusion that he was waiting for them. About 3 minutes from the time the two natives were seen to move away Parker observed some cattle gallop off as though they had been disturbed in a small gully he then knew the two natives were getting round to join the one that was alone Parker and Lloyde then made up their minds to start at once for home before they should join each other they had a drag and three horses their road lay on the top of a fern ridge for nearly a mile they each kept a good look out as they went along but they had not gone far when Parker said I see him kneeling in the fern when they came opposite him he got up and pointed the guns at them and pulled but fortunately it was a bad cap and missed twice. Parker then wanted to capture the Maori but Lloyde had ran off and as the Maori was putting his hand to his pouch to get another cap Parker galloped his horses away and when about 200 yards away he stopped and called to Lloyde but got no answer he then started for home as quickly as possible the native going in the direction Lloyde had taken.

Respecting the attack on Jones, Sullivan and Rodgers the three men had just finished a drain to prevent the water overflowing the fascines when Jones looked up and saw four armed natives very near to them he then cried out My God run or we are all dead men the natives had cut off their retreat homeward so they ran up the opposite side of a swamp. Jones would know the track if there was one as he is our stock keeper and he told them to follow him. When they had run about 3/4 of a mile the natives were very near them and Sullivan who was last of the three cried out I'm done go on and take care of yourselves boysand about a minute and a after a shot was fired with which we suppose Sullivan was killed one native then pursued and about 3 minutes after another shot was fired in the direction of Jones and Rodgers the latter was on the point of giving up also and would have done so had not Jones encouraged him to keep up. After running about 4 miles and were clear of the natives who had gone across to wait for Parker and Lloyde they could see the cart returning to the spot where they had been attacked but could give them no assistance being so far away. Jones then hastened into Cambridge and reported the affair to Major Clare and Rogers came and told me he thought Sullivan Parker and Lloyde were shot and he expected the natives would be down on us any minute. Mr. Walker was not at home so I got all the men together and sent one to Alexandria to report the affair as I knew Col. Lyons had gone there that morning. I then with six others marched off to where Sullivan was last seen when we were about a mile from the place we met Mr. Walker Parker and the Constabulary who had found the body which had been shot through just under the right shoulder. They had cut and twisted his head off and lungs and liver had been thrown about the heart was taken away with the head I assisted in putting the body on the drag but it was a horrid sight and one that wont be soon forgotten.

Part of:
Outward drafts and fragments, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0726 (53 digitised items)
Series 4 Drafts and fragments of outwards letters, Reference Number Series 4 Drafts and fragments of outwards letters (889 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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