7th. August 1869.
My dear McLean,
I received news yesterday from Tokangamutu that Te Kooti's women and children had started for Taupo on the previous day, (Thursday); and that he himself and followers were to leave for the same destination yesterday or to-day. I have waited before writing to you, hoping to get the news confirmed; but could not hear of Te Kooti's own departure. His women and children having gone, is however, a fact. His departure will be an immense relief to the Waikatos; who have continued, I may say, under arms up to the present time. I cannot explain to you the indescribable state of fear, or rather, of intense funk they have been in since his arrival; in fact, I can assure you that at one time it was proposed, amongst the Waikatos, that they should retire; and that the Europeans should be asked to come up and attack Te Kooti. This I give you on the authority of no less a person than Tawhiao himself, (this is private).
Rewi and Te Heu Heu are still with Te Kooti; the former, it is said, returns on arrival
at Taupo; the latter appearing to be very enthusiastic in his favour; but I begin to think that he will desert him first opportunity.
Tawhiao and his followers, and the Waikatos, have seduced away and sent home nearly all Te Kooti's followers. He has now about 70 only of his original and devoted supporters, and about 80 others, who follow him more from fear than love. There is one reason I think will to a great extent explain the singular conduct of Waikato in regard to Te Kooti. It is that they are very short of ammunition. I know it for a fact indisputable that they are very short indeed. There was a report up at Tokangamutu about a week ago that 1000 Europeans were advancing to attack them; and there was a perfect panic there. I hear of whispers amongst them that before long it is not at all improbable that the Europeans will be invited to visit them at Tokangamutu. But of course this must be taken ''cum grano salis''. Of one thing I am certain, that no one is better disposed, personally, to the Europeans, collectively and individually, than Tawhiao himself; or likes his glass of grog better.
Tamati Manuhiri has sent down Lewis Hettet
to me to request that the three prisoners, (natives taken at Ngaruawahia, with ammunition in their possession, and all their ammunition, be given up at once. I have answered him that they have their laws and Aukatis which we have respected; and that we have ours, which they have broken; ergo, must pay the penalty. I remanded them to Auckland for examination, and am inclined to believe that properly handled, they would tell where, and from whom, they got it.
I trust that the Government will turn a merciful ear to my demands, to be reimbursed, without vouchers, the money I have actually expended in obtaining information from Tokangamutu; not only on this occasion, but on former ones; as also my own heavy expenses; as on this subject I can get nothing but diplomatic ambiguities from Pollen. I may say at once that, poor as I am, I would sooner lose the money than give any names or Vouchers; but I would take care not to be caught again.
Looking forward to seeing you soon again in these parts,
very faithfully yours,
Will N. Searancke.
To:- D. McLean Esq.