Object #1010373 from MS-Papers-0032-0444

4 pages written by Frederick Edward Maning in Hokianga to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0444 (67 digitised items). 58 letters written from Auckland and Hokianga, 1860-1870. Includes letter in Maori to Maning from Hone Mohi Tawhai, 1869; from Hoani Makaho Te Uruoterangi, Akarana, 1870; unsigned letter in Maori written from Weretana to Te Rauparaha, Sep 1869; T H Maning to his father, 1870; Maning to White, 1870; Harry H King to Maning, 1870.Includes piece-level inventory, 1860-1876 & undated (excluding 1969 acquisitions)

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

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English (ATL)

PRIVATE Hokianga.
February 29 th. 1870.

My dear Sir,

If my letter to Fenton has been any use to you I am glad of it, although I did not Intend it for the edification of the Conscript fathers. It was under feelings of indignation at the persistent attempts which are being made, and which are likely enough to be successful, to embroil us with the natives; for any fool, or malevolent lunatic can do mischief. I felt those misrepresentations made by Mr. Travers the more, as I know that both myself and Fenton honestly did what we thought just and right, without respect to any other consideration. We have been nick-named Judges; and I, speaking for myself, will assert the right to the best of my ability, so long as I hold the office, though the sky fall.

As I fancied, I had done, officially, with, the Manawatu affair; and, seeing the misstatements made by Mr. Travers, and which were very well adapted to his object of causing a misapprehension to get round, as to what the action of the Court had really been, I thought a few words of explanation to you might not be out of place; but I will not argue with the powers of darkness. I only hope that those persons who have been inciting the natives to mischief, may have, as is likely enough, committed themselves in some way, by which the law can take hold of them; for it is their continued impunity which causes the ignorant natives to believe in them, and fancy that by listening and adhering to their advice, they will, in the end, succeed in their designs; and whatever amount of ''patience'' you may find it necessary to have with regard to the natives themselves, I should most certainly have none at all with their unnatural, malevolent, and unjust, Pakeha leaders.

When ''the usages for the redress of rights in civilised countries'' fail, after having been fairly tried, the impression in general is that there has been nothing in particular to redress; and when disappointed litigants talk of taking ''rude'' measures to obtain their ends, they go as far as possible to shew themselves in the wrong, as they prove themselves to be lawless men, ready to rebel the moment they find the law refuses to play into their hands; and the advice to have recourse to those ''ruder measures'' which are only practised and ''thought necessary'' by savages, is neither more or less than to directly advocate active rebellion. Truly this country seems to be under some dreadful malediction, when we see so often the superior knowledge of the European leaguing itself with the ignorant and truculent barbarism for no perceptible purpose but mere mischief.

When the petition comes, I shall say as little as possible in the way of comment, on the principle of ''least said easiest mended'', a course I think it behoveth. me to take, when so many learned clerks are watching to entangle me in a mesh of words; so do not be surprised if you see but a very meager comment, something in the way of a text however is all you require. As for another hearing, it is really not necessary; and I scarcely think at all advisable. As for myself, I would rather run from the country, and finish my days amongst the Kaffirs than sit again, virtually by order of McDonald and Co., and with the whip of Mr. Travers hanging over my head.

As you have been kind enough to tell me that you are determined to have patience to any extent as regards the natives, I shall take care to keep the information to myself; for if it were known, particularly about Manawatu, that you had such a large stock on hand, serious attempts would no doubt be made to rob you of some of it.

I see what you say about alkohol and land Sharks. As to the first, -- we we can do but little. We have brought the natives a thousand material benefits, and with the wheat comes some tares, of which the spirituous tare is about the worst. They must take both together, and take their chance. As for the land-sharking, the natives are not In much danger from it at present up here; and I think that if the Land Court always places restrictions on the sale of a sufficient quantity of land, to insure to the natives an ample provision for their comfortable maintenance, there neen be no fear on this head.

How many more years of active troubles have we before us? how many indeed? I wish I could hope with you that they would be ended in ten years. They may; but I fear there is a chance of it being in an unpleasant manner. I see difficulties and dangers lying dormant in every direction. May they sleep long enough for our purpose. But accident may awaken some; or a shake from a McDonald or a Travers, others. I say little, as I do not like the character of alarmist, and I have, unfortunately, been hitherto, a prophet of evil. I had just begun to have better hopes; but they have been greatly shaken by the late declaration of the policy of the Imperial Government, with respect to this Colony in particular; which is in an exceptional condition, and should have had some special consideration, I think. Be that as it may, I feel that the loud deceleration by the Home Government, that we should receive in future, no military support in our internal troubles, has done us incalcuable injury; and every day will prove this more and more. If therefore, I was to presume to give you advice, I should say -- ''Put money in thy parse'', -- and ''make men'' and be always ready. I trust no native longer than the passing hour, in which he may fancy it to his interests to be faithful. We may, by great patience, great prudence, and great good luck, keep rubbing on until increase of population, and a grqdual alteration in the feelings of the natives, or a decrease of their numbers, put us out of danger of further serious trouble; but I do not at all expect it, I am sorry to say. Up here, if I was not afraid you would cry out. ''nothing like leather'' I would say the Land Court is doing some good., and the natives are ''quiet'' and ''loyal'' and all that; but I would be sorry to be bail for their keeping the peace for ever with the Pakeha; though I think better of some of them than I do of most natives, - I speak of the Ngapuhi. Perhaps Providence, when we are at our human wits' ends, may help us; but what can we expect when our own people are, some of them, continually endeavouring to get us into hot water.

I feel, sometimes, inclined to burst out and anathematize travers, McDonald, Hadfield, and the whole clan. I would, and in flowing numbers, too, if it would do any good. As it is, all I shall say is this, -- I have done what I have done; no more can be got out of me. ''You can, of a cat, have but his skin;'' and if I am not infallible and impeccable, (like Bishop Hadfield), it is because my name is Maning.

I am writing in torture; and so if my ideas reel a little, you will excuse me. A native here, fell with me, going on a journey some months ago, to hold a Court, and nearly expended me in the public service. I severely injured my shoulder, and having no time to keep quiet, the consequence is that I am suffering dreadful pain now, and can scarcely hold the pen. I have eighty cases to hear; but if I am let alone, and no one comes to help me, I hope to pull through them all in three months or so. If I can live down the pain I am suffering, and if Penton does not call me to Auckland to put me in the ''immanent deadly breach'' in a re-hearing which is to take place, as he is talking of doing. Out of the eighty claims, there are about two dozen, worse a good deal to make out the ownership than Manawatu. If Fenton calls me to Auckland, where we shall have lawyers on both sides I suppose, the one case of re-hearing will take me as long as about thirty or forty would do under ordinary circumstances. I shall go, however, if it be so determined, and see, if I am by myself, if I can't shorten the business a little; but excuse me - Oh those lawyers: -

I am in low spirits, and in such pain, that if I don't get better in a month or so, I shall be good for nothing - or dead. I have to attack some five and twenty Claims in three days' time from this, most of which are contested; and really I am in rather a dilapidated state, body and mind. I am trying, by dint of resolution, to pull through all, and hope a change for the better, but fear I shall have, some of these days, to knock under. Therefore if I don't write as coherently as I ought, please excuse.

I am, my Dear Sir,
Yours faithfully, (Signed)
F.E. Maning.

Part of:
Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0444 (67 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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