Mission House, Taranaki,
Augt. 8th, 1854.
My Dear Mr. McLean,
In the present state of our affairs in this Settlement, I think, perhaps, it is my duty to communicate with you without scruple and without delay. I must reopen our past correspondence and endeavour to keep you well-informed on every point, as it may arise. Not that this letter will be lengthy, since I find that Mr. Cooper is forwarding a full report as to matters of fact, wh. I will therefore omit.
But, in the 1st place, as to the continuous survey of the Waitaha line, I do not think that it ought to have been allowed by Mr. C. for he ought to have known, what you and I have known for yrs., viz., how very decidedly Katatore has always expressed himself on the subject. And had you been here, both Katre. and myself are of opinion, that Rawiri wld. have been kept back, and this scene of blood prevented. For Katre. has always xeclared, during the past ten years, that though other land might be bought with money, this particular district (if against his consent) cld. only be obtained by blood. And so it has proved: and so I cd. have shewn Mr. C. that it wld. result in nothing but disasters, had he had the common prudence to confer with me on the subject. Not that I desire to offer officious advice to him on this or any other case, but I do think, in a serious matter of this character, that my opinion, as that
of the only man in the district who possesses any thing worth styling "moral influence" over the Natives, wld. at least, have been worth asking for. When I consider that peace has been maintained in this province during so many years, and the Natives induced to take such rapid strides in civilization, almost solely through your efforts and my own, I think I may be allowed to express the grief I feel, that so long and continuous a peace shd. be broken, and the progress of our people retarded, and all our past anxieties in a great measure, nullified, by taking so unadvised a step, as allowing the further survey of the Waitaha boundary inland.
We know well that every individual in the Puketapu tribe has a claim to some portion of the land in dispute. We know also that though some of them were willing to sell their claims to Government, others have determined not to do so, and have further resolved not to allow the consentient party to mark out any ring boundaries without their consent. This being the case and considering the determined character of the opposition, no encouragemt. ought to have been given by Mr. C. to Rawiri's proposal to overcome Katatore's objections by an appearance or trial of physical force. When you come down (wh. I hope will be by the steamer) I will tell you more about it. How often have I wished that Cooper had never been sent hither in his present capacity, or as havg. any thing at all to do, in the management of Maori affairs. He is a clever young man in
many things, especially, at official routine, and wld. do exceedingly well after two yr's good training: but for all Maori purposes, he is deficient in moral power, chiefly, because he cannot restrain his temper. They say he stamps and swears in the presence of the Natives, if at all discomposed by them, and drives them away in great anger. On the contrary, your old disciple, Mr. Halse, can manage the folks admirably, and indeed ought never to have been supplanted by Cooper whose idiosyncrasy seems to consist in the entire abnegation of all other talent, or knowledge, or judgment, than his own. And he is the sameto, every one in the settlement, and at all times, and thus has brought himself into great dislike with all parties.
Mr. Flight, as you well know, is a 1st rate man, for a Rest. Magistrate, where judgmt. and discretion are required --- and of wh. he happens to possess an abundance. So likewise in the managemt. of Maori questions, he is anxious to learn and acquire informatn. from every authentic source, that he be able to act rightly in judgmt.
Mr. Halse is young, but generally, very discreet, and very prompt in execution, and if the Govt. consulted their own interests, he wld. be placed as the intermediate Officer (something as you used to be) between themselves and the Natives. It wld. be a benefit to Mr. Cooper, and a
blessing to the province, if he were removed altogether from Maori affairs, since, in the office of a Crown Land Commissioner, he wld. probably be very efficient. If this shd. not be the case, you ought to remove him, and keep him close to you at Auckland. He wld. have rushed headlong into this strife, after it had taken place, had it not been for the rest of the Magistrates, who were of opinion that for the present the Govt. had better not appear in it. And so, as a matter of course, it was left again, for your old friend to manage, wh. I contrived, effectually, to do, after some little trouble, But about this, I do not care to write further. Make haste hither.
And believe me, as ever,
H. Hanson Turton.