Object #1008344 from MS-Papers-0032-0245

8 pages written 15 Jul 1854 by Alfred Domett in Napier City to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Alfred Domett, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0245 (32 digitised items). 32 letters written from Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Auckland, Nelson and Taranaki, 1852-1870 & undated. Includes letter from H S Chapman to Domett, 1866; drafts of two letters from McLean to Domett, Mar 1858 & Jul 1863.

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

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English (ATL)

15 July, 54.

Dear MacLean,

I was very glad to get your letter of the 30th of May which reached me only the day before yesterday. I am very much obliged by your good word for me to the Auckland authorities: but I have not much faith in them. I dont mean that I distrust the goodwill and good intentions of the individuals themselves --- but that as officers and members of Councils they will of course give way to noisy and interested opponents who have the power of annoying them otherwise. By the same mail that brought your letter I got an official intimation from Sinclair that it was thought desirable that some mode of payment for land here at Wellington should be adopted. I have provided the fairest and easiest mode --- i.e. that any one paying money in to my official account as Comr. at the Union Bank and sending me the Bank receipt, should date his purchase from the day of my receiving that receipt with his application for land. Several people at Wellington have adopted this plan, which is a most convenient one for all parties. They are spared the risk of sending money, and I of keeping it. All that they could obtain in addition would be that their purchases should date from the day of application at Wellington but this I think would evidently be unfair to purchasers in the district, whose applications ought to take precedence. When the Auckland official letter was written, Bell Featherston and Co. had arrived there, and this intimation was the first fruits of their presence. So much for their good intentions expressed to you. What Bell wants is that his office should be the great one for all the Province, mine merely subordinate --- that all returns should be made up in his --- all Grants issue therefrom etc. I suppose if the Provincials, as they will, get the administration of the lands they will effect this. They might as well knock up my office at once.

The people here have memorialized the Supt. on the subject of selling land at Wellington. If he (Fn.) and the Provincials wish to have auction sales of our land, at Wellington, which is worse than all. Those rascals the Russels are I think advocating and furthering this --- for what private reasons I dont know --- If you talk to Featherston you should recommend that the offices be kept entirely separate at all events, and the mere combination of returns from each, (such as general statements of quantity of lands sold and expenses etc. of Land department) should be made in the Provincial Secretarys office to which each Comr. might send his own return. This wd. be a very trifling addition to the work of the Pro. Secy. --- a perfect trifle --- of an hour or so ---

I wish much you were here --- I dont know a word of Maori and am not likely to require it. We had some great Maori crim con cases. The Moana Nuis wife with Hori Mania who is the Don Juan of this place --- though except a certain slim length of limb a glib tongue and large finger rings I dont see what special attractions he can have for the fair (or rather brown) sex. Also Pahara's sons wife with the same gallant. A great excitement prevailed on the subject. After consulting with Alxr. I determined to summon all the principal chiefs of the neighbourhood (he selecting them, to act as a sort of bench of magistrates (you know there is only one legally qualified). We got them all together --- about a dozen. Moana Nui we advised to keep away --- which he did --- as he was violent and had challenged Hori, native fashion I suppose. Colenso wrote me an alarmist note about natives intending to come with "murderous intentions" as he phrased it and advising strict searches etc. etc. I suspected this to be humbug, and found Alexander entirely agreed with me, so we merely kept Moana Nui out of the way. We had several days of great examinations and most patient and tedious siftings of the cases --- all which and the solemnity attendg them, seemed to have a very good effect on the natives. I gave a couple of fines which astonished some people £100 in one case £40 in the other --- more for considerations of policy than anything else though I really think abstract justice was also done. The natives I think were highly pleased --- Alexander agreed entirely throughout --- Hapuku too brought a complaint against Moana Nui's wife for slander of Hine paketia (the Queen as you have named her) for "crim con" also with Hori. You can fancy the excitement of all this, and what a telling and effective speech old Hapuku made, acting as counsel, in fact, for Hine paketia. The listening to these beggars is the great thing, and I think we gave them enough of that. I gave them afterwards a dinner at Munns, with lots of beef and plum pudding and not a little bottled beer and wine (between ourselves). The thing Alexander etc. say went off admirably I gave "the Queen" after dinner --- Hapuku, of his own accord, proposed my health --- Then each chief made a short speech --- the general purport being the propriety of adopting and maintaining the Queen's Law. Colenso translated throughout and really was of great use: though I find he is an overbearing and rather cantankerous fellow among the natives. To me he is over polite and painfully obliging. But I cant get nto these things or when should I have done?

I will of course do all I can for you about a run. The one I understand you to want is that nearest Patangata --- but when will the land be bought? You know best --- I have sold only about 2000£s worth since I have been here --- but much more will be bought --- You should let me know your intentions respecting runs explicitly, and rely on my forwarding your interests as much as I honestly can --- I have not a run myself and am in some doubt whether I shall get one --- At Alexanders advice I put in an application to myself+ yesterday for a run I had cut off Gollans (I think with his consent, at least with his acquiescence) for poor Pelichet. Pelichet however, resigned it. I have still left it open for him. If ever you live here I should much like to be near you but I suppose you wont. Tom Fitzgerald who is a desperate sneak, and "too much wideawake" as the Maories say of him has been buying bits of land in Pauls run --- and he and Tyse have built a whare thereupon. He (F) told me he knew he could easily settle with Paul --- indeed spoke so confidently that I thought he had actualy arranged it with Paul beforehand. To my surprize I got a letter from Paul yesterday, expressing his dissatisfaction at F's proceedings and his desire to hold by the run. This is a specimen of the Milesians doings. Paul talked of having been at Strangs a night or 2 before --- so things were going on as usual --- but you will of course have later news than this.

I want you here to concoct some plan for persuading these natives to sell all their lands. The district will never do till that be done. Curly was here yesterday --- as usual getting on well. I have settled the run business in that block --- disgusting no doubt the Russells, and perhaps Northwood --- but I think my decisions are the inevitable ones.

I have sent a letter to Sinclair recommending the appointment of young Ellman, who lives here as my clerk. Do you know him? He has been very useful as Clerk to Magistrates and is a nice gentleman like unassuming young fellow. He wants to be able to live here a few years --- till a few sheep increase enough to support him --- so he would work for very small salary. I wish you wd, recommend him. I must of course soon have a clerk in my Land office unless they mean to knock it up --- which if allowed, will simply make Grey a cheat and knave, I think. Ehua is not a Maori scholar --- so I must have an interpreter too --- at least I dont think you will get one person who will do it all, very easily.

Write me more at your leisure if you ever have any and believe me ever

Yours very truly,
Alfred Domett.

Featherston will not advertise the late blocks for sale --- what is the reason? You make me laugh with what you say of Bell. Remember me kindly to Dr. Sinclair Richmond Monro etc. I hope old Munro keeps up the credit of Nelson --- Thank those who act as my friends (if occasion be for it) on my part as warmly as you can.

Part of:
Inward letters - Alfred Domett, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0245 (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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