Object #1009299 from MS-Papers-0032-0493

8 pages written 21 Jul 1860 by Robert Reid Parris to Sir Donald McLean in New Plymouth District

From: Inward letters - Robert Parris, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0493 (39 digitised items). 38 letters written from Taranaki - New Plymouth & Manukapo, 1856-1860. Includes piece-level inventory for correspondence, 16 Oct 1856-Feb 1862

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

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

English (ATL)

Confidential. New Plymouth
July 21, 1860.

My Dear Sir,

Having reason to suppose that the Wanderer has become stationary for a time, I am encouraged to entertain the hope that there is some chance of a Karere falling in with him, and have therefore resumed my pen for the following epistle.

My officials convey most of the news, I fear the counsels of the deluded rebels are darkening around us for the fulfilment of Colonel Wakefields Prediction, viz. ''That Taranaki would be the battlefield of New Zealand.''

Anatipa the man who last came from Kawhia has been sending messages the past week which I regard as a crafty beating for time and procrastination of the struggle, to enable them in the interim to get reinforcements etc. etc. viz. ''Will the Governor consent to take three times the amount paid for Teiras land and relinquish it? Will the Governor consent not to send a Man of War after us to Kawhia to seek payment for the Soldiers killed by them on the 27th. June? in the meantime they are enlarging, and strengthening the same Pa. The affair of the 27th. June is much to be regretted, both Major Nelson and Captain Seymour I fear were to sanguine of success. It is the failing of all new arrivals, not to believe that the New Zealander is a Warrior, until they have paid dear for their experience. I knew nothing of their intention to attack the Pa, but very fortunate Mr. White was at Waitara that week. Major Nelson is very much chagrined at his repulse, and to this day thinks the unfortunate Natives connected with the Irregular Corps, betrayed him, which has made things very unpleasant. The small steamer having been sent to Nelson, I went to Waitara in a Boat to see him on the subject, and explained matters to him, when he seemed disposed to moderate his opinion, but he has revived it again, by requesting the Col. Commanding to reconsider the question. It is due to Col. Gold to say, that he takes a differant view of the matter, and that he is kind to the friendly natives, if it was otherwise I am sure I dont know what I should do, for the Settlers in particular think they have a right to treat them all as rebels, and are attempting clandestinely, to influence the Military against them, and taking unjusitifiable liberties with their property. I have taken two cases into court, one on Friday last, a clear case of horse stealing which having been admitted, was settled without opening the case, for it must have been referred to the Supreme Court.

The Irregular Corps has been an unhappy and troublesome affair from the commencement, as both you and myself foresaw, for poor Brown was not the man to carry it out, not that he was wanting in courage, but in tact. It appears that but few of the Natives ever knew what they were expected to do, and as Gol. Gold declined to act upon your recommendation to disband them, I drew a Form of agreement for those who joined the Corps to sign, and sent it to the Brigade Office, recommending its adoption, but it was never done, and when called upon by Major Nelson to take the field, they said they never engaged to go out to fight, such was the Lieutenants explanation.

Poor Brown hangs out in a most extraordinary manner. He has prefered a heavy claim against the Government, said to be a private promise of the Governors, viz. additional pay to that of a Captain of Militia, and a promise to provide for his and the Lieutenants families if either or both should be hurt in the Service.

As I am harder worked, and more exposed, I think I must set up my claim for the same provision for my family, I hear you say dont you wish you may get it Parris. I dont expect it, but Forage allowance for a horse I do expect, for I am frequently obliged to use a second. In fact if the state of things continue long, we shall have to apply for a percentage on our Salaries on account of high prices. Meat risen from 5d. to 8d. - Milk and Butter the same proportion. Firewood from 6/- a load to 15/-/.

I mentioned in a letter to the Governor a desire on the part of many of the Natives away with King's people to secede from the Enemy, and asked for his and your opinion, which he promised to send me. I decline to act any further than I have done in Karipas case, without your instructions.

At commencement of operations, while the Declaration of Allegiance, and the Passes were being put into force, Natives were handled sometimes roughly especially by Jack, at which they became frightened, and preferred going to the Bush and be free, to being made Prisoner at Jacks pleasure, and although they have no doubt been associating with W. King's people many of them have never been engaged against us and are still manifesting a desire to secede from the rebels, not being able to forget the antecedents of their old enemy, who they know not how to appreciate as an ally.

The limiting of rations to 100 has produced a great deal of dissatisfaction. There are upwards of 300 who are willing to take duty and protect the properties of the Settlers, and I believe would be found to be very efficient for that purpose, if dealt fairly with, and put on full ration, and a little warm clothing the same as the Militia - Mahau is posted at Waiwakaio - Te Waka at the Hospital Te Henui - Poharama at his own place from the Sugar Loaf to the Whalers Cross - I applied for two militia men to visit them at night to see they are on duty, which was granted.

As reinforcement seem to be the order of the day, why not make use of the 300 Natives, who I contend for Native Warfare are equal to 300 Soldiers, if only put on as good footing. They are prepared to defend the properties of the Settlers, and go any where against the rebels, within the European boundary which they look upon at present as their dominion, an invasion of which they are prepared to oppose and once called into action, would throw off their prejudice to boundary, and go any where. With proper assistance, I would guarrantee to make them an efficient body of men, who would be found to be of infinite service - allow me to select two men who should have Lieutenants pay and allowances not to be Lieutenants of the Natives, but as coadjutors of mine, for I contend the Natives are the proper persons to officer their own people and a certain number of them should be paid as officers of any Rank the Govt. like to decide when they would take a proper interest in the work, and prove themselves not unworthy of notice, as they keenly feel to be their position at present. It may be said this would be an expensive affair. Look at the expense of three companies of soldiers. If the policy of the Government is, to prove to the Natives that they can do without them, that is another matter. But after the experience of the War to the North, and to the South where the allies, did good service, I cannot understand why they are not made use of, in the present War, and put on a fair footing for that purpose.

Porikapa and the Hauranga Natives have joined S. Williams at the Poutoko, I give them 30 rations of the 100 to keep me informed of the movements of the Southern rebels.

Mahau is a real trump, and really deserves consideration, there is not a man in the district has acted so determined as he has from the commencement. There has been some threats to burn the Waiwakaiho Bridge, as soon as he was asked to come to the Raiomiti Pa to watch it he did so and his people do night duty there for the small pittance of half a ration, without pay or any other acknowledgement.

Hoping to get a long private from you by return of the Steamer, with your favourable views on the foregoing subject.

I am My dear Sir,
Yours very truly and respectfly.,
Robert Parris.
D. McLean Esquire.

Part of:
Inward letters - Robert Parris, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0493 (39 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)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1009299). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments