October 5th. 1850.
Many thanks for your letters from Manawatu and Whanganui, which I received yesterday, just as I was packing my wife off to Waiwakaiho to see Mrs. Edwin Davy and her little son. As we rode along, I could not help remarking a capital four-railed fence, put up by Mr. Sam Puketapu, commencing at Peter Elliot's and terminating at the river. How long it will be allowed to remain in undisputed possession, is a question which, with all his sagacity and forethought, does not appear to have entered into his calcuations. I hear he talks of laying the ground down in grass, and letting it! Perhaps he will find a tenant amongst his own fraternity.
To return, - we found Mrs. Davy, baby and sister, quite charming, particularly the latter, which may be attributed to fresh air and plenty of exercise. After regaling ourselves with a glass of wine, and washing down the dust with a second, we left the ladies, in order that they might enjoy a little gossip and strolled over the farm, which presents a very different
appearance to what it formerly did. Indeed, but for the well-known landmarks, a person might easily imagine himself on a strange domain. I observed a long line of substantial fencing on the Northern side of the road, between Davy's and Webster's, running straight inland; which will soon reach the sections occupied by Nairn. What can be the meaning of that? By the way, while I think of it, E. Davy says he shall apply to you for possession of the Native Reserve in his section. It has not been used in his time, and cannot therefore he held in the usual high estimation. Perhaps the offer of an equivalent, in a more suitable locality, would have the effect of removing a weight from E. Davy's mind, inasmuch as money to a considerable amount is to be withheld if possession is not given to the purchaser of the estate within a given period.
I have made further enquireis about the Rimu board, and find Newsham has got a tree that will probably yield the dimensions required. There is no difficulty about the length, but there is great difficulty in procuring the width, and also to get sawyers to cut it, without going to a great expense. The fact is they will not cut up a tree without an order. Hence the impossibility of getting seasoned wood here. However, if it had be had sooner than I stated in a previous
letter. I will get it. The unusual size will not admit of much choice, but thanks to the universal goodness of Taranaki woods, picking and choosing is quite unnecessary. By the way, should you be going to Wellington before the "suites" from this settlement are finally packed for The Exhibition of 1851, I should like you to see a "table-top" consisting of various specimens of woods put together in a workman-like manner by Mr. Gudgeon; and a very creditable piece of workmanship it is. There are also, amongst other woods, two fine samples of puriri, which will astonish the people at Home, when told that we use that description of wood for fencing and firewood. I imagine the collection has been costly, and there are many woods still unfurnished.
Your information about the New Zealand Company is confirmatory of what we hear here, but as I asked for myself, I shall still keep it to myself. Agitation is the order of the day, and you will not wonder what it is about. Land, land, land - that interminable, bothering, withering subject. Several holders of land orders have called upon the Company'g Agent, to throw the Tataraimaka block open for selection. They say one Cattle Run has been cut up, and given out. Why should
the remaining one be withheld? Moreover the usual arrivals as well as those who are coming, so says Mr. Weston, will go elsewhere, if fern land cannot be obtained. No doubt land is in great demand; and the "Mariner" and June ship is daily expected, with a host of people for this place. Then again, werhear there is an August vessel for this and other settlements, with emigrants, and what we are to do with them in our present cramped position for land, I really do not know. I hear an occasional outcry about your lengthened absence; and should not be surprised to see an Article in one or two of the Colonial papers.
William Black and Candish returned the other day in the "Sarah Baring". Both of them have been to California. Black gives a deplorable account of the place in every respect, except so far as money is concerned; of which article there is abundance. No less than 600 vessels are lying there without a living soul on board. Searanake worked his passage back to Auckland. At least, so says Candish.
I hear we are likely to lose Sir George. If so, this country will suffer a great loss. His extensive knowledge and experience of the country and its aboriginal inhabitants, is now about to make an impression at
a time of the greatest importance to the future advancement of these interesting islands; and we are likely to lose him, to make room, perhaps, for some hot-headed person, who will plunge into difficulties that will take years to overcome. In place of Sir George's removal, how much simpler it would be to give him an increase in salary. I shall hope for the best, and shall be glad to hear that there is no intention to remove him.
The "Sarah Bing" goes to Mokau on her return from Manukao, which, will present the first opportunity for sending potatoes to Mr. Snachenberg.
Your letter to E Waka must be vigorously followed up, and I intend to do my utmost. He keeps out of the way; calls upon Honi Ropiha to discontinue his visits to him on the subject, and tells me that he intends to follow the example of William King. I hope E Waka is not upheld by any European in his foolish course. Honi Ropiha will go to him on Monday, and return to me; after which your instructions will be carried out, according to the state of the case.
Notwithstanding Paratene's promise, and other natives whom I saw on the subject of the boundary at Puketotara, to fence as directed, Matthews tells me they have over-reached about a quarter of an acre on his land.
The natives would only acknowledge W. Carrington, and he, unluckily, could not go out. The Company's Agent sent Mr. Harris out, and would not incur further expense. The natives, instead of carrying the fence as directed, have taken it at an angle, as per drawing enclosed; thereby acknowledging one boundary, but not the other; a conviction only to be set aside by W. Carrington going out. To add, as it were, to the conviction on the part of the natives, Edwin Davy measured the land first, then Honi, and both differed in the measurement. The natives say they have fenced according to W. Carrington's former survey, and are prepared to abide by Mm. Therefore I only have Matthews' word that an encroachment has taken place. Considering how very touchy natives are about land, it would be satisfactory if W. Carrington were employed to ascertain whether they are right, or whether they are wrong; because the triangular fence alleged to have been taken in, cannot possibly be of the least importance to the natives occupying the Reserve. I cannot do anything more in the matter, unless measured by the surveyor, and acknowledged by the natives.
Smart is not pleased at the idea of a probable opposition to his cultivating the land immediately outside
the Fitz Roy boundary, but he entirely forgets that his folly brought on the question. True he was the purchaser of the land, but it was given back to the natives by Governor Fitz Roy in common with other lands purchased from the New Zealand Company by resident settlers, who suffered quite as much as Mr. Smart. But they have been obliged to make the best of it, and I imagine Mr. Smart must do the same.
Very sincerely yours
D. McLean Esq.