Object #1015380 from MS-Papers-0032-0245

8 pages written 1 Aug 1855 by Alfred Domett in Napier City to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Alfred Domett, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0245 (32 digitised items). 32 letters written from Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Auckland, Nelson and Taranaki, 1852-1870 & undated. Includes letter from H S Chapman to Domett, 1866; drafts of two letters from McLean to Domett, Mar 1858 & Jul 1863.

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

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English (ATL)

Private Napier,
August, 1855.

My dear Maclean,

Cooper after you left sent me an official application to pay the balance remaining due to Fitzgerald on account of the mill at Wakaparatu, out of the Land Fund. I have just paid him (about 150£) and report payment to the Col. Secy. by this mail. I think it better to have done with the transaction --- though Fitzgerald would have taken an order or undertaking from me for credit to the same amount for land to be bought by someone who was about to advance him money. The simple way was to pay him the money (on account of the Native purchase fund) --- I shall receive money for the land to be bought instead of an order or letter --- so it will come to the same thing --- with greater simplicity in accounts etc. Will you just see that this payment is approved, as those Auckland fellows throw every impediment in the way of business. It is a troublesome affair well finished. Fitzgerald (to do him justice) is really enterprising and has put up 5 buildings on the spit on the left of the harbor entrance --- so that they make a greater show already than the buildings on Macbains' side --- Newton has also a store near Fitzgerald's. Fitzgerald's famous steam mill is to begin rattling the day after tomorrow --- so he says. It is certainly an advantage to the place.

I think I told you in my last note that I had written to Monro (among other things) about my offices here. I want to get rid of the Resident Magistrate business if I can --- an office I never would have accepted but that Grey insisted on tacking the two together. But the district is large enough for a Commissioner unencumbered with any other offices. There is more Crown Land to be sold here than at Wellington or Nelson --- and towns to be laid out sold etc. too all which was done by the New Zealand Company in the other cases. It is utterly absurd. If I were single and alone I would send the offices to the devil. The Commissionership ought to be a separate office and a clerk (1 at least) appointed. There are some hundreds of Grants to be made out (to say nothing of run-leases) which will never be done till I have a clerk. Is not the pay absurd? 200£ (mechanics have more) for all the responsibility and charge of monies etc. --- and 200 for the Magistrates work; which indeed is not much but very troublesome.

It just strikes me that as Cooper will have to be kept here some years (if the land is to be bought) it would be a good plan to make him Resident Magistrate, and add Macdonnells salary to his own --- though he already has a large one, compared with others. Macdonnell does very well as Interpreter and I am quite satisfied with him --- but he cannot do writing work. You know he broke his finger in Auckland which he says (I believe truly) prevents him from writing well --- And he is in fact too careless for accounts --- even if he had any talent that way. I cannot (on this account) find him writing to do or any employment, which he certainly seems anxious to have. Would not the above be a good arrangement? I have not mentioned this to Cooper --- because I really never thought of it till long after he left for Wellington --- and I dont know whether he would like it or not. But as he talked (I hear from Ml.Fitzgerald) of bringing up his sister to live here with him, I suppose he would not dislike to settle here.

How absurd is the very system and indeed always was in this country. Michl.Fitzgerald for instance, has an office to which no responsibility worth speaking of is attached and in which he can really do much as he likes --- and is paid 350£ a year (including forage) I have all this money keeping, settling run-disputes, and all the beastly Maori and white litigation --- and 400 a year --- to say nothing of our antecedent relative positions. But I must not bore you with this.

By the bye you should speak a word when necessary in favour of Bousfield, who is the most active and industrious surveyor I have known in any of our settlements and is an honorable gentlemanlike fellow besides. They have allowed him forage (grudgingly) but have not yet sanctioned the increase of pay I made him; though it is only 150! a year even then. He is righteously entitled to 200£ a year if ever fellow was --- and were I in the Assembly he should have it by God! But it is idle to expect justice from that old Government. I wish you had (or would still if you have qualified and there is opportunity) get into the Assembly. It would increase your influence and means of doing right and making justice triumphant most considerably --- I doubt if there is a man in New Zealand who would express disapprobation of your being elected.

We are laying out our Napier town famously --- It will look beautiful on paper --- I wish you had been here to offer opinions etc. I have had all the flat places (gullies) in the island laid out in £1/4 or half acre allotments --- and the spit and that piece you bought when here, the flat southward, laid out also in that way. The roads on the island itself are laid down strictly according to the best natural courses --- so that the sections will all (I think) be immediately accessible. On the flat spaces on the tops of the hills (on the island) we have laid out tenants with half acre sections --- all the rest of the island is sections from 3 to 5 acres in size. It will absorb a large amount of Scrip and I have no doubt sell well. Are you inclined to invest? I shall send a tracing of the plan, when it is finished to the General Govt. and one (of course) to the Superintendent who must approve the reserves and prices etc.

Write and let me know the news about the Council etc. I hear hardly any of the Southern members will attend. If too the compensation business to old officers ought not to proceed. Do not write one of you official private letters made up of the old stock-in-trade phrases --- but let me know the real state of affairs.

Yours ever truly,
Alfred Domett.
D. Maclean, Esqr.

Part of:
Inward letters - Alfred Domett, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0245 (32 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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