Object #1014599 from MS-Papers-0032-0444

4 pages written 18 Mar 1861 by Frederick Edward Maning in Hokianga to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0444 (67 digitised items). 58 letters written from Auckland and Hokianga, 1860-1870. Includes letter in Maori to Maning from Hone Mohi Tawhai, 1869; from Hoani Makaho Te Uruoterangi, Akarana, 1870; unsigned letter in Maori written from Weretana to Te Rauparaha, Sep 1869; T H Maning to his father, 1870; Maning to White, 1870; Harry H King to Maning, 1870.Includes piece-level inventory, 1860-1876 & undated (excluding 1969 acquisitions)

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

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English (ATL)


March 18, 1861

My Dear Sir

I received with the greatest pleasure yours of the 7th instant. I have always been a full match for mine enemies, and my friends have never had cause to be ashamed of any of my doings, but it is most gratifying to see them coming to the rescue in time of need as you have done - for you have relieved me of the only anxiety I had on the subject of the Gunpowder which was that the most positive though utterly false statements made in the paper might have led his Excellency the Governor to believe that there might be some small grounds for them, which is not the case, and I am most happy to hear that he has that confidence in my conduct in the matter which I am bound to say I deserve - to deceive His Excellency in any way would not only be most criminal but blackguard conduct and beneath any gentleman.

The ''visit from Royalty'' was as you say quite unnecessary here, as far as making friends goes - but I should have been very glad had you came as I wished to have actually shewn His Excellency the best sample of Maori flesh and muscle to be seen in the country. the small fry are all killed off and worn out with dragging timber and so nothing but ''tino tangata'' are to be seen.

I am very glad to hear that you liked the Rarawa people down at the north end. The greatest number and also a very numerous section of Ngapuhi are about my quarter and are superior in every way to the people you saw both physically and mentally, and I am therefore rather sorry you did not see them. You would have heard nothing from them about rum, guns, or powder, or peace with te Rangitake.

''The Hokianga powder case'' as it is called in the papers will turn out as I fully expect with good management, the best thing possible for the Government. The natives here feel that the Governor has been unjustly assailed on their account and for acting with simple justice to them they in consequence say, and would swear if they knew how that they will stick to him to the last. The good feeling towards the Governor I can clearly explain to you though Mr Editor of the N.Z. paper would not understand me, by simply telling you that the natives here now talk of the Governor as ''to tatou koroheke'' - which is I take it a result only to be arrived at by the best luck, added to the best ''native policy'' - I need say no more but those three words to convince you of the good effect of doing justice and shewing confidence where it is deserved - My first note to the papers was purposely guarded and short so as not to commit the Government in any way in the matter. Since that time I have thought it my duty to write a long letter to the ''Southern Cross'' not in my own defence, but in purport, in defence of the Government, for having as I fancy I have proved acted not only justly, but with the very best policy in this Gunpowder matter - You will have seen my letter before you get this - I beg you to read it with attention for though the facts in it are I should say somewhat new to Auckland haberdashers and tailors they are all facts and I rather think somewhat crushing facts too, to those who say the Hokianga natives will use their powder to shoot themselves, their poor wives and children - (no loss if they did and be hanged to them) seriously I believe I have only fulfilled a duty to the Governor and Government in writing the letter, they believed my true statements made to them, and have been attacked for doing the only thing it was possible to do, without doing an immensity of mischief and I fancy the letter I have written will shew those idiotic scrawlers in the papers that they know not what they are talking about. I beg to assure you that every word in the letter I allude to is perfectly true of course true but what I mean by true is that there is no coulouring or exaggeration nothing but simple fact and there is plenty more at the same shop - if required, I wish you to understand that the mention made by me of the expenditure of Gunpowder by the natives here, in the war in the north, their own property, and for which they have not to this time been payd, is notmade at all in the light of a demand for payment, but is mentioned as a most telling answer to the dogs who are barking at the Government - but who dare not bite the enemy -

I am delighted to find that when there is need you are not afraid of the trouble of writing to a friend - and in turn I assure you, that though I am only a mouse, and you a lion, yet will the mouse always be ready with his little nibble to help the lion if ever there be need of the same - The ''Ngati Manings'' and and Co, do feel too much flattered at your comparing them to Sir A McNab and clan - it wont do me are too modest, wait till we have done something, drawn or lost a little blood, and then if it is done with a good grace it will be time enough to say ''good boys'' -

The four Native Chiefs who were the owners of the Gunpowder have written to the Governor and you on the subject - they are all four going to Auckland to assure the Governor of their good will and faithfull adherence - they however have been so long in leading strings that they will not go till I have time to go with them. I am now engaged in loading the largest vessel which has ever entered this port (the ''Castilian'') and as soon as I have done I shall start for Auckland to face the town with my four Pakeha shooting chiefs! these men are I assure you much hurt at it having been said that their Gunpowder would probably be used against the Europeans and talk about utu - I wish as the lawyers say that ''an action would lie'' against the New Zealander Paper -

I hope you may have no trouble in Auckland an irruption by the Waikatos would ''harry'' a great part of the district but if they do begin it will be our gain in the end - in case policy or necessity should cause the northern natives to be required the four chiefs I take with me mentioned above can raise either of their own hapu or those who would ''wakatika'' if they did, a thousand men entirely independant of every man you have seen on the northern tour in fact if they would not stir I could run off with full half of their men or more - I hope most sincerely they may not be wanted from necessity though possibly they may - and if they are you may be sure of them as for myself I shall be ready to turn out as soon as the ''Castilian'' is loaded - and I dont think the natives would feel comfortable without me. I present my humble respects to the Governor and remain

Most sincerely yours
F. E. Maning

Part of:
Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0444 (67 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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