29 March '71.
My dear Sir,
I had intended to wait your return, and see you personally on the subject of my official letter of yesterday's date, but as I do not know, and cannot find out whether your stay in the North is to be prolonged or not, I thought it better to relieve my mind, and write to you at once. I have accordingly done so, and sent the letter through Mr. Sewell, who will no doubt cause it to be forwarded on for your decision. My request is to be allowed the difference between my salary which is £500 and that attached to the salary of Native Under Secretary which is £800. I hope you will not consider the request unreasonable and that I shall have the satisfaction of hearing from you to that effect when the up-hill work on which you are engaged will permit.
The work of the office is going on satisfactorily - all arrears of Maori letters have been translated, and Marsden Clarke who takes the attention of our native visitors on account of his "reo pai" and easy manners, is making himself familiar with the records, and other routine work of the office. I purpose getting him in the way of preparing the accounts of your Department, a branch by the way requiring more time and careful attention than is generally imagined, and then I shall
suggest that Mr. Bedfords temporary services be dispensed with. I duly received a memorandum from the office of the Chief Judge N.L.C. with a min. from you on it. I shall be able to shew that the memo, is groundless, and should not have been written. I very much regret to observe a continued disposition on the part of Mr. Fenton to find fault with the native office. In justice to the gentlemen in the office, I feel it my duty to say that they never spare themselves to carry out, with all possible promptitude, the requirements of the N.L. Court, and the other branches connected with your Department. Some time ago Mr. Fenton wanted to have the forme used in his office printed in Auckland, but the Govt. found the work could be done cheaper in Wellington, and Mr. F. was ordered to send here for forms as required. This is no doubt objectionable, he therefore desires to shew that it is next to useless to send here for forms in order that he may get authority to have them printed in Auckland. I shall shew that every form applied for has been sent, and should have been received when the memo, in question was written. When the Govt. Printer is engaged on work for Hon. Ministers, he cannot leave that work to strike off forms. On such occasions some delay has taken place in getting out forms for Mr. Fenton, but no delay attaches to the Native office, nor to the Printer. Why can't Mr. Fenton apply for a large quantity of forms usually required by his Court during the recess when the press is not
always at work day and night without cessation. I would answer the memorandum by this mail, had not Mr. Didsbury mislaid one of Mr. Fenton's letters applying for forms in December last, which prevents me shewing that the forms were sent for on the day the letter was received from Auckland. I must apologise for taking up your time about such a trifle, but it having been made the subject of official complaint, I am bound to defend myself, and the gentlemen over whom I am placed.
I forward by this mail a Memorandum on the operation of the Native Land Court by Sir William Martin. I have read it with very much pleasure, because it embodies my own views. I hear from Mr. Sewell that Sir William intends to see Mr. Fenton about it with a view of getting him to suggest a change in the present working of the Court. Should he refuse to do so, I presume the Government will adopt some other means for effecting a radical change, and arresting of further mischief. I make no reflections on the Judges, it is the practice of the court that is objectionable and mischievous, and must inevitably result in embarrassment to the Government, if the present working is continued.
Last mail from the South brought me some Warrants under "notifying district sale of spirits act" signed by the Governor. All that Mr. Ormand asked for (15) have been sent, and those applied for by Mr. Von Sturmer, go by this mail. The Waima referred to in your min. of January 25th. to be proclaimed is
in the Bay of Islands District which has been already brought under the operation of the Notifying Districts sale of spirits act, vide Gazette No. 73 Decr. 22, 1870, p.651. I have made this known to Mr. Von Sturmer, a notice of the appointment of Assessors under the Act will appear in next issue of the Gazette.
Your expressed wish to retain the services of Dr. Hewson has been carried into effect. I drew attention to the long prevslence of fever amongst the Natives in and around Otaki, entailing a great deal of extra attendance and supervision, and Mr. Sewell authorized a gratuity of £75 for the doctor's services to take effect from the 1st. July last. This gives Dr. Hewson £150 for current financial year. The salary lately drawn by him was £75.
Reports for the House are nearly all copied and Mr. Didsbury will be ready to print them in a fortnight from this time. Shall I send you a precis of the reports selected before putting them in type? Any papers in Auckland you desire to have printedplease send as soon as possible.
You will receive by this mail a letter from Taurua to the Governor, the tone of which seems to have moved his Excellency's heart in favour of the writer. Experience has taught me that natives in prison are full of promises and exceedingly submissive, but very different when back in the midst of their people - there are happily exceptions and possibly Ngauakatauru and his following belong to the better class.
The reply to the letter was approved by Mr. Sewell, I have a great deal more to write about, but it is getting near office time, and I must be off. I leave social matters to your other correspondents of whom I knew you have a fond few, and amongst them some who shine at such descriptions, and letter writing generally.
Carper shifts his private quarters at the end of this month to Owen's house on Adelaide Road. I think he will be comfortable there.
Hoping you are well.
D. McLean Esq.