October 31st. 1850.
I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief, that on Thursday the 15th. inst. a party of the Town Pah natives forcibly seized a horse belonging to a settler, R. Greenwood, alleging that he had wounded a horse of theirs by a gun shot on the Saturday previous. It happened that the natives heard the report of a musket at 10 p'clock on Saturday night, in the direstion of Greenwood's residence; and the next morning they found the horse wounded, in his wheat field. The natives brought the case before the Magistrates; when, the evidence not being sufficient to commit the accused, the case was adjourned until next morning; and on the Court breaking up, the natives, who had evinced a considerable degree of impatience, during the whole of the investigation, proceeded in a body, many of them armed, to the "Ship Inn", and took away Greenwood's horse as payment for the damage done to theirs.
For some time past, the natives have shewn a reluctance to submit to our Laws; and a strong inclination to revert to their old customs, as means of redress,
whenever the decision of the Magistrates may not coincide with their wishes. A reference to my letter dated the 20th. May, last, will confirm this statement. I regret to say that in this display of insubordination, some of our hitherto most friendly natives exhibited an evident leaning towards the riotous party.
The open contempt and defiance of the laws, renders mugatory any attempt on the part of the Magistrates at adjudication between the two races. Presuming on their superior numbers, the natives take the law into their own hands, whenever they fancy themselves aggrieved; and I fear the long-tried forbearance of the settlers is almost exhausted; so that I cannot but consider the settlement in rather an unsatisfactory state; as it is impossible to forsee how slight a cause may excite to more, and serious consequences; and there seems to be no more effectual way of restoring a better state of things than the presence for a time, of such a Military force, as may overcome the unruly propensity now manifested; but I would submit that a small force would be more likely to cause collision, than to ensure obedience or respect.
The wounded horse has since been recovered,
and the natives have returned Greenwood's, apparently much ashamed of their improper conduct.
I have the honour to be
Your most obedient servant
Thos. J. King.
The Colonial Secretary
etc., etc., etc.,