Decr. 2nd 1857
My dear McLean
I returned per steamer from Wellington a couple of days ago, and take advantage of the sailing of the Sea Serpent to write you a few lines. I found a whole budget of letters from you here, for which many thanks, though I can't help being still a little disappointed at not meeting you, or having to expect an early visit. However it cannot be avoided I know, and I shall now set myself to work to clear up, in as far as possible, all that remains to be done, so as leave little or no cause for delay or detention here when you arrive. I had settled (subject of course to approval) the Takapau Block @ £1,300, but cannot report this mail because the Natives will require a right of preemption over some 1500 or 2000 acres the details of which have yet to be settled.
I shall go on immediately, as you wish me, with the Porongahau question. I left it entirely untouched because I expected you back very soon, because the Natives expressed a wish that I should not interfere as I was too pakeke for them, and because I know that another considerable concession must be made in the Eparaima reserve
before the affair is concluded. Knowing this I did not like to interfere after you, because I felt I should be blamed for making a mess of the business by the very people who are themselves to blame --- the illegal squatters Ormond, Canning and Co. Besides I thought (and still think for that matter) that you yourself might fancy something of the same kind, not knowing as well as I do the characters of those Porangahau Natives, who are the most tricky and untruthful lot I have ever had to deal with, and who clearly see the advantage of their position and their absolute power of obtaining, by holdingout, whatsoever terms they choose to dictate. So you must be prepared to hear of a 3500 acre reserve to the West of Eparaima, instead of the 1000 reserve and preemption land to Kuru and Heta. Of course if the Kaumatuas get their way about the reserve the preemption land cannot stand, at least at the price agreed upon, as, if they choose to break theiragreement they can't expect us to keep our's. By using this as a lever something may be accomplished in the way of modifying their ideas.
Alexander and Grindell returned the other day from Taupo, bringing depositions from the Natives in
McDonnell's case --- they have cooled down a little and now make no opposition to travellers passing, so Campbell and Curnin are going up that way. I have not seen Alexr. but I met Grindell last evening who gave me an account of their expedition. I am very glad to see you intend keeping him on, as he has behaved exceedingly well of late and I think amply deserved your letter which he showed me. I will set him about the census at once, as soon as he has completed his notes of the road for publication. He seems greatly pleased with the idea.
You will be surprised at the political news at Wellington --- my belief is that they are all gone raging mad down there. I have seen political feelings run tolerably high in New Zealand, but could not have imagined anything like the present state of affairs. Wakefield's power over the mob is unbounded. The squatters are greatly perplexed and all here are crying for Separation, having returned Gollan and T. FitzGerald on that cry by 2 to 1. Featherston's party were bad enough, but Wakefield's are ten times worse. They have taken Hunter and Stokes into their counsels who are to be looked upon as the moderating element and a manifesto
has been published addressed to the settlers here to try and win them over by honied words to the cause of Radical Reform; but all these Reformers are returned by the Beach combers of Wellington, whose feelings regarding the squatters are no secret, and the said Beachcombers are led by the nose by [E. J. W.?] E. G. W. whose feelings are also not much disguised --- besides the manifesto itself is so curiously and in some places ambiguously worded that the Squatters are on their guard, and the cry is all for Separation and a Squatters League. The 3 Fs have taken up the cry and will support Ahuriri as far as possible. I am glad they have had a check, but I fear that they will be succeeded by a far worse lot than themselves and that the Province will go out of the frying pan into the fire. They all talk of St. Hill as Supt. but I believe he is too knowing to take it, and there is also some talk of sending for Bell. But I should think Featherston's fate a sufficient warning to any man against taking the post of elected Supt. of Wellington.
I have settled all my affairs satisfactorily at Wellington and my absence from here has been productive
of no ill effects whatever. I have got a lease for 7 years of Harding's run, and am to be married on next visit to Wellington. I dined (of course) with Mr. Strang and saw Douglas who is very well andgrown immensely.
I have not seen your brother Alick but I hear he has bought all the land he wanted. We had a consultation on the subject the day before I sailed.
I do not remember what letter about a/cs that I have not answered but will look over them all again. I am all at sixes and sevens as Mary Munn chose to go and get married to Mr. Browne and they have seized upon my rooms where they stick till the Serpent sails, so I cannot get at anything satisfactorily yet, and every other room in the house is crowded to suffocation, so I am obliged to go out to write my letters at J. A. Smith's.
Valentine Smith is here and is to hold a meeting of the Electors on Monday to communicate on political matters previous to the approaching session.
I saw Richmond in Wellgn. and he told me the whole story about the money for Land Purchs. which alters the aspect of matters very considerably. A letter from Featherston himself to H. Russell, was published (without
names and written in 3rd person) in the Herald, from which Richmond's account differs most materially though the outline of facts is the same. I wish the official correspondence could be published in the Gazette. It would settle matters at once and do a great deal of good. F. flatly denies that he made purchasing Manawatu and 70 mile bush first a condition of the advance, and also contradicts many other parts of R's account.
Smith is turning me out, so I must conclude I think I had mentioned everything worthy of notice.
Ever Faithfully yours
G. S. Cooper