Object #1015591 from MS-Papers-0032-0514

6 pages written 27 Mar 1869 by George Augustus Preece in Patea to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - George A Preece, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0514 (43 digitised items). 43 letters written from Wairoa, Napier, Taupo, and Bay of Plenty, 1868-1876. Includes two McLean draft replies.

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

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English (ATL)


March 27th. 1869.

Dear Sir,

I have not had the chance of writing to you before. When I came down, Troops were encamped at Wereroa. Since then we have been following up the enemy, who runs when he sees us, - not because he is beaten, as Col. Whitmore makes out by his Despatches, but because he has no powder.

The Colohel writes highly eoloured Reports, saying that Titokowaru is utterly routed, but that is not the case. We are not fighting on even ground. We have plenty of ammunition, he has none. So you cannot expect him to make a stand.

You can have no idea how many false Reports Colonel Whitmore sets about, about you; and the underhand, dirty way he does it. In a conversation with Gasocigne and Myself, the other day, he said that he had the names of all the people killed on the Karetu and first Ngatapa Expedition' and that it was only 29; and compared the difference of that fighting with his at Ngatapa.

If you refer to the ''H.B. Times'' of the 22nd. of February, you will see a letter on the subject, by Our Own Correspondent'', - by the tone of that, I am sure he was the writer. The very words are used in it, that he used to Gascoigne and myself. He judges you by what he himself does. He says you pay the ''Hawke's Bay Herald'' to stick up for you; and I am myself convinced that he has, by some means, bought over the ''HawkeVs Bay Times'', and ''Wanganui Evening Herald''. I will send you a copy of it, with a letter I know he has written. I am not one to go against my superior Officer, but when a man like Col. W ----- tries to take another man's character away, to do himself good, I think he ought to be exposed. When I came down here, he had got up a report that Te Kooti was dead, and said he had proof he had been buried.

I should like you to compare Co. McDonnell's Report of Okotuku. The one frankly says he has met with a severe reverse! the other writes a highly coloured report, and says he ''had nearly taken the pa'' and returned with the wounded. He reports 9 killed, and 14 ''missing'' when he knows that they were killed. The fact of the case is this:- he was constantly telling the people that it was not a pa, but a mere taiapa. He took them up to it, found it a strong place, and lost an Officer and some men; then retreated, and never looked round again till he got to the Redoubt; - the enemy following, and killing his men to within 500 yards of it; and he never turned round to check it. Instead of being one of the last to leave the field, he was among the first. This is a thing that ought to be looked into at the next Assembly.

I hope to see you in the Ministry, if there is a chance this year. Native affairs will soon go to the bad on the East Coast, if you have not the management of them.

I write you this letter to let you know that he is leaving no stone unturned to do you injury. Of course this letter is strictly private; but you are at liberty to make use of the information I give you.

There is no mistake Whitmore is now striving to do something good, but it is from Political motives. He is doing it to try to keep in the Ministry, but if he sticks on this Coast, there will be no chance. I feel convinced that we shall not get Titoko.

I have managed to keep all right with him; yet he bullies all the other Officers, - from Lieut. Col. downwards; and there are few that are not sick of serving under him.

This Coast is much better than the other for fighting. It is easier, being flat country, and accessable for carts in most places; and in all, for packhorses. The only way it is worse than the East Coast is that the enemy can see from any hill, all your movements on the flat; whereas, on the East Coast, you can get up gullies, without their seeing you.

The East Coast seems to be in difficulty again. Te Kooti is beginning again at Whakatane and Tauranga.

I must now close. I will write again after we have been at Te Ngutu o te Manu.

Believe me to remain Yours truly (Signed)
George Preece.

Part of:
Inward letters - George A Preece, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0514 (43 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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