Letter from W. Halse
to Donald McLean,
dated 18th. April 1854
thursday night18th. April 1854.
My dear McLean,
Bearing in mind the vow, I am unwilling to let a 2d. post leave without a letter for you.
We heard of your having left Kawhia, where you do not appear to have been particularly successful. So by this time you are beleagured with natives at the Capital, on the old business. You will, at least, not be cramped for money, though I expect it is no easy matter to get the natives to part with land in the Auckland district. I was more sorry than when we parted at the Wai-iti, that I did not go on to Mokau; as, from your description, the place wore a gayer appearance than I ever saw it. Unluckily the land you have bought here is in the Auckland Province. But as it is so remote, and so little likely to be in demand by the Auckland people; and as we are so straightened for land, I think, on your representation, the Heretini boundary could be altered by the Governor. Moreover, Te Kerei sold the land to us, and for the
people of this place; and I think he would not have done so for those living on the other side of the Island. The place can, for years to come, offer no temptation to any but ourselves. It is within easy distance of this place, and if I am not sadly out, will, if we get it, be our Port and head-quarters.
Touching our own land transactions, the difficulty of overcoming Heneri Puni is not yet over. Cooper will write you fully, it being in his Department. It appears that old Grey-beard has written a double-dealing letter to his son, Poho; who is still in possession of the best part of the land, and cultivating it. To you, therefore, we must look for settling this difficulty, on your return to Wellington in the Ides of March.
Haughton is almost exclusively engaged in the Hua survey, which will occupy about two months. He is laying off lines of roads, in the first instance to avoid the serious difficulties of the Company's first survey of the settlement. All the old work is falling into arrear, from the weakness of the staff. Without knowing Rogan's arrangements, I have again urged on the Superintendent to act on the circular as the subject, and increase the survey staff. Previously, the matter was disputed in Council, - when the
gutted members refused to expend money on a Department they could not control. I told the Superintendent, who argreed with the principle urged by the Council, that it was most injurious to the place, to allow the surveys to fall into confusion and arrear, merely to gratify the Council in acting upon an abstract principle, - that we should take things as we find them, and put people on the land, though it was the property of the Crown. And I believe a Surveyor will be put on the Estimates at £150. Carrington tells me Rogan will not accept the situation at that; and I cannot wonder at it, seeing the great advance of prices in every article. It seems to be a rule that Government Officers should be indifferently paid; and I think C. Brown already sees the folly of his own clap-trap folly of putting his own salary down at £2.50; as I hear his expenses exceed his income, and he lives very unostentatiously, and privately. In my own case, I purpose giving up my horse; as, although I attend to it myself, and feed it by rule, it takes just one-fourth of my salary to keep it. Hay is £5 and oats 6/- both rising. So unless one live in the country, it is idle extravagance to keep a horse in town. Practically it will be very inconvenient to me; as, although my duties
are chiefly in the office, I am frequently moving about; and by visiting spots, and people, can more easily arrange difficulties and disagreements that are always occurring in surveys connected with roads and boundaries, - than if I attempted to do so in the office. Some day all this will be rectified, when New Plymouth is larger. Small as it is, I should be sorry to tramp over it; though the Honble Member for Nelson considered it quite practicable to do so. A horse is necessary to go three miles from home by the Coast, unless one is prepared to ford rivers "en chemise".
The Government Brig was, by our last report, still at Otakou, so we must not expect her for some time. The "Mountain Maid" Brig is, I believe, under engagement to take our members to Auckland. I am heartily ashamed that we should have selected two such men as we have, to represent us. The Major has let his farm, Croxton Park, to R. Brown, for 3 years, and will take his seat in the Legislative Council; and afterwards return to Europe, and probably remain there. Cutfield, I hear, has had his resignation refused by the Governor, as he might have anticipated. The Commissions having been issued to him, can only be determined by his absence from the Council, as provided by the Act.
We are quiet here, and the natives less trouble-some than when you were here; though Cooper has more of their company than usual. The Waiongona will be, I expect, the next purchase.
W. Carrington has been on a march southwards, and reports favourably. I do not attach much importance to this. Still his influence, such as it is, is paid for by Government, and we have it.
Some entertainments are coming off next week, under the patronage of the Freemasons. A concert, at which most of the vocal and instrumental talent of the place will be exhibited, except Miss Richardson, who has been interdicted by the Squire of Brooklands. The next evening a Play, written by that universal genius, A. King; which is to convulse us with grief and laughter. Des Vanse and Captain King are here from Wanganui, on a visit. But they will leave before the concert.
J. Rundle, the butcher, died suddenly during Sunday night. He was out during the day, at Chapel, I believe, but had been ill a week. Johnson broke his collar-bone just before the Races, from his horse falling; and Whare pu is very shaky, and scarcely safe.
In haste, I remain,
Yours very sincerely
To:- Donald McLean.