Object #1011217 from MS-Papers-0032-0279

6 pages written 22 Jan 1870 by Sir William Fox in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Sir William Fox, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0279 (45 digitised items). 43 letters written by Fox from Wellington, Wanganui, Auckland, Grahamstown, Rangitikei, Marton, Dunedin, 1870-1871. Includes letter from Charles J Taylor to Fox, Feb 1870; Fox to Mete Kingi, 1870; incomplete letter to Fox (written from Patea, Mar 1870); Fox to Gisborne, Apr 1870; Fox to Gisborne (copy), May 1871; J Booth to Fox, Wanganui (copy), Apr 1871; McLean to Fox, 1871; Albert J Allen [?] to Fox, Aug 1871.

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

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

Page 1 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

COPY. Wellington

22nd. January 1870.



My dear McLean,

I wrote you last from Wanganui, per ''Storm Bird'', a week ago, with latest West Coast news to that date. I then went on to Rangitikei, where I found the surveys going on, uninterrupted; though I could not make up my mind that they may not be again interferred with; but there is no fear of any violence. I then went on to Manawatu, and rode inland as far as palmerston. The road from Foxton towards Napier has had a great deal

Page 2 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

done to it, but is impassable in one place, and may be much improved in others for a small outlay. So I organised a party of natives, under Amos Burr and Stewart, the Provincial Engineer, who did what has been already done; and before the Winter, I hope the road on this side from Foxton to Palmerston will be complete, all but metalling. It runs through 100,000 acres of the finest bush land in New Zealand, dead level, nearly all surveyed, and not tainted by any native dispute. If it can he filled up with Colonists, it will be a great strength to the West Coast. But what I have most at heart there, is to see the road completed over the mountains to meet your Napier roads.

It would be one of the most important works in this Island, to connect at the only point where it can be done, South of Taupo, the East and West coasts. It could be completed, from Foxton, for about £30,000; and the land on this side is all saleable at £1 an acre; or if the road were made, at still more. With such security we ought to be able to do it. It could be easily completed in from one to three years. The portion I have put in hand, will cost somewhere about £1500 to £2000 at the outside. The work I have in hand between Wanganui and Patea will be all done by Volunteers and Constabulary, and

Page 3 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

go in case of Defence Votes. Can you give me any idea what amount you may have authorised on road works in the North, which may be chargeable on the £30,000 vote? I have asked Ormond to let me have an estimate of what he is doing on roads so you need not include that.

We were greatly annoyed here, and so was Ormond to hear that Firth had been meddling again, and at a most critical moment. And I cannot guess what Pollen can be thinking of to agree that no force should be moved against Te Kooti, till Firth's meeting had come off. If I had been in Pollen's place, when such a request was made, I would have told Firth that a force would be sent against

Page 4 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

Te Kooti the first moment it could be, and that he had better get out of the way, or take the consequences. At a crisis like this, a single hour's delay, might have turned the scale against us. It seems to have been just such interference by Aporo, which enabled Te Kooti to get off before Topia reached him. No negotiation should be permitted with such a red-handed murderer as Te Kooti; and I should certainly not hold myself bound to any terms which might be agreed to by anyone who thinks proper to communicate with him, on his own responsibility.

It is quite clear, from Te Kooti's offering to negotiate, that notwithstanding all his bounce and wisdom, he knows he is beaten, and has

Page 5 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

played his last card. If this thing is not already done, as I hope it is, our forces ought to close in upon him with all possible speed; and if they don't catch him, follow him up again, without an hour's delay. Ormond reports despatches from McDonnell, that Topia and Kemp had joined him and supplies arrived, that they would advance forthwith. Before this I hope you know the result.

We are waiting the arrival of the Squadron, which left Lyttleton this morning, and is expected, in all, to-morrow. I am afraid there will be very little to amuse them. It must be a horrid bore to be ''balled'' and ''picniced'' by a lot of people whom you never saw before, and hope never to see again.

I saw the Harts a few minutes ago; just arrived from Canterbury, all well.

The ''Wild Duck'' is in.
Yours faithfully (Signed)
Wm. Fox.
P.S. I do hope you have all been to put Firth on one side. If he holds Pollen to his pledge, he may keep up the farce of talking to Te Kooti, till our people are weary and disgusted. My only hope is that they will

Page 6 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

disregard Firth's truce, and break through in spite of him. I cannot tell you how much this step of Pollen's has annoyed me. It is really making Firth the master of the situation; and that just at the moment when all our plans seemed converging to success. It is certainly most trying to our patience. I live in the hope that the current of events will have swept their miserable negotiations out of the way, and hurried matters on to a point beyond their control. (Signed)
W.F.

English (ATL)

COPY. Wellington

22nd. January 1870.



My dear McLean,

I wrote you last from Wanganui, per ''Storm Bird'', a week ago, with latest West Coast news to that date. I then went on to Rangitikei, where I found the surveys going on, uninterrupted; though I could not make up my mind that they may not be again interferred with; but there is no fear of any violence. I then went on to Manawatu, and rode inland as far as palmerston. The road from Foxton towards Napier has had a great deal done to it, but is impassable in one place, and may be much improved in others for a small outlay. So I organised a party of natives, under Amos Burr and Stewart, the Provincial Engineer, who did what has been already done; and before the Winter, I hope the road on this side from Foxton to Palmerston will be complete, all but metalling. It runs through 100,000 acres of the finest bush land in New Zealand, dead level, nearly all surveyed, and not tainted by any native dispute. If it can he filled up with Colonists, it will be a great strength to the West Coast. But what I have most at heart there, is to see the road completed over the mountains to meet your Napier roads.

It would be one of the most important works in this Island, to connect at the only point where it can be done, South of Taupo, the East and West coasts. It could be completed, from Foxton, for about £30,000; and the land on this side is all saleable at £1 an acre; or if the road were made, at still more. With such security we ought to be able to do it. It could be easily completed in from one to three years. The portion I have put in hand, will cost somewhere about £1500 to £2000 at the outside. The work I have in hand between Wanganui and Patea will be all done by Volunteers and Constabulary, and go in case of Defence Votes. Can you give me any idea what amount you may have authorised on road works in the North, which may be chargeable on the £30,000 vote? I have asked Ormond to let me have an estimate of what he is doing on roads so you need not include that.

We were greatly annoyed here, and so was Ormond to hear that Firth had been meddling again, and at a most critical moment. And I cannot guess what Pollen can be thinking of to agree that no force should be moved against Te Kooti, till Firth's meeting had come off. If I had been in Pollen's place, when such a request was made, I would have told Firth that a force would be sent against Te Kooti the first moment it could be, and that he had better get out of the way, or take the consequences. At a crisis like this, a single hour's delay, might have turned the scale against us. It seems to have been just such interference by Aporo, which enabled Te Kooti to get off before Topia reached him. No negotiation should be permitted with such a red-handed murderer as Te Kooti; and I should certainly not hold myself bound to any terms which might be agreed to by anyone who thinks proper to communicate with him, on his own responsibility.

It is quite clear, from Te Kooti's offering to negotiate, that notwithstanding all his bounce and wisdom, he knows he is beaten, and has played his last card. If this thing is not already done, as I hope it is, our forces ought to close in upon him with all possible speed; and if they don't catch him, follow him up again, without an hour's delay. Ormond reports despatches from McDonnell, that Topia and Kemp had joined him and supplies arrived, that they would advance forthwith. Before this I hope you know the result.

We are waiting the arrival of the Squadron, which left Lyttleton this morning, and is expected, in all, to-morrow. I am afraid there will be very little to amuse them. It must be a horrid bore to be ''balled'' and ''picniced'' by a lot of people whom you never saw before, and hope never to see again.

I saw the Harts a few minutes ago; just arrived from Canterbury, all well.

The ''Wild Duck'' is in.
Yours faithfully (Signed)
Wm. Fox.
P.S. I do hope you have all been to put Firth on one side. If he holds Pollen to his pledge, he may keep up the farce of talking to Te Kooti, till our people are weary and disgusted. My only hope is that they will disregard Firth's truce, and break through in spite of him. I cannot tell you how much this step of Pollen's has annoyed me. It is really making Firth the master of the situation; and that just at the moment when all our plans seemed converging to success. It is certainly most trying to our patience. I live in the hope that the current of events will have swept their miserable negotiations out of the way, and hurried matters on to a point beyond their control. (Signed)
W.F.

Part of:
Inward letters - Sir William Fox, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0279 (45 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=1011217). 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