Object #1009188 from MS-Papers-0032-0581
From: Inward letters - Thomas Henry Smith, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0581 (69 digitised items). Letters written from Auckland, Maketu, on board SS Egmont off Napier; on board SS Lord Ashley off Napier, 1856-1872. Includes piece-level inventory, 1856-1866 (excludes letters from 1969 accession)
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Tukupoto Miss. Station Waikato,
April 10th 1860
My dear McLean,
In consequence of information received in Auckland respecting the state of feeling among the Waikato's in reference to the Taranaki affair I was requested to pay a visit to Ngaruawahia for the purpose of explaining the Governor's views and intentions and of obtaining correct information as to the movements of Waikato -- Accordingly on Tuesday the 3rd inst. I left Auckland accompanied by Mr. Buddle and reached this the following day -- bringing with me the news of the Ngatiruanui and Taranaki affair as published in a Maori Messenger extraordinary of the 2nd inst. The information which led to this step was furnished by Mr. Reid, who had received the impression that the Waikatos were all but decided upon joining Wm. King -- and were to settle the point at a large meeting at Ngaruawahia which was to come off on Wednesday last -- He stated that a proposal to this effect had been favorably entertained at
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a preliminary meeting at Kihikihi from whence a letter to Wm. King, promising support and assistance had been sent, and that a descent upon Auckland was also talked of -- Before reaching this, we found that Mr. Reids impressions were not borne out by facts and that he had been misinformed about the timeof the meeting of the Waikato tribes at Ngaruawahia -- A deputation of the Ngatiruanui have been in the district for some weeks past having been sent here to give in the adhesion of the tribe to the Maori King and they were waiting for the Waikato hui at Ngaruawahia -- This meeting, however, is yet some weeks distant and on the receipt of the late intelligence from Taranaki they wished to fulfil their mission without further delay -- They accordingly came to Ngaruawahia to day and with a great deal of ceremony tendered their allegiance to Potatau -- I waited here for the purpose of hearing what they would say and the reply given -- but nothing has been said about the main question -- viz. aid to Wm.King from Waikato -- I have had several discussions with the leading men here, including Takerei Rewi, Te Wetini, Tumuhina, Tarahawaiki and other chiefs but have not obtained anything satisfactory -- all unite in thinking that the course adopted by the Governor was ill judged and refuse to disconnect the Acts of the Ngatiruanui from the Waitara question and the war with King the most
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moderate say they must suspend their judgement until they shall have investigated the merits of Kings case, and they will not at present admit that the Ngatiruanui aggression on the Pakehas was a 'kohuru' -- A sketch has been produced in which it is shown that King had a proprietary claim to the land sold by Taylor -- This sketch I have carefully copied with the accompanying statement and send you a copy in order that you may be prepared for the Waikato deputation which it is proposed to send for the purpose of investigation -- It was explained by me that, even assuming the truth of their documents, Wm. King was wrong in not bringing forward his claims before: that this was the first intimation received by the Govt. of the existence of such claims -- that Wm.King never took this ground when opposing the sale but admitted Teira's claim and that of the other sellers, numbering 20 individuals. I stated all the circumstances connected with the offer and its acceptance by the Governor including King's replies to the questions put to him by Parris when the payment was made and expressed my belief that the sketch was prepared for the purpose of deceiving the people here and of gaining their sympathy, but that it did not represent the truth. It was replied that some of the Waikato chiefs were going to Taranaki to ascertain the truth, and that if it was found that an attempt
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had been made to deceive them, Wm. King would be dondemned and required to give up his opposition -- I further expressed my belief that if King could prove that he had claims within the block, the Governor would direct that the portions which belonged to him should be excepted, if this were desired -- Yesterday the ground was shifted and the 'mana' was brought forward -- It was contended that Potatau had restored the 'mana' to Wm.King when he invited him and his people to return -- The purchase of the Waikato claim by Govt. was asserted to affect only the portion which had been previously given up and it was urged that whatever might be the wording of the document signed by Potatau and his brother the Waikato never gave up their rights over the conquered territory previously to the return of the Ngatiawa who came back by their permission -- It was argued, if the land had been bought of the Waikato why was it bought a second time of Teira, and so the blame of what had occurred, it was contended, was with the Governor etc. At this point I stopped the speakers stating that I had not come to ask their opinion on the acts of the Governor who was not accountable to them -- but that I was there to give correct information, to explain etc. and to hear what course they were prepared to take -- On the latter point they were not prepared to give an immediate answer -- this would probably be settled at the coming meeting
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When all the tribes would be present - I was assured, however, that there was no present intention on the part of the Waikato King party to join Wm.King - and that should any step of the kind be resolved on at the great meeting, Takerei and Rewi would themselves come to Auckland to announce their intentions to the Governor himself - It was also stated generally that the principles adopted by this party were those of peace 'Whakaporo, Aroha and the Ture' and that nothing inconsistent with these would meet with their support - though in their opinion the course adopted by the Governor was in opposition to those principles by which the Govt. professed to be guided. I stated fully the Governor's views and insisted upon the distinction between the Waitara question, which I intimated admitted of settlement, and the Ngatiruanui murders, the perpetrators of which, I gave them to understand, must be given up before peace could be made - I believe I have stated clearly the Governor's mind and the facts of the case, hiding nothing, and requiring them to be equally frank; and so I leave them - I do not apprehend that they will decide on expousing Wm. King's quarrel though they are willing to keep up the feeling of doubt which they believe is entertained by the Govt. - and which it is not their policy to remove, especially would they be unwilling to express any decided condemnation
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of the Ngatiruanuis at the present time when they are tendering their allegiance to Potatau in so flattering a manner - There are natives here from Kawhia and Whanganui, among the latter Wi Pakau - Hori Kingi also from Rangiaohia, and Hoani Papita, also Te Paerata from Tutaka moana, Taupo - all apparently zealous Kingites - 150 of the Ngatiruanuis Taranakis Kawhia natives and others, formed a procession on their arrival at Ngaruawahia and walked three deep to the flag where they knelt for some time, presented addresses to the king - saluted him, prayed and then retired walking backwards - The speeches on both sides were good - allusions to the Ngatiruanui loss were made but it was rather in a tone of deprecation of their conduct, that they had sought a crooked path, that they had acted without regard to the wishes of those who formed the deputation to Waikato - that they had shown themselves children etc. - There will no doubt be more talk to morrow but Takerei tells me that there will be nothing new - and that should there be any proposal made to the Waikato no final answer can be given - As the object of my visit is accomplished and I see no good in going to listen to 'Maori king' talk, I shall leave for home in the
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morning - Halse will, of course, be back in time for the meeting - and will keep us informed of what goes on - It is said that the king party are trying to get a footing in Kaipara and that they have proposed to take up the Ngatiwhatua quarrel and in the event of peace not being made to gain their alliance and support them against the Ngapuhi and so prevent the latter from joining the Govt. it is also rumored that a message has been sent to Wi Nero inviting him to attend the next meeting and urging him to join the 'king party' and not to ally himself with Tamati Waka on the side of the Govt. - This I think is mere gossip - but there can be no doubt that the object of the king party is to strengthen itself by every means in its power and that it aims at nothing short of the supreme power in the country - It numbers among its adherents men of intelligence who are conscientiously impressed with a belief that what they are doing is right - There is no lack of religious sentiment among its promoters - And one could almost sympathise with the movement but for the knowledge of the impracticability of the scheme - Whatever may be the tendency of the movement its vitality has its spring in a feeling which in itself must be respected - It is the admixture
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of good in it that makes it so successful - But it is late and I must conclude this - Many thanks for your last, I hope the next chat we shall have will be 'he kanohi he kanohi' I am quite longing to see you - Remember me to Rogan - tell him he must come back without delay before his district falls into the 'King's hands. By the way, the Ngatimaniapoto's have written to the 'kings runanga' not to interfere in the Taranaki affair, their litter is also signed by Wi Tako - it is written on the other side of your letter to them informing them of the Ngatiruanui 'parekura'
Believe me, Dear McLean
Donald McLean Esqr. J. P. Taranaki
P. S. I brought with me so could not send him to you.
I fear this is illegible I am writing without a table. TH. S.
Inward letters - Thomas Henry Smith, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0581 (69 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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