Object #1011650 from MS-Papers-0032-0228

4 pages written 7 Apr 1864 by George Sisson Cooper in Woodlands to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0228 (108 digitised items). 105 letters written from Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington. Contains correspondence between McLean and Cooper with regard to the purchase of Maori land in Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa in particular, and various complaints and issues that arose from the purchases; also contains information and discussions about the spread of the Pai Marire and Ringatu religions (again, with a particular focus on Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa), and about general Maori affairs. Includes draft letters from McLean to Cooper; letters from George's wife Ellen C Cooper, 1863-1872, and from Sarah Cooper (undated).

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

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Page 1 of 4. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

Woodlands
April 7th 1864


My dear McLean

Since I saw you this day week nothing of any importance has occurred among the Maoris in this neighbourhood, and things generally are as when I left this for Napier. I had had a correspondence with Ormond, to whom I sent the draft of my letter to the Col. Secty. for perusal. Ormond says that he has suggested sending 100 soldiers to the Waipawa mate stockade, as a sufficient protection against any dangers at present to e apprehended; and he asks me, if I agree with him, to amend my report to Genl. Govt. to that extent. He also asks me to write officially to you on the general subject, to the same effect as I have to Auckland - as, seeing that you, as Supt., have powers to move troops and call out Militia, it seems almost a slight to you

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English (ATL)

to write, as it were over your head, direct to the Genl. Govt. As to this point I am sure it is needless to say anything to you - The unreserved way in which I have shown you my letters and discussed everything with you are enough to show that I never thought of slighting you in any way, and your own unreserved manner to me, is a proof that you did not think I had. However, lest anything of the kind should be apparent to others I shall address the Supt. officially to the same effect as I wrote to Auckd. and Whitmore. And now as to Ormond's proposal to sed up troops instead of calling out local forces - I have told him that I did not think this would be enough and that I still adhered to my opinion that the local forces must be made efficient and the troops sent as well - that you and I had discussed the matter in all its bearings and that you were averse to sending up 100 out of the present Napier

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English (ATL)

garrisons, but thought it more prudent to wait until a further reinforcement arrived, or was definitely refused - and that I fully concurred in your view. With regard to the local forces I said no one pretends that they are efficient - 2/3rds are armed and 1/2 drilled, the remainder neither armed nor drilled at all. The first shot fired creates a panic and Devil take the hindmost becomes the order of the day, for these wretches whom we employ have no interest in risking their lives for us, and won't do it. But drill them, let them feel that they can depend on their officers and each other, and British bulldog courage will make them reliable. Of course it will be disagreeable for Masters and for Officers of companies, but that is a minor consideration when one looks at the number of lives and amount of property at stake in case of a row. Our object ought to be, not so much to defend ourselves when attacked, as to prevent

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English (ATL)

ourselves from being attacked, which I think showing our teeth will do.

These are the reasons I have given to Ormond for refusing to qualify my suggestions to the Genl. Govt. I honestly believe the local forces ought to be called out and I cannot say otherwise, though it would suit my private interests to do so, for I have but 4 hands on my station, every one a first class man, and besides, I write as I do in the full knowledge that my own letter will go a long way to prevent my expected visit to Wellington.

I will leave this letteropen till the Postman arrives, as I may hear again from Ormond.

Post in - no further news. I suppose you sail per Lord Ashley about Sunday, I wish you a pleasant passage and safe return.


Yours very sincerely
G. S. Cooper
P. S. I suppose you will go out to Woburn - Tell Mrs. C. that I am well and she must not be alarmed.

English (ATL)

Woodlands
April 7th 1864


My dear McLean

Since I saw you this day week nothing of any importance has occurred among the Maoris in this neighbourhood, and things generally are as when I left this for Napier. I had had a correspondence with Ormond, to whom I sent the draft of my letter to the Col. Secty. for perusal. Ormond says that he has suggested sending 100 soldiers to the Waipawa mate stockade, as a sufficient protection against any dangers at present to e apprehended; and he asks me, if I agree with him, to amend my report to Genl. Govt. to that extent. He also asks me to write officially to you on the general subject, to the same effect as I have to Auckland - as, seeing that you, as Supt., have powers to move troops and call out Militia, it seems almost a slight to you to write, as it were over your head, direct to the Genl. Govt. As to this point I am sure it is needless to say anything to you - The unreserved way in which I have shown you my letters and discussed everything with you are enough to show that I never thought of slighting you in any way, and your own unreserved manner to me, is a proof that you did not think I had. However, lest anything of the kind should be apparent to others I shall address the Supt. officially to the same effect as I wrote to Auckd. and Whitmore. And now as to Ormond's proposal to sed up troops instead of calling out local forces - I have told him that I did not think this would be enough and that I still adhered to my opinion that the local forces must be made efficient and the troops sent as well - that you and I had discussed the matter in all its bearings and that you were averse to sending up 100 out of the present Napier garrisons, but thought it more prudent to wait until a further reinforcement arrived, or was definitely refused - and that I fully concurred in your view. With regard to the local forces I said no one pretends that they are efficient - 2/3rds are armed and 1/2 drilled, the remainder neither armed nor drilled at all. The first shot fired creates a panic and Devil take the hindmost becomes the order of the day, for these wretches whom we employ have no interest in risking their lives for us, and won't do it. But drill them, let them feel that they can depend on their officers and each other, and British bulldog courage will make them reliable. Of course it will be disagreeable for Masters and for Officers of companies, but that is a minor consideration when one looks at the number of lives and amount of property at stake in case of a row. Our object ought to be, not so much to defend ourselves when attacked, as to prevent ourselves from being attacked, which I think showing our teeth will do.

These are the reasons I have given to Ormond for refusing to qualify my suggestions to the Genl. Govt. I honestly believe the local forces ought to be called out and I cannot say otherwise, though it would suit my private interests to do so, for I have but 4 hands on my station, every one a first class man, and besides, I write as I do in the full knowledge that my own letter will go a long way to prevent my expected visit to Wellington.

I will leave this letteropen till the Postman arrives, as I may hear again from Ormond.

Post in - no further news. I suppose you sail per Lord Ashley about Sunday, I wish you a pleasant passage and safe return.


Yours very sincerely
G. S. Cooper
P. S. I suppose you will go out to Woburn - Tell Mrs. C. that I am well and she must not be alarmed.

Part of:
Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0228 (108 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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